Is The Term Terrorism Overused?

Today the big news is that a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US was thwarted. There are apparent ties to Iran and while that’s a big deal and should not be taken lightly, I believe that the headlines calling it terrorism are inappropriate.

Dictionary.com defines terrorism as:

  1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
  2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
  3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting agovernment.

Obviously that definition doesn’t mention the number of people involved as a target, but to me, something would only be considered terrorism if it was being executed against a group of people, not an individual target. My feeling is that the media are using the term terrorism just to get people to read their stories or watch their newscasts. When any word is used excessively and improperly it eventually causes the term to lose meaning. Terrorism isn’t to be taken lightly, so don’t use the word when it’s not accurate. The last thing we want is for people to become numb to it.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

One thought on “Is The Term Terrorism Overused?

  1. Good point. They may just be doing that (using the word to grab attention).

    But, the definition, found in.. a book, or online isn’t the only definition. It can be defined in many ways. Definitions just limit words to specific meanings. I would consider what they’re saying, terrorism. But, then again, I spent some time in Baghdad, and think about it differently.

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