Webster defines terrorism as the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. America now hears this term every single day. I am not sure what the count of hits on the word terrorism on a google search prior to 9-11 was but now terrorism bring back about 21,300,000 results. God brings back about 130,000,000 and Love brings back about 253,000,000 just to put things into perspective.
Many groups have practiced terrorism. Political and religious ideals seem to fuel the largest and deadliest. Before 9-11 America felt safe, I used to feel safe here. I grew up around terrorism in Colombia. Bombs were not something that you heard about on the news in a far away country, instead it was that loud noise that could wake up late in the middle of the night. I remember two incidents very vividly.
One was at night probably around 8 pm I was visiting my grandparents. We heard a loud explosion that rattled the windows. My grandparents live on a 3-story house with a terrace that kind of overlooks some of the city. We went up to the terrace and saw a fire probably about 5 miles from where we were standing. A pharmacy owned by the cartel people had just been blown up.
The second incident I remember happened just blocks from where I lived. I was playing soccer with my friends when we heard a loud boom. We knew what it was and out of curiosity ran to check it out. Sure enough a bomb had exploded killing a prosecutor that lived in our neighborhood.
Sometimes if my Dad was not home on time we would worry that something could have happened. If a report of some kind of violence was on the news, there was always that fear even though my Dad did not work in a “high risk” job. Still being on the streets at night was not a safe thing when you had to cross rougher neighborhoods to come home.
One of the biggest motivators for my family to relocate to the US was opportunity. My parents knew that here my sister and I would have a better opportunity to go to school and become better people. As a huge added bonus the US was safe, there was no bomb or violence at every corner. Or at least that is how it was painted.
As I developed as a teenager in the US I started to learn that while it was safer here, there was still neighborhoods that were dangerous and places you should not go. In general though most people lived their lives without having to watch their backs at all time or had never even heard a loud explosion except for during Independence Day in a Fourth of July celebration.
It was a very good feeling of security knowing that I was safe. As long as I stayed in the right neighborhoods I would be safe. As long as I was working and living my life I would have nothing to worry about. Then 9-11 happened. And it made that fear come back. That uncertainty set in. It is a feeling that I did not want to experience again and sad enough I understand.
Most people have calmed down now and are not as in shock as they were in 2001, but we are still living terrorism every day. We have our troops fighting this war and the fear of many of our young man and women not returning is a reality. It is also very real to the people that have loved ones in the military. It might not be the same as waiting for Dad to come home on time, but listening to the news hoping that the news report does not include a death toll.