The paper focuses on the growing problem of fighting against the threats of terrorism in the USA within the recent decades. It researches the peculiarities of the terrorist activities and their new forms. Today, the terrorism acquires new sophisticated and veiled character. The work reveals the evolution and the dimensions of the tragedies, which happened in the period from 1993 until 2001, and analyzes the measures taken by the federal and local governments to prevent the future attacks. It describes the possible motives and reasons of the terrorist actions in the Waco Siege, Oklahoma City bombings, and 9/11 attacks.
The paper proves the appearance of the new forms of terrorism transmitted through mass media, which are affecting the human mind on the subconscious level, giving incentive to the violent and aggressive behavior and communication. It analyzes the scale of tragedies in the dimensions of human lives and property damage and claims that the non-violent approach to the conflicts resolution is the only way of their de-escalation.
Terrorism is a socially dangerous activity characterized by conscious and deliberate use of violence (Bergeson, Valeri, 2009). It has always implied a dilemma of being either an abusive violation or the fight for freedom. As any phenomenon in the modern society, terrorism has its unique characteristics. It includes a strategy of action based on justifying the principles of repression and physical destruction.
The abusers often apply to intimidation, executions, murders, and other horrors. The policies and practices of terrorism target directly the enemy. Nevertheless, other population, who is not directly involved in the conflict, can often become the innocent victim becoming the cost of the terror requirements.
In the recent decades, terrorism has acquired global dimensions; fighting this evil has become the issue number one in the many developed and prosperous countries. The USA has always been a country of immigrants and, since the first days of its foundation, democracy has implied the protection of private property, profit, and life. Any group has the right to exercise and promote religious, cultural, or other values if it has enough will and vitality to survive in the melting pot.
That is why any terrorist act is an irretrievable blow to the concept of the American following the law in the conflict regulations. The security canons have shook after a series of terrorist attacks with the culmination on the 9/11; it caused a profound reconsideration of the approaches to the problem of terrorism at the local and global levels.
The current paper focuses on the peculiarities of the terrorist fighting evolution within the territory of the USA. It claims that the U.S. government managed to work out the legal bases for fighting against the terrorist threats thanks to the non-violence principles of the conflicts resolutions in the recent decades.
America has always attracted the immigrants as a place where they could freely exercise their culture, as well as social and religious values. There is a great variety of communities united on the principle of the spirit power and secant mode of living. The religious sect Branch Dravidians was characterized by strict limitations and exaggerations in worshiping the holy leader. Idealization is the way to Utopia (Bergeson & Valeri, 2009).
One of such groups lived in Waco, Texas, and it was the mentioned above religious group called the Branch Dravidians. They caught the eye of the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms), because of the large purchase of Firearms over a period of several months. The BATF moved in and raided the compound. That violated invasion lead to a prolonged siege that ended with the burning to the ground of the buildings and killing all the people inside. It happened on April 19, 1993.
During the Waco Siege, four federal agents and 82 members of the sect were killed, including more than twenty children. However, the further investigation showed that those numerous victims were the result of incompetent work of the official guards (Bergeson & Valeri, 2009).
The Branch Dravidians possessed a ranch Mount Carmel situated not far from the city of Waco. The community was constantly growing and had a lot of followers. The residents were suspected of violating the weapons laws. During the raid on the ranch, the FBI initiated a siege that had lasted for 51 days and ended with the assault, which was attended by about 700 people and supported by the armored vehicles and helicopters. During the storm, the big fire started.
According to the governmental investigation, the cultists were responsible for setting the fire. The critics of the official version, including some survivors, however, claimed that there was not enough evidence, and the possible cause of the inflaming could be storming with the tear gas (CS gas). The siege can be qualified as a terrorist act because there were many innocent victims, including the children under the age of three. However, the question of the guilt parts had raised a strong resonance in the society (Bergeson & Valeri, 2009).
The ranch search was caused by the reports about the illegal arms application and sexual intercourses of the sect leader, Koresh, with the minor females. Based on the information gathered, the agent Aguilera had prepared the materials needed for the search warrant and arrest. Later, the application of Aguilera revealed distorted and incomplete information.
In particular, Aguilera claimed that Koresh possessed PTR Boys antitank rifle of 52 calibers, but in reality, Koresh owned large Rifle Barrett 50 caliber. Possessing the PTR Boys without special federal registration was a criminal offense while keeping the rifle Barrett 50 was legal. Aguilera stated that the Dravidians had grenades but did not indicate that the grenades were the legally-bought weapons at the fair. Moreover, the grenades were fixed on supports and used as a paperweight.
In 1999, under the influence of the increasing criticism and action groups advocating the sect, the public was inclined to believe that the perpetrators of death of the Dravidians were the federal law enforcement agencies. For example, a survey conducted in August of 1999 by the Times, showed that 61% of respondents agreed that the inflaming occurred due to the fault of the federal agents who stormed the mansion. In September of the same year, the Attorney General has decided to conduct an investigation, which was led by the former Senator John Danford. In particular, Danford was to determine whose fault caused the fire in the "Mount Carmel" (Bergeson., Valeri, 2009).
During the investigation that had lasted for nearly a year, 1001 witnesses were interviewed. On November 8, 2000, Danforth delivered the final report. It was alleged that the fire originated and spread because of no fault of the federal agents. At the same time, the report noted the mistakes made by federal law enforcement agencies before and during the siege. The leader of the sect, David Koresh, would leave the estate each day to make a morning run. According to some witnesses, it was not difficult to arrest him without storming the estate and thus avoid numerous victims and the fire.
Explosions in the Oklahoma City
Terrorism is never expected or predicted, and it can appear in the quiet and safe areas like the Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh was a former military Veteran under President George H Bush (Gupta, 2008). He and his friend Terry Nichols masterminded the Oklahoma City Bombing from a Kitchen Table in a small town in Kansas. They robbed the local rock quarry, got the required detonators, and purchased a large quantity of the Ammonia Nitrate Fertilizer. They mixed the racing fuel and Diesel in the large plastic barrels at a lake in Kansas.
In the morning, Timothy McVeigh drove the truck and parked it outside of the Federal Building. (Gupta, 2008). At 9:02 a.m. the bomb went off killing 169 people. Many of them were children and elderly, as well as federal workers who had just started their working day an hour earlier. It was the first case of terrorism carried out in a nice quiet area, where people believed it could never happen to them (Gupta, 2008).
It remains a question what made Timothy McVeigh bomb the federal building. He gave a vow to protect the Constitution; however, it did not prevent him from violating that basic right to life of the innocent victims. He felt that the Government had overstepped its authority. He wrote that it was the responsibility of the people to rise and overthrow the Government if it got too overbearing (Bergeson & Valeri, 2009).
At the time, there was a movement in some parts of the country of a Para-Military Groups, which consisted of the men and women who trained as if they were in the military to defend what they named the American way of life. Among the Para Military Groups, there were some supremacist units, as well as the Americans, who did not like the policies of the government (Gupta, 2008).
The powerful explosion destroyed the federal building of Alfred Marra, as well as destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a radius of 16 blocks and 86 cars, and knocked the glass houses within a radius of 3 miles. The total damage from the explosion was estimated at 652 million dollars (Gupta, 2008).
This act of terrorism has changed many things in the security of the federal buildings and the approach to allowing the vehicles come close and enter the territory of an establishment. Since that time, going to a federal building or doing business in some areas has become like staying in a police state because of all of the security precautions. Timothy McVeighs lasting legacy is that he enhanced what he had fought against.
His violent and merciless terrorist act only empowered the Federal Government to ask for the identity cards and motivated people surrendering their rights to the government for security. His horrible attack left a scar on the Oklahoma City; on April 19. 2015, the names of the people killed will be read aloud as they have been read for the last 19 memorial services.(Gupta, 2008).
The trial took place in 1997 and sentenced McVeigh to death by lethal injection. The sentence was carried out on June 11, 2001. Nichols got the life imprisonment. Just like the other large-scale terrorist attacks, the explosion in Oklahoma has created the ground for rumors and conspiracy theories that refute the official version. The terrorist attack prompted the U.S. government to adopt urgently a new law on the protection of the federal buildings, which prevented more than 60 potential terrorist attacks in the United States, in the period from 1995 to 2005 (Gupta, 2008).
McVeighs hatred had intensified with time because of the ideological opposition movement, raising taxes, and verification of the buyers of weapons; it became even stronger after the siege in Waco. Despite the fact that the defense had requested a life sentence for his ward, McVeigh received the death penalty.
In May of 2001, the FBI announced the holding of the protection of more than 3 million documents in the case of McVeigh, resulting in postponing the execution for a month to study the documents of protection. The trial was broadcast on a closed channel so that the relatives of the victims could witness it. The execution of McVeigh became the first federal penalty for 38 years (Gupta, 2008).
The security experts and ATF agents asked the Congress to create a bill that had to require the customer to bring an identity card with the purchase of ammonium nitrate while the sellers to keep the accounts of all sales. The critics opposed the suggestion, arguing that the farmers require large amounts of fertilizer for the lawful activities (Gupta, 2008).
In some weeks after the explosion, the government ordered to protect the federal buildings with concrete barriers. Subsequently, the temporary barriers were replaced with the permanent, more aesthetic, and dug deep into the ground fences for stability. Moreover, all the new federal buildings had to be built with barriers to the passage of trucks. Since then, the cost of improving the protection of the buildings exceeded $600 million (Gupta, 2008).
Among the 52 innovations introduced in order to improve the safety, there were the physical barriers, video surveillance, restriction of access to different points, strengthening the external part of the building, and the use of plastic glazing to reduce the injuries caused by broken glass. In one of the episodes of the Seconds from Disaster series, the National Geographic Channel suggested that the building of Marra might have stood if it had been built in accordance with the Californian set of rules aimed at increasing the resistance to earthquakes.
The act of terrorism on September 11, 2001 is a series of four coordinated suicide attacks that occurred in the United States. Responsible for these attacks is on the Islamic organization Al Qaeda. The terrorists sent two of the airliners to crash into the World Trade Center, located in the southern part of Manhattan in the New York City.
The third plane targeted the Pentagon, near Washington. The passengers and crew of the fourth aircraft tried to seize control of the aircraft from the terrorists; consequently, the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. As a result of the attacks, 2977 people died with 24 more missing. Most of the dead were civilians (Martinez, 2012).
On the day of the attack, the falling aircrafts destroyed three buildings of the WTC, New-York. The event caused the large-scale information chaos all over the United States. The officials canceled all the commercial flights, as well as prohibited the planes to land in the United States (except for domestic flights currently in the air). The planes arriving in the USA from other countries had either to go back to the airport of departure or to head the airport in Canada or Mexico. The major cities in the country organized the fighters patrolling the Air Force and the National Guard. There were reports of other terrorist attacks, which subsequently proved to be untrue.
People got into the trap on the top floors of the towers. Many workers died in the time of the collision of the plane with the tower while the rest were killed because of the fire and building collapse (Gupta, 2008). On the upper floors of the south tower, at least 600 people died. Only about 18 people were able to leave the area falling into the south tower. At least 200 people from among the trapped on the upper floors of the towers jumped down, preferring such death to the death by fire.
Numerous witnesses saw their fall. Some people tried to get on the roof of the towers, in the hope of the evacuation by helicopters, but the evacuation did not take place because the door to the roof was closed, and the smoke and heat of the fire made it impossible to use helicopters (Martinez, 2012). More than three hundred firefighters and medics, dozens of police and civilian employees of the first aid died in the tragedy.
Among the terrorists, there were six main organizers (four of whom were the pilots) and thirteen ordinary members of the group. They did not conform to the typical portrait of a shahid, because they were middle-aged, well-educated people with dissent lifestyle.
According to the official version, the idea of the terrorist attacks of September 11 belonged to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who first introduced it to Osama bin Laden in 1996. In an interview with the reporter of Al Jazeera in 2002, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confirmed his participation in the operation the Holy Thursday. At the court hearing in March of 2007, being widely criticized by the lawyers and human rights defenders, Mohammed again confirmed his participation in the organization of the events of September 11, saying that he was responsible for the 9/11 operation (Martinez, 2012, p. 91).
All these examples show that, in the case the violence is promoted and justified, the further escalation, new disastrous tragedies, and numerous innocent victims are inevitable.
Terrorists can be not a military power or armed groups. The rise of terrorism in the United States originated from the hate groups of people who distrusted the Government, religious zealots, and because of some political causes like Earth First, Earth Liberation Force, as well as some civil rights groups like the Black Panthers or Islamists. All groups had their concept and wanted to have their message heard, just as it was with PETA and the red paint that they throw on people wearing the fur coats in the New York City and Hollywood.
Terrorism in America comes from many different places; in some cities with large Russian communities, one can meet the Russian Mob, who uses the fear tactics to receive the protection insurance. If the person does not pay, his/her business is robbed or ransacked in the middle of the night. It is another form of abuse and terrorism. The same situation is in the Italian and Irish communities in the New York City and Chicago. The Americans have even witnessed the letter with Anthrax sent to the governmental office aimed at spreading the fear among the workers.
Consequently, it was forbidden to write to the Congressmen, because of the fear that the letter may contain a toxin or some radioactive components. Finally, the modern media world creates numerous ideological intrusions upon the free choice. People, who like watching TV, become the willing participant of the ideological terrorism because the media and broadcasting create regional visions of the problem and the ruling elite. People start perceiving reality from the perspective of the analysts giving their views on the events, and driving the fear deep into the core of the daily life of the viewers.
The last decade shows that the U.S. government has succeeded in the creation of an efficient system of preventing and fighting against the armed terrorist acts. The security agents look for any possibility of the peaceful resolution of conflicts and try to minimize the cases of military intervention and employment of the armed forces. The studied cases have proven the profound analysis and reconsideration of the terrorist threats, as well as the principles and rules of keeping social order and security in public places, by the legal officials.
In 1993, the federal agency officers could not work out a successful strategy to capture a villain, which resulted in a loss of numerous innocent lives. This violent act and the absence of satisfaction made McVeigh carry out an unexpected terrorist act two years later in the city where it was less expected. According to the criminalists point of view, it was a conscious and deliberate murder and revenge. The penalty was violent and ultimate.
In 6 years, America faced even a more devastating and unbelievable act of terror. The collapse of the WTC Towers in New York became the culmination of the West-Arabic military and economic antagonism. Those merciless attacks made the Americans reconsider the principles of non-violent participation in the international conflicts and work out the rightful policy against the violence promotion and spread.
The twentieth century has born a lot of popular and long-living ideologies, which use abusive forms of influence violating the basic human right to life and freedom of personal choice. At the same time, the humankind has developed a lot of progressive humanitarian ideas applicable in fighting against the evident and hidden terrorism. The violence always causes the same response and leads to a domino effect.
One of the most crucial points in successful combating the problems of the local and international terrorism is the development of tolerant and pluralistic vision of the world and the concept of the peaceful resolution of conflicts.