This is a word we’ve heard quite a lot the past 6 years. I can’t recall too many speeches given by our president that hasn’t mentioned this word or “Terrorism” a couple dozen times. It’s not like it was an unfamiliar word before 9/11, but I don’t feel it had the same effect, or rather, lack of effect as it does today.
I was having a conversation with family today about schools and zero tolerance policy. If a 2nd grade student is in Cub Scouts and attends school forgetting to leave his pocket knife at home, he can be expelled from the school, even if he gives the teacher the knife the moment he realizes and explains the situation. I commented, sarcastically, that this is necessary to weed out the 2nd grade terrorists.
People laughed at my comment, but then I began to think about it. It seems that when I hear “terror,” “terrorist” or “terrorism” brought up these days, it’s used as part of a sarcastic comment or something. Rarely do I hear it in the context of something to be concerned about or something taken seriously. “Dirty clothes” is a more concerning topic. Maybe it’s just that I live in California, or because of the people I hang around.
And yet, when I hear “Night Terror” or “Reign of Terror,” I get a whole different feeling.
So have we in the US reached a point where the topic of terrorism just isn’t taken as seriously anymore, and if so, is it just because we’re used to hearing it in Bush’s speeches and on the news, or has it been this way for even longer? I’m curious as to what people think first when they hear the words “terrorism,” “war,” and “war on terror.” I’m sure this does depend heavily on region and to people’s personal connections to tragic events.
(And now I can’t help but read “terror” as “t-error.”)