terroristic threats

In this Module – We Will Discuss: Terroristic Threats.

  • What are Terroristic Threats
  • What is Terrorism
  • A brief History of Terrorism
  • Some Assumptions about Terrorism
  • The Dangers Associated with Terrorism
  • How to determine your Risk Level of Terrorism

What is Terrorism?


Terrorism is a TOOL, a MECHANISM to spread fear by using violence in order to impact politics and society. 

FEAR is the key component behind the terroristic threats. It is more important to spread FEAR than DEATH.  Brian Jenkins an expert on terrorism for nearly four decades said: “Terrorist want a lot of people watching and not a lot of people dead.”

Terrorist groups are small compared to the countries they are trying to impact.   Terrorist are not stupid people…They know they cannot fight a conventional war because their numbers (and technology) are not as great or as sophisticated against the countries they are trying to impact.  Their strategy is to kill 1 or a few – but to frighten millions.

They are hoping that we will over react.  They want us to be frightened so that we don’t go out and do the things we normally would want to do.

  • “I’m not going into the city to go see that show because I don’t feel safe”.
  • “I’m not going on that vacation I always wanted to go on because I don’t feel safe.”

When we start thinking and behaving like this – the Terrorist win.  They get what they want.

The media, politicians and other public figures play an important role in giving power to terrorist.  This impact can be enormous. 

The media has big stories to sell, which means more people watching during prime time and larger revenue streams.

The politicians use the terroristic threats to take attention away from their short comings, to push through large spending bills and to take away rights from the citizens under the precept “we all will be safer”.

Forbes Magazine, November 11, 2011: Ten Years of the TSA.  “Americans have spent nearly $60 billion, and they are no safer today than they were before 9/11. Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) announced when releasing the report.”

If you really want to see the impact that terrorism has on people, check out this website:   Our National Priorities  https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/

It compares how much we have spent on “National Security” compared to what we spend on:

  • Educating our children
  • Protecting our environment
  • Supplying Housing to the needy
  • Feeding our own citizens
  • Providing Medicaid for our seniors

So if you look at these figures – you can see that Terroristic Threats are a very effective tactic that a smaller opponent can use against the larger opponent.  Terrorism is not conventional warfare – it is more psychological warfare – but still very effective.


Terrorism is a World-Wide Problem – But More So a Regional Problem.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of State reported that “Worldwide” there were:

  • 7,000 terrorist attacks worldwide
  • More than 11,000 deaths
  • More than 21,000 injuries

Some parts of the world are more dangerous than other parts.  The important thing to know is:  Where are those “more dangerous” areas?  The Global Terrorism Index Score will give us that information.

The Global Terrorism Index Score for a country in a given year is based on a unique scoring system to account for the relative impact of incidents in the year. There are four factors counted in each country’s yearly score:

  • Total number of terrorist incidents in a given year
  • Total number of fatalities caused by terrorism in a given year
  • Total number of injuries caused by terrorism in a given year
  • The approximate level of total property damage from terrorist incidents in a given year

The 2014 Global Terrorism Index Ranking   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Terrorism_Index

The Unites States is ranked 30 out of the 124 countries listed.

Terroristic Threats are not something new – they has been around for a long time.  Terrorism can be traced back to 70 AD.  The Sicarii (dagger-men) were Jewish Zealots, who carried small daggers concealed under their cloaks (this is where we get the term “cloak & dagger”).  At public gatherings they would pull these daggers out to attack Romans, and then blend back into the crowd afterwards to escape detection.

The first use of the word “terrorism” can be traced back to the French Revolution.  The Jacobin Club was a radical, left-wing political group that believed that everybody was equal especially in political, economic, or social life.  The Girondins  (mostly aristocrats) also a political group and were prevalent in the French Legislative at the time.  The Jacobins in order to take control of France started mass executions of the Girondins, executing an estimated 42,000 people.  [I guess the Jacobins didn’t think that the Girondins were equal to them.]  This period of time September 5, 1793 to July 28, 1794 was known as the “Reign of Terror”; where we get the word “Terrorism”.  The terror was used to provide a very visible example to those who might consider rebellion.  [To control those who were left.]

Terrorist Groups can come from both inside the country and outside of the country they are terrorizing.  Below is a very short list of terrorist attacks that happened on U.S. soil.

1865-1877 United States; 3,000 Freedmen [slaves set free after the Civil War] and their Republican Party allies [the Republican Party was founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854] were killed by the Ku Klux Klan in a campaign of terrorist violence aimed at weakening the reconstructionist governments [the government formed to rebuild the US after the Civil War] in the south.

1974-1983 United States;  The Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN a Puerto Rican paramilitary organization advocating independence for Puerto Rico. The FALN was responsible for more than 120 bomb attacks in the United States.

1993 United States: The First World Trade Center Bombing.  Al-Qaeda’s first attempt at bombing the World Trade Center; killed 6 people and injured more than a thousand.

Terroist-Page--Oklahoma-Cit--Optimized1995 Oklahoma City Bombing:  Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols both militia movement sympathizers were motivated by their hatred of the federal government and angered by the 1993 Waco Siege and the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident.  The bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others.

Terrorism-Page-WTC-911-Flic--Optimized2001 The September 11 Attacks:  Al-Qaeda crashed 2 commercial jet airliners into the World Trade Center Towers, 1 into the Pentagon, and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania plane that was thwarted by the passengers trying to overcome the hijackers.  A total of 2,997 people died in the attacks.  Some of the reasons behind these attacks were:  U.S. Support of Israel,  the declaration of a Holy War, and attacks and atrocities against Muslims.

2013 Boston Marathon Bombing:  Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs claiming to have learned how to build the two bombs from an online magazine from al-Qaeda.  The 2 bombs killed 5 people and injured 280 people.


Many have presumptions about what causes someone to become a terrorist.


The following are summary notes taken a Coursera Mooc, “Terrorism & Counter-Terrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice.”  by Dr. Edwin Bakker, Director of the Center for Terrorism & Counter-terrorism at Leiden University, Haige, Netherlands.


Terrorism is caused by Poverty:  This assumption has no basis.  Osama bin Landen and Richard Reid (the Shoe Bomber) came from very well to do families.  Plus the 10 countries with the lowest GDP per capita in 2012 experience no terrorist activity at all.

An interesting article from the Washington Post: ‘Jihadi John’: The Islamic State killer behind the mask is a young Londoner.    Killer Behind the Mask. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/%E2%80%98jihadi-john%E2%80%99-the-islamic-state-killer-behind-the-mask-is-a-young-londoner/ar-BBhZcX6

Terrorist are crazyThis assumption also has no basis.  Terrorist are not like the random school shooter or mass murders; who are not politically motivated.  Terrorism is a rational behavior that kills in order to achieve certain political goals.

Terroristic Threats target westerns.  The rhetoric is clearly anti-western.  But if we look at the people who suffer the most casualties (the victims) from terrorist attacks; it would be the Muslims.  Between 2005 and 2010, Muslims suffered between 82% and 97% of the fatalities related to terrorism worldwide.

It is very difficult to determine exactly what motivates someone to join a terrorist group.  But most of the research points to:

  • A response to political conditions and long standing feelings of indignity and frustration.
  • Having a purpose in life. Fight for what they believe is right.
  • Religious
  • Comradeship – belonging to a group.
  • The thrill of violence and adventure.
  • Paradise via martyrdom.

The thing we need to recognize about terrorism is:

  • Terrorism has been around for a long time and most likely will be around for a longer time.
  • Recognize what it truly is.
  • Be aware and be alert.
  • Understand what the terrorist goals are (control by fear) and don’t be controlled by them.


So, where are the most likely potential Terrorist Targets?


The following partial list was developed from the following articles:

U.S. News  identified Potential Terrorist Targets in the following article:  http://www.usnews.com/news/slideshows/six-vulnerable-potential-terrorist-targets/1

The Top 100 Terrorist Targets in the United States.  http://www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/terrorist_targets.html

Al Qaeda Magazine hinted of another attack.  August 28, 2014.  As reported by Fox News.  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/28/al-qaeda-magazine-urges-terrorists-to-hit-vegas-military-academies-and-stores/

Which U.S. Cities will the Terrorist Hit Next?  http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/08/david-franke/which-us-city-will-the-terrorists-target-next/

  • Military Bases
  • Defense contractors
  • National Monuments: Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, etc.
  • Embassies
  • Oil Pipe Lines
  • Financial Institutions: Wall Street, National Bank Headquarters, etc.
  • Shipping Ports that have chemical and oil tankers.
  • Bridges and Tunnels
  • Rail and Metro Systems
  • Airports
  • Rail lines
  • Chemical Plants
  • Liquid Natural Gas facilities
  • Dams
  • Power Grid
  • Power Plants: Both Nuclear and Coal
  • Bio Labs
  • Crowded Tourist areas.
  • Shopping Malls.

Steps you can take to protect yourself from Terrorist Attacks.


The steps you take are basically the same steps that you would use to prepare for any other disaster scenario.  But, here are some suggestions that will be unique to a Terrorist attack situation.

Look at where you live, work, play, and where the kids go to school.  This is where you will be spending most of your time.

Now compare those locations against the List of the most likely potential Terrorist Targets discussed in this lesson.

  • Are any of these potential targets near your or any family member’s, everyday locations?   If they are – then these are the places you need to focus on.
  • Do any of your travel routes put you, or any family member, near any of these potential targets?
  • Even if you don’t work at a potential targeted facility, a terrorist attack against one of those facilities could impact a large area and impact you.
  • Plan now what you are going to do if one of the targets were hit by a Terrorist attack.  What are your alternate routes [Both TO and FROM] these locations?  You may need to either get home or pick up a family member.

You should also have “Everyday Carry Kits” and “Car Kits” specifically built for a terrorist attack happening at one of these target locations.  Note:  Everyday Carry Kits” and “Car Kits” are normally much smaller than a Go-Bag. You will not have a lot of space in these types of kits.  These kits are supposed to be light and portable.  So you need to make sure that you are carrying the most important and most likely supplies that you will need for the most likely scenario.

  • If the location places you too close to a chemical plant, then make sure that your kits contain the necessary items to protect yourself from a Hazardous Material incident.
  • If the location is close to a nuclear plant, base, or facility, then your kit should have the necessary items that you will need for a Nuclear event.
  • The information that you need to build these “Event Specific Kit” will be discussed in a future lesson.

If your everyday locations separate the family members – then make sure each family member knows what the evacuation plan calls for, where the Meet-Up place are, and how will you communicate while you are separated.

If you take the bus, train, ferry, or car pool with someone to get back and forth to work – always have a back-up plan to get back home and make pre-arrangements in case you are not able to get out of the area.  This would be a list of pre-determined hotels, shelters, places at work, friends in the area, or fellow employees that you can spend a few nights with – just in case you can’t get out of the area.  Better to do that now – rather than wait until the peak of the terrorist attack to figure that stuff out.

Be constantly aware (not panicked or paranoid) but be aware.  These places that we spend most of our time are “OUR Place”.  That means that you should familiarize yourself with the environment, the settings, the daily activities and the people that you come across on your normal day.  These are the setting for your “Normal Day”.  Remember what your “Normal Day” is like.  Now be on the lookout for anything that is NOT Normal.  Anything that is out of the ordinary.

  • Why are those packages there? No one ever leaves packages there.  DON’T TOUCH THEM!
  • Why is that van parked there?
  • Why is that group of men huddling over there by an electric generator station?
  • Get the picture? Something isn’t normal.  Something isn’t right.  This is your daily hangout areas –  you should be better at recognizing something be out of the normal better than anyone else.   Have Situational Awareness.
  • If you see something – Report It.

If you hear news reports or terrorist activities going on in other parts of the country – be on extra high alert. Pay extra attention when you are travelling – especially outside of the country.  This also will be a good time to review your “Shelter-in-Place” supply inventory.  You might want to make sure that everything is “Topped Off” or you might even want to bring in some extra supplies.  You want to make sure to position yourself in case there is a disruption in the distribution channels that supply groceries, gas, pharmacies, etc.

If you hear on the news that certain terrorist groups are targeting specific ethnic, religious, or nationalities, – then avoid wearing any clothing or any other identification that will associate you with those groups.  You want to blend.  You don’t want to stand out in the crowd.  Avoid any neighborhoods or events that are associated with either the targeted group or the terrorist groups.

Always make sure that you carry identification.  If a terrorist attack happens between where you are and where you want to be – the police may set up road blocks or control access to certain buildings in order to control the situation.  Having the appropriate identification may allow you to go through the road block or enter a building and get to where you want to be.

Don’t ever make jokes about terrorist activities.  Make sure you discuss this with your other family members.  In todays’ society – many people are on edge.  Making a joke about terrorist activities, (I have  a bomb.  I have a gun. etc.), will only bring attention to you.  You don’t want that kind of attention.


So,  let’s do our Risk Assessment for Terrorism.


Everybody starts out with 1 point.    1-Point is a Very Low Risk Level.

If you (or any of your family members) live or work  within 5 miles of any of the potential terrorist targets listed in the previous section:  Give yourself 1 point. Note:  Previous modules detailed how to determine where some of these locations are and how to estimate the distance between your location and the potential target.

Terrorism is a World-Wide Problem – But More So a Regional Problem.  If you or a family member take or plan on taking a trip to one of the countries that are ranked high in the “The 2014 Global Terrorism Index Ranking”,  you need to address it.  Click this button for the list:  2014 Global Terrorism Index Ranking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Terrorism_Index

  • If the country you plan on visiting is listed in the Top 20:  Give yourself 2 points.
  • If the country is ranked more than 20, but 29 or less: Give yourself 1 point.  For those of you in the United States [#30], you already gave yourself a point at the beginning of this assessment.

If you travel by air, train or bus more than once a month [the destination doesn’t matter]: Give yourself 1 point.

If you live in a city with a population of more than 1-million people:  Give yourself 1 point.

OK, so now add up your points and insert it into your risk assessment table.


This is what you should be taking away from this module:


  1. What are Terroristic Threats.
  2. What is Terrorism – Control by Fear.
  3. The impact that terrorism has had on our country.
  4. The Global Terrorist Index Rating.
  5. A brief History of Terrorism – Has been around for a long time.
  6. Some Assumptions about Terrorism – Based upon: Poverty, Insane People, Predominantly an anti-Western movement. All of these assumptions are not substantiated.
  7. What are some of the motivators for terrorist?
  8. Determined your Risk Level of Terrorism.


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