FAQ: Knowledge & Education

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How do we talk to our kids about terrorism without scaring them?

Educating anyone on terrorism can be scary sometimes; however, it is important for everyone to know that terrorist acts are very rare events and so it is not as imminent as some think.

Countering the false narrative spread by terrorist organizations is the only way to persuade individuals to reject the groups’ radical propositions.

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For more information, please visit: Forest, J.J., The Terrorism Lectures, 2015.

What is the U.S.’s strategy to defeat international terrorist organizations?

Dissolving terrorist safe havens prevents groups from gaining strongholds in the region, weakening their operational capacities. U.S. counterterrorism strikes follow a specific protocol seeking to minimize collateral damage. Part of the planning process of an attack is a determination of how to strategically strike the target without bringing about harm to innocent lives or uninvolved property.

Why do terrorists terrorize innocent people? How do they benefit?

Terrorists aim to strike fear in people to influence the government. All terrorist organizations share a similar goal, which is to change government and/or institution policies. They terrorize innocent people to make the people and government fear the organization.

What is the history of the word ‘terrorism’?

Terrorism comes from the idea that individuals who wish to push their ideology will do so by means of terror attacks; it is a tactic for achieving objectives. The word “terrorism” itself, is attributed to Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution. When conceived, the word did not have the negative connotation that it does today, but rather, emphasized the need for violent tactics to end repression by the political elite.

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Why is such little media attention given to homegrown/domestic terrorism?

Homegrown and domestic terrorism does not fit the media’s narrative, therefore the media chooses not to focus upon this news. The media will not report on a story if they can’t capitalize on the effects and public outrage. Some news organizations don’t believe that homegrown and/or domestic terrorism can’t gain the same attention as other forms of terrorism. Media outlets are an industry, competing with each other for viewership and subscribers to their content.

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What can I, as a citizen, do to prevent terrorism?

There are a many different ways to help prevent terrorism but the most important is to be aware. It is most helpful to monitor your children’s internet use and make sure they are using the internet safely as well as being aware of your surroundings when going to a large event. Keep an eye out for anything that seems “out of place”, and ‘if you see something, say something.’ If you do see something strange or odd, then you should contact a law enforcement officer.

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For more information, please visit: dhs.gov

How many Americans are involved in terrorist organizations?

It is difficult to get exact numbers but, NPR reported as of September 2015, over 250 US citizens have joined ISIS overseas. The actual number could be higher or lower than this estimate but again, it is difficult to obtain exact figures.

For more information, please visit: NPR