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AMERICAN TERRORISM - MORE BOMBAST OR BOMB BLASTS?

NCJ Number
68176
Journal
TVI JOURNAL Volume: 1 Issue: 4 Dated: (1980) Pages: 2-8
Author(s)
B JENKINS
Date Published
1980
Length
7 pages
Annotation
TERRORISM IN THE U.S. IS SEEN AS LESS THREATENING THAN IN WESTERN EUROPE, BECAUSE OF A SMALL NUMBER OF GEOGRAPHICALLY-BASED ETHNIC CAUSES AND COMMITMENT TO SPECIFIC POLITICAL ISSUES, RATHER THAN TO IDEOLOGY.
Abstract
IN SPITE OF THE STATISTICAL DATA FOR THE LAST DECADE, WHICH PUTS THE U.S. ON THE LIST OF 10 NATIONS MOST AFFECTED BY TERRORISM, THE GENERAL PERCEPTION IS THAT LITTLE TERRORISM HAS OCCURRED IN THE U.S. IN COMPARISON WITH WESTERN EUROPE. THIS IS BECAUSE (1) ONLY A FEW SPECTACULAR INCIDENTS, SUCH AS THE KIDNAPPING OF PATTY HEARST, HAVE OCCURRED, AND (2) MOST OF THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE HAS BEEN DIRECTED AGAINST PROPERTY RATHER THAN PERSONS. TERRORISM IN THE U.S. IS LESS SEVERE THAN IN WESTERN EUROPE, BECAUSE ETHNIC-BASED SEPARATIST MOVEMENTS WHICH ARE AMONG THE MAIN CAUSES OF TERRORISM ARE NOT TYPICAL IN THE U.S. ETHNIC MINORITIES DO NOT LIVE IN GEOGRAPHICALLY DISCRETE REGIONS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PUERTO RICO, WHOSE SEPARATISM, SIGNIFICANTLY, HAS BEEN THE BASIS FOR CONTINUING TERRORIST ACTIONS IN THE U.S. ANOTHER IMPORTANT CAUSE OF TERRORISM, IDEOLOGY, HAS NOT BEEN A POWERFUL FORCE IN THE U.S. EITHER. ALL THE 20TH CENTURY MAJOR MOVEMENTS FROM THE LABOR TO THE ANTI-VIETNAM WAR MOVEMENT, HAVE BEEN SINGLE-ISSUE ORIENTED, AND THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM HAS HAD THE ABILITY TO CO-OPT THEIR PROGRAMS AND MEMBERS. IN ADDITION, ONLY A FEW OF THE SMALL NUMBER OF TERRORIST GROUPS THAT EMERGED FROM THE MORE EXTREME ELEMENTS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS AND ANTI-VIETNAM WAR MOVEMENTS OF THE 1960'S ARE STILL ACTIVE. IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT TERRORISM IN THE U.S. WILL NOT INCREASE, BUT THAT IT WILL PERSIST ON THE SAME LEVEL. THE CAUSES OF FUTURE CONCERN ARE: THE PUERTO RICAN ISSUE, CROATIAN AND ANTI-CASTRO EMIGREES, JEWISH, BLACK, INDIAN AND FEMINIST EXTREMISTS, RACIST AND NATIVIST GROUPS, AND CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES, SUCH AS NUCLEAR POWER AND ABORTION. EVENTS ABROAD, SUCH AS THE U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST OR ELSEWHERE, MAY ALSO CAUSE TERRORISM. A FOOTNOTE ON STATISTICAL INFORMATION SOURCES CONCERNING TERRORISM IS PROVIDED. (ELP)