How to Protect Yourself From Terrorism: A Politically Incorrect Guide for Civilians

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The term terrorism implies a moral judgment; if one group can attach the term to its opponent, then it may have persuaded others to adopt its moral perspective Jenkins, In civil wars, revolutions, and other conflicts, those considered terrorists by one side are often considered freedom fighters by the other. In these situations, groups that have been relatively powerless, in contrast to very powerful foes, have often utilized terrorist tactics, believing that these tactics represent their own effective weapon against superior force.

An analysis of definitions of the term terrorism revealed that the most frequent definitional elements were the words violence, force, political, and fear Schmidt, Because of ambiguity in the use of the term, some organizations avoid its use in formal communication. Terrorism can be construed as encompassing the use by countries of weapons designed to cause casualties among civilian populations. Examples of such terrorism include the bombing of Guernica, Spain, by Nazi forces in and during World War II, the bombing of Warsaw, Rotterdam, London, Coventry, and other cities by Germany; the bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, and other cities by the Allies; the bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities by the United States; and the detonation of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.

Americans' concerns about terrorism on U. In recent decades, terrorist incidents have occurred in many countries worldwide: the killing of nine Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the Olympics in Munich in ; the use of explosives on airplanes, such as the bombing of an Air India over the Atlantic in , which killed all people on board; numerous attacks on embassies, with kidnapping and killing of diplomats; and thousands of attacks on civilians in many countries. Among major terrorist attacks since have been the detonation of bombs on a train in Madrid in , which killed people and injured , and on local public transport in London in , which killed 56 people, including four perpetrators, and injured people; the occupation of a theater in Moscow in by Chechen guerillas, in which people were killed, including 41 of the guerillas — deaths that were mainly caused by fentanyl and halothane used in gaseous form by the police in a rescue attempt; and the seizure of a public school in Beslan in southern Russia in by a Chechen group, which led to the death of people, mostly students, teachers, and parents.

In , there was a terrorist attack with two bombs at the Boston Marathon, which resulted in three deaths and hundreds of injuries, leading to amputations in more than two dozen people.

Terrorism overshadows internal conflicts

According to the U. Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan accounted for of the terrorist attacks during , representing approximately two-thirds of terrorist attacks globally. These same three countries accounted for deaths during terrorist attacks, representing approximately two-thirds of deaths related to terrorist attacks globally. The vast majority of both terrorist attacks and terrorist-related deaths, by attack type, were due to armed attacks and bombings.

By weapon type, improvised explosive devices, firearms, and other explosives accounted for the vast majority of terrorist attacks and terrorist-related deaths National Counterterrorism Center, In , this extremist militant group proclaimed itself to be a worldwide caliphate, claiming religious, political, and military authority over Muslims globally. As of early , it had control over a substantial amount of land in Iraq and Syria, and more limited territorial control in Nigeria and Libya.

It also had affiliates in other parts of the world. In many ways, attempts to combat terrorism as well as the U. Terrorist events have highlighted the important roles of public health professionals and their agencies and organizations in responding to these events and helping prepare for and prevent future terrorist attacks. The involvement in this response, not only of public health professionals but also of others throughout society, has underscored the fact that public health is what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.

Terrorism insurance is insurance purchased by property owners to cover their potential losses and liabilities that might occur due to terrorist activities. Much of this loss was borne by insurance companies. Unable to accurately model or price terrorism exposures, insurers largely withdrew from the market for terrorism coverage.

Without insurance, primary insurers were then compelled to exclude terrorism. Most state insurance regulators approved terrorism exclusions for use by primary insurers. Many businesses were not able to purchase insurance protection against future terrorist attacks. The situation became a serious threat to industries where lenders and investors required terrorism protection for their investments.

The real estate, transportation, construction, energy, and utility sectors of the economy were vulnerable, creating broader threats to the national economy.

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The US Congress responded by enacting the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act TRIA in November to provide a government reinsurance backstop in case of large-scale terrorist attacks, requiring that business insurers offer terrorism coverage for the types of insurance included in the act. The law expired on 31 December For insurance companies, terrorism insurance has been a rather difficult proposition, as the likelihood of terrorist attacks is very difficult to assess and the potential liability enormous.

This combination of uncertainty and potentially huge losses makes the setting of premiums a difficult matter. Most insurance companies therefore exclude terrorism from coverage in casualty and property insurance, or else require endorsements to provide coverage. In the United Kingdom, following the Baltic Exchange bomb in , all UK insurers stopped including terrorism coverage in their commercial insurance policies with effect from 1 January Karl J.

Terrorism is not new. What is new is that, for the first time in the history of America, the general public is aware that we, as individuals and as a nation, are vulnerable. Consequently, much debate has ensued over our capabilities as a nation to prevent future acts of terrorism. As a democratic society, we struggle to decide what we are willing to give up for our nation to be more secure against terrorist activities.

Regardless of where this debate takes us or how much of our freedom we ultimately give up, we must develop a thorough understanding of what we are faced with. The definitions of terrorism that follow offer insight into our national perspective on terrorism. Diana M. Concannon, in Kidnapping Second Edition , These cases were chosen to ensure that the crime in each case survived challenges that questioned whether the offense committed was, in fact, kidnapping, as opposed to a different crime, such as murder or sexual assault.

During the first part of the analysis, I joined with three other reviewers involved in law enforcement, including a crime analyst, detective, and city prosecutor.

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We independently reviewed the cases and responded to a specially designed questionnaire that required placing each case in one of seven proposed subtypes. These subtypes, and their definitions, are as follows:. Domestic Kidnapping , defined as an intra-family kidnapping to further custody when the legal right is absent. Political Kidnapping , defined as kidnapping to further a political agenda.

How Far Should Societies Go to Prevent Terror Attacks? - The Atlantic

Predatory Kidnapping—Adult Victim , defined as the kidnapping of an adult to satisfy the lust of the offender. Predatory Kidnapping—Child Victim , defined as the kidnapping of a minor to satisfy the lust of the offender. Profit Kidnapping , defined as kidnapping for actual or perceived gain. Revenge Kidnapping , defined as a kidnapping which is perpetrated by an irrational individual who kidnaps to rectify a real or perceived wrong.

Staged Kidnapping , defined as kidnapping which is feigned to distract from another crime or undisclosed situation. The results of this analysis are included in Table 1. When the reviewers disagreed, a subtype was adopted if three of the four reviewers reached agreement. This occurred in all of the 20 instances in which the reviewers were not in total accord.

Table 1. Subtype Inter-Rater Reliability. One of the seven subtypes—Staged Kidnapping—was represented in only three of the cases. Nonetheless, information from the three cases, as well as from notorious staged kidnappings, was assessed to provide a greater understanding of this phenomena. An additional proposed subtype, the Political Kidnapping, was also absent from the cases evaluated. This reflects the fact that such cases are not typically tried in the U. However, the risk of terrorist attacks remains. Extremist groups like Daesh are responsible for the majority of attacks.

The UN has reported that at least 3, civilians were killed by terrorism and violence during In Baghdad city, Daesh frequently targets the Iraqi government, security forces and Shia civilians.


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Attacks often result in high numbers of fatalities. Attacks have also occurred in the Kurdistan Region.

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Methods of attack have included shootings, large-scale co-ordinated bombings designed to cause mass casualties, suicide bombs, vehicle bombs, rockets and mortars. Foreign nationals, including those of non-western appearance, are high value targets for terrorists, insurgents and criminals. Indiscriminate attacks against public places and Iraqi civilians also occur. You should be vigilant at this time. If you travel to Iraq to fight, and your activities amount to offences against UK terrorism legislation, you could be prosecuted on return to the UK.

Kidnappings can be for purely ideological reasons as well as financial or political gain, and can be motivated by criminality or terrorism. British nationals have previously been targeted. Individuals have been kidnapped from homes, workplaces and while travelling. Some hostages have been killed. You should regularly reassess your security arrangements and consider carefully any travel around the country, especially when moving outside the International Zone in Baghdad.

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