When confronted with the word terrorism
, most people will think of bombs, guns, or airplanes crashing into buildings
. They may, in light of recent events
, even think of biological weapons
such as anthrax
But that's not always the point. The point of terrorism isn't simply to hurt people, it's to break the will of your enemy. And you do this by disrupting their infrastructure; halting transportation; convincing consumers not to buy; making citizens fear each other. And, once you are established as a credible threat, you can accomplish much of this without hurting a soul.
Walk through South Station, and spill a bit of corn starch onto the floor. Watch the whole place get sealed tighter than a drum for a few hours.
Send a handful of letters with corn starch and baby powder in them to media personages across the country. Watch their offices shut down for a few hours.
Inquire about buying one way tickets on an international flight. Watch it be cancelled.
Call in a bomb threat.
Each of these saps the will to fight. Each time a real attack is made, people get angry. Angry people tend to be willing to put up with a lot. Fake attacks? They annoy people. Annoyed people tend to lash out at each other