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Reign of terror reaks havoc on the world

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Terrorism has been present throughout history, and it has become the biggest threat toward the safety of Americans. Growing up in a military family, I may be more bias on the issues surrounding terrorism, especially having been exposed to one side of the issue my entire life. That being said, I reached out to my father, Marine Corps Brigadier General Sklenka, for his professional opinion on the current threat of terrorism to our country. “They take advantage of vulnerable segments of society, convincing their recruits that their problems are a direct result of the organization’s enemies and then promising happiness, wealth and commitment,” Brigadier General Sklenka said. “In reality, all that those organizations truly deliver is a life of misery, of enslavement dressed as loyalty to a small cell of terrorist leaders, of violence that occupies virtually every moment of the recruit’s life, and ultimately, they most likely succumb to an untimely and violent death.”

The focus of terrorism has shifted numerous times to virtually every part of the world, and no city is able to avoid it. The recent attacks in Paris, France provide just such an example that terrorism can occur in even the most advanced and seemingly peaceful cities. Survivors and witnesses reported that the terrorists carried AK-47 assault rifles or had bombs strapped to them as they rushed into public areas that had thousands of people. In this “city of love” citizens may have held a false sense of security, and I believe that is what the extremists are determined to tear down. “False promises are used in place of hope, and that is how these organizations [terror groups] sustain themselves,” Brigadier General Sklenka said.

It is this sense of security that the United States is trying to protect. As attacks happened across Paris, the United States carried out an airstrike that was planned days in advance of the attack. The airstrike was conducted against a seaside town in an attempt to kill the leader of the Islamic State who was thought to be in Libya. It was later confirmed by Pentagon Spokesman, Captain Jeff Davis, that the leader was killed in those attacks. In order to monitor the rise of fighters that have joined the Islamic State and the Levant, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, American Special Operations forces have been conducting surveillance in not just Libya, but throughout the Middle East. “I think that it is very important to keep eyes on these extremists,” freshman Greta Engel said. “Doing so could protect people from future attacks.”

The Islamic State has engaged in a campaign of terrorist attacks aiming to inflict huge civilian casualties on the distant territory. Their actions have caused many counterterrorism officials in the United States and in Europe to rethink how they originally considered the Islamic State’s threats, and many Americans and Europeans feel that the threat needs to be taken more seriously.  

ISIS is responsible for thousands of deaths according to Executive Director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, Megan Price. This leads me to believe that the United States is greatly underestimating the power of the terror group and the lengths that they will go to in pressing their cause. “These people are not to be messed with,” Engel said. “I feel we as a country must understand that.”

As the threat of terror attacks increases throughout the country, a large portion of Americans do not believe that the United States does everything in their power to protect its citizens from the extremist groups. “I value what the United States does to keep us safe,” Engel said. “However I feel like we need to increase security within the country rather than worrying about external threats.”

Other Americans, including myself, believe that the United States does everything in their power to prevent future acts of terrorism. They cite examples such as increasing airport security and the formation of The Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 occurred. The goal of increasing security was to build a new homeland security enterprise to better defend the United States against dynamic threats and increase the ability to respond and recover from disasters of all kind. “That is why education is one of the greatest tools we can use against terrorism, education that reestablishes values like as self-control, order, and acceptance,” freshman Clara Helms said.

However, we cannot stop living our lives. We should still attend sporting events, concerts, movies, and everyday activities. “If people do not attend popular events due to a fear of terrorist attacks, then the terrorists have won,” Brigadier General Sklenka said. “Do not stop living just because of the potential threat. Be vigilant, be aware and do not be afraid to live your life.”

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The student newspaper of Washington-Lee High School
Reign of terror reaks havoc on the world