It’s a frightening thought. Your friend on Facebook encourages terrorism. But before discussing the indicators of someone who aids terrorists, a little background is required.
Terrorism is a tactic. According to the FBI, terrorism is intended to “(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping”.
A basic interpretation is that terrorism is intended to intimidate civilians and coerce government. Terrorism works by creating fear. It is this fear that influences the actions of the population. Terrorism works not through the overall use of force, but by the fear of incidents of force.
Terrorism is used by individuals and groups that DO NOT possess the power to force their will upon a population. Therefore, terrorists resort to intimidating the population through the use of high profile acts that are designed induce fear into the population. A fearful population will act in predictable ways that benefit the goals of the terrorists. Terrorist thrive not only on building fear, but also on creating fear based hate. The terrorist “wins” by destroying the well-being of the population through replacing feelings of trust and security with feelings of distrust and insecurity.
For example, if a single unarmed terrorist wants people to not view a certain controversial film, he doesn’t have the physical force to do so. But, by yelling “I have a bomb” during a showing, he creates the panic which drives people out of the theater. He also creates the subsequent fear that discourages people from going to future screenings. Despite the fact that the movie goers have the physical force to subdue the terrorist, call security, and continue watching the film, they are effectively controlled by the fear the terrorist created. [ Thought experiment: What would likely happen if someone tried this tactic at screening for prisoners in a maximum security facility?]
Success breeds success. Acts of terrorism that are successful in creating fear and distrust have the effect of encouraging the terrorists to engage in more acts of terrorism. On the other hand, acts of terrorism that don’t create this desired effect serve as deterrents to future acts. Therefore, people in the civilian population and government that spread fear and/or engage in fear and hate driven acts are supporting terrorism. They are the pawns of the terrorists. They are the weak links in the chain that allows terrorism to flourish. They are effectively supporters of terrorism.
Here are five signs of a Facebook Supporter of Terrorism. He or she posts and/or shares material, such as memes, articles, commentary, videos, etc.
- that magnifies the danger of terrorism to the population without regard to the true risk.
- on terrorism without regard to researching and verifying the facts first.
- that is designed to link and stereotype terrorism and extremism with entire populations of people based on ethnicity, religion, country of origin, etc.
- that is intended to create fear and hate against entire populations of people based on ethnicity, religion, country of origin, etc. by linking that entire group with terrorism and extremism.
- that encourages others in the population to also act in a fear/hated based manner as a means to fight against terrorism.
Your Facebook friend may believe that he or she is “battling” against terrorism through his or her activities. But that only means he or she is an unwitting supporter of terrorism (with a strong emphasis on “unwitting”).
Note: Start fighting against terrorism by learning about terrorism around the world. Here is a report to get you started.