Terrorism: Why It Can Never Be Justified
It was a normal Tuesday morning in September. He had just got up and was eating breakfast when his dad called home. My mother answered the phone, and his dad simply said "turn on the news." Probably somewhat nervous because of her husband's ominous tone, his mother turned on the television. As she stood there shocked, he made his way into the living room. He could see the burning image on the screen, and knew something horrible had happened, but he couldn't get his mother to tell me what had happened. Instead of continuing to watch the confusing events playing out on the television he decided he should probably go work on his math. He got some paper out and wrote his name, then the date: September 11th, 2001. Strange that at the time he didn't know that this date would be the reason that he would resolve to join the army. Who would have thought that something he didn't even fully understand would completely change the course of his life? There are many stories like this that other people have, and it serves to show that terrorism affects everyone in a negative way. Because of events like 9/11 it is made clear that no act of terrorism by anyone for any cause can ever be justified as these attacks cause many problems like mental illnesses in survivors, it causes governments to disrespect the rights of their citizens, and it does not promote change.
A few of the horrible effects of terrorism that were seen among survivors of the world trade center attacks are not only physically damaging, but also mentally damaging. These attacks against the citizens of the U.S. exposed citizens to a mental illness that, up to this point, had mainly been present only in soldiers that had seen horrible things happen to themselves and other people during their tour of duty. These attacks exposed citizens of the United States, like David Donovan, to horrible traumatic images and experiences. Donovan, a retail stockbroker who escaped the building from the 87th floor before it fell on his friends and colleagues, said that as he left the building, an FBI agent was repeating the phrase “don’t look left!” over and over to keep Donovan and others from staring at the bodies falling from floors even higher than the one Donovan worked on (Ochs). There are a saddening number of stories similar to this that have been told by many different survivors of the attack. Experiences like this, in which a survivor lives while his or her friends, colleagues, or family members often cause the survivor to feel what is called “survivors guilt.” It is the feeling of guilt one may feel after living through something horrible while friends, family, coworkers, or even complete strangers die.
The survivor often wonders why they survived and their friends didn’t, and they feel horrible for it. This, sadly, is a direct effect of many terrorist attacks that has been reported after other attacks than 9/11 too. A study performed on over three-thousand of the survivors of the 9/11 attacks published in the American Journal of Epidemiology “found that close to 96 percent reported at least one symptom of PTSD” (Ochs). This means that of the 3,271 survivors surveyed, and there are many who were not surveyed, 3,140 reported having a psychological syndrome caused by traumatic events like 9/11 called post-traumatic stress syndrome (Ochs). These two horrible mental illnesses are common among survivors of other terrorist attacks as well. It is a high cost to pay for any change, not only killing and physically maiming innocent civilians but also causing psychological issues that will stick with survivors the rest of their lives, which is why terrorism is never justifiable.