united states terrorism

Terrorism is widely used to refer to violence used to instill fear or terror in order to accomplish an ideological, democratic, or religious purpose. Notably, the term refers to violence aimed at non-combatants or civilians (Martin, 2012). As such, the phrase may be viewed as a political type of violence in which persons or groups of citizens target denunciation and exploitation of their roles in order to pit regimes against other governments.
On September 11, 2001, four concerted attacks were launched against the United States. The attacks were carried out by the Islamic-affiliated organization al-Qaeda. On that morning, the al-Qaeda hijacked two American passenger airlines and later crashed them within an hour and about forty-two minutes into both North and the South Towers. The third and fourth planes were crashed into the Pentagon and the Stonycreek Township respectively. The total number of casualties recorded was six thousand injured, and 2,996 died.

Empirical and theoretical studies on terrorism

The empirical studies of terrorism have widened their scope in the past few years as a result of legal and social studies in the field. From this approach, studies have sought to establish that the causes of terrorism are at times overrepresented. As a matter of fact, the study by LaFree and Ackerman (2009), reveal that leadership, diasporic communities, socialization, and ideology are key bases for the terrorism to spark in a given society. Evidence from the reviewed cases indicates that religious motives, democratic transition, and terrorism are mixed to the extent that studies on terrorism are usually revolving around religion. However, the empirical studies fail to reveal the possible counterterrorism measures that may be used as strategies to combat both group and individual level terrorism. In fact, the low supply of the empirical data makes it difficult for the studies to draw conclusive evaluations on the empirical methods (LaFree & Ackerman, 2009).

The theoretical foundations for the study of terrorism revolve around such approaches as psychological, rational, and structural theories. The psychological approach focuses on the conditions for terrorism, in such a way that terrorists use the violence as a means to express their frustrations about laws, religion, or a group of people (Ross, 1993). The rational perspective establishes that terrorists rely on the violence as a means to attaining their objectives, either politically, or socially. The structural approach, on the other hand, offers easier and abundant variables that can be operationalized easily. For instance, the approach develops models that can be used to examine the dynamics and descriptive factors that are associated with terrorism.

Causes of terrorism

Individual and group motivations

People become terrorists because of some reasons, some of which are personal and others are structural. To begin with, individual and group motivations for terrorism stem from the perspective that the individual or a group of people perceive the social and political spheres as being unjust (Martin, 2012). As a result, they resort to terrorism as a means to demonstrate their frustrations regarding the historical wrong they face. Besides, the terrorists with such personal vendetta feel to have been stripped or denied their rights within the society.

Structural causes

The structural motivations that cause terrorism revolve around people perceiving the existing administration of justice through the opposition. For instance, political oppositions thrive on terrorism with the perception that their deliberation may have failed to be listened to, and therefore they opt to violence through terrorism to justify the end (Martin, 2012).

Effects of terrorism

Economic effects of terrorism

Terrorism has been recorded to be affecting the global sphere in some ways. One of the impacts terrorism has is how the international and domestic economy is affected. As a matter of fact, the economy of a given nation can be affected in two ways (Myers, 2017). One of the ways is the disruption of the supply chain in which a source of product for the market is severely damaged through the terrorist activity which implies that the market will fail or experience monopoly. Another way in which the economy of a given country is affected is whereby the state utilizes many resources in an attempt to contain the terrorist activities. For instance, the government is forced to invest in the security apparatus like the army and the police to combat terrorism (Myers, 2017).

Consequences of suicide bombing

According to studies conducted regarding terrorist groups and suicide bombing, the effects of suicide bombing have been vast, extending beyond death. In the United States, the consequences have been categorized into four groups: emotional, cognitive, physical, and interpersonal consequences (Martin, 2012). The physical effects are usually experienced by the direct victims of the bombing act, that is, those present when the suicide bomb goes off. Thus, the victims may end up dying or sustaining severe injuries that they have to live with for the rest of their lives. Besides, the detonation of the explosives contributes to physical properties being destroyed, like buildings, roads, and even schools.

The emotional impacts are experienced in two dimensions. One of these dimensions is the fact that the suicide bombers end up dying during the detonation, leaving behind families which might be depending on the bomber. For instance, if the bomber is a father, the children end up suffering from the trauma and even lacking a breadwinner which forces them into underage labor. Similarly, the families of the victims of the bombings experience emotional impacts in a way that they feel the loss of the loved ones. Furthermore, they experience helplessness as a result of the disturbed routine of life after losing a family member.

The cognitive impacts of the suicide bombing are experienced when the victims develop a mistrust of the law that eventually contributes to the insecure feeling. Besides, the post-traumatic stress the victims undergo result in the individuals perceiving violence as a last resort in many situations. Thus, more terrorists may be created amongst the victims with the belief that they are avenging their dead family members.

Interpersonal consequences are experienced by the victims or groups of people associated with the targeted group in the suicide bombing. As a matter of fact, the victims end up developing hatred and aggression towards an individual or a group of people. Following an attack that was experienced on eleventh of September, Americans, and most Christians globally developed hatred towards the Muslims and Islam religion as a whole. In the attacks experienced recently in Manchester, the interpersonal gap has widened as most people have developed Islamophobia because Muslims are being associated with most of the attacks.

Conclusively, terrorism in the United States has been the cause of emotional, physical, interpersonal, and cognitive consequences on the Americans. As a result, empirical and theoretical studies have been developed to establish the causes and effects of the terrorist activities, especially suicide bombings (Ross, 1993). On the September 11 of 2001 in which the United States experienced four coordinated attacks from the al-Qaeda, it can be seen that the terrorist activities go beyond death to incorporate other dimensions of consequences on the victims.


LaFree, G., & Ackerman, G. (2009). The empirical study of terrorism: Social and legal research. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 5, 347-374.

Martin, G. (2012). Understanding terrorism: Challenges, perspectives, and issues. SAGE publications.

Myers, J. (2017). What is the economic impact of terrorism?. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 18 June 2017, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/11/what-is-the-economic-impact-of-terrorism/

Ross, J. I. (1993). Structural causes of oppositional political terrorism: Towards a causal model. Journal of Peace Research, 30(3), 317-329.

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