Terrorism Vs. Sabotage Essay


Terrorism and  Sabotage  are  both  forceful actions that threaten to endanger either   human life, property or both elements. They are both undertakings that are based on  agendas that  Their perpetrator(s)  wants to negotiate and achieve. The tactics used to achieve this end is usually in the form of a threat, the commission of a criminal act against  life and property  or a  total refusal  to render or perform efficiently.  Both Terrorism and Sabotage are  acts that  are usually done by  less powerful entities  in order to gain the attention and reluctant agreement  of  their respective targets that may range  from a  prominent  personality  who have large scale businesses  to  prominent country leaders or entities that have what the chief perpetrators want.  At first glance, These two Acts look to be identical in substance, scope and theory. However upon closer scrutiny, one could discern that these two concepts are indeed strikingly different from one another. In General Comparison, Terrorism is  an act that is used by unscrupulous and ruthless people to carry out their goal. Sabotage on the other hand, although also a crime (i.e extortion) is a more acceptable method of getting concessions and it should also be taken into consideration that when it is  legally done (i.e company union strikes), it is indicative of  a genuine concern to improve socio-political standards in most cases. Terrorism  is also more politically inclined or motivated because most if not all concessions that Terrorists  are seeking to make are things that only prominent people or entities can provide, While Sabotage is more concerned with socio-economic  manipulations. In addition to this, Terrorism and Sabotage are different in terms of the following elements:  The agenda or motive of the activity, The targeted subject(s), the means employed by the perpetrators to execute their plans, and the organization/affiliation of the party carrying out the deed.

II. The Elements that differentiate  Sabotage  from Terrorism

The first criteria, the Agenda or motive is an indicator that could help identify and distinguish Terrorism from Sabotage.  Terrorists, in  general,   issue  threats to  demand for  concessions from the target They selected. The  Concessions that  terrorists demand from their primary targets are  usually but not limited to the following: An outrageously  huge sum of money, the release of a political prisoner, a demand for a group of people to leave a  certain territory,  other special favors that are usually  very unreasonable, or simply just terrorizing for the sake of spreading mayhem. Saboteurs on the other hand have a  less demanding scope of agendas that they want to fulfill. The demands underlying an illegal sabotage is often directed to either extort something from their target by threatening financial ruin or possible loss of property. Legal sabotage is directed towards  alleviation or change of domestic concerns involving socio-economical policies rather than national or international ones, like the demand for increase in wages, implementation or boycotting of a bill, and other socio-economic concerns that potential saboteurs feel strongly about. It should be noted that   sabotage, in general,  is either  staged  to extort something  or committed to  address  legal domestic concerns. It is also a last resort being used internationally to get reforms but only up to a certain extent and is in  deep contrast in comparison to the usage of Terrorism.

The second criteria, the determination of the Target also speaks volumes in distinguishing Terrorism from Sabotage.  It should be noted that Terrorists usually make targets out of  existing  governments,  their agencies,  prominent people and the innocent citizenry of the country or countries  that have jurisdiction over  the things or concessions  that they want to obtain. Saboteurs, on the other hand, would  have the same targets, except for the general public. This is because Saboteurs  only want to resolve their issues with the entity that could deliver  the desired results  to them. They are aware that the General Public does not hold the key to make their goals succeed. Hence saboteurs  do not make a mistake of directly including  them on their  target listings.

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The third variable that should be considered in distinguishing Terrorism from Sabotage is the manner or means employed by the perpetrators in carrying out their respective undertakings. Terrorists always carry out their plan in a  premeditated manner. Terrorism is obviously an act that requires  a well-orchestrated plan to succeed, because the acts that terrorist do often involves things that are of the illegal nature. Since things that they do are highly watched by authorities, they would  definitely need a nearly perfected stratagem to soundly execute and deliver. In addition to the element of premeditation, Terroristic  acts often results to extreme brutality and is totally inhuman in nature most of the time.  Terrorists make threats to either kill a hostage by beheading him, flaying him alive, bombing a place, and  doing other despicable things when their demands are ignored and are generally known to include innocent people who are not involved in any capacity into their  despicable acts. The main reason for this behavior is their sense of urgency   in  gaining the immediate attention of their main target, to show them that they mean business.  These criminal acts are not unheard of especially if we refer to Terroristic activities worldwide.  A Saboteur, on the other hand seem more “human” in carrying out their action, because of a more civilized way of dealing with their targets. This is because they tend to only legally (i.e strikes) or illegally (i.e extortion) disrupt an operation or undertaking rather than cause death or mass destruction of property.  Sabotage in contrast to Terrorism, are acts carried out against their targets which may or may not contain the element of premeditation. This is because  of the possibility that sabotage may have been committed on a whim or an immediate desire to get revenge. For instance, an  employee may commit  an act of sabotage by   infecting  his Employer’s computer system with a  virus because of  a recently concluded argument with his employer   about any work place issue.  This is a classic example of  an act of sabotage caused by a sudden impulse to get even with the system that is enacted and owned  by their  adversary. In addition to the possible lack of premeditation on the part of the saboteur, It should also be noted that sabotage is generally carried out by either rendering a process or machinery impotent by destroying it physically, or by making it useless by  totally refusing to perform or execute a duty that is designated to the perpetrator(s) by his superior(s). Another point that could be taken into consideration  is that the loss of life whenever a saboteur makes his move is merely incidental to the  undertaking that was carried out by the perpetrator and is not planned deliberately by the saboteur himself. Sabotage is an act that deals damage to a property or enterprise, and is rarely a cause of  the destruction of human life. Terrorism, on the other hand  is clearly premeditated and employs the usage of any unscrupulous means that may likely lead to the mass destruction of life and property in order  to achieve their unholy goals.

The fourth and last factor to consider would be the affiliation or group of the perpetrator(s) committing the act. Terrorists are usually members of  internationally infamous criminal organizations and are  listed among the most wanted people worldwide.  Saboteurs, on the other hand are usually ordinary people, who are seeking  to make reforms or change in the economical, socio-political  issues and policies that concern them. It should also be noted that all forms of terrorism are declared illegal both by domestic and international laws and is abhorred by people from all walks of  life. Sabotage, on the other hand may either be legal or illegal depending on the means used by its perpetrators. An example of  legal sabotage would be company strikes, and boycotts . Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that a saboteur or group of saboteurs may be declared as terrorists by either the Government that has direct jurisdiction over them or by  the United Nations.  Hence being declared as a terrorist is also totally dependent on the perspective of the Government and the United Nations.

II. Consideration of  the effort  needed to  enforce preventive measures

As of the present times both Terrorism and Sabotage would take considerable effort to prevent. However, it could be argued that our  Country is more capable of preventing  a Terrorist attack to occur than  sabotage. This is because  the Government nowadays, have sufficient information that could bolster their plan to prevent a terrorist attack. They are now well aware of the possible stratagems that  may be utilized by Terrorists to get the results that they want. The Government has enacted all known preventive measures from capable security personnel to state of the art equipment,  to counter the threat of Terrorism effectively. This measure enforced by the government  is more than sufficient to put the threat of Terrorism to a standstill until such a time when a new unheard of plan devised by these criminals would crop up and catch the Government unawares. In addition to this the Government also requested civilians to be vigilant and suspicious of any peculiar activity  whenever they are in a place full of people, hence the possibility that a terrorist attack may ensue is drastically reduced. Sabotage in contrast, is  harder to prepare for because as discussed previously, some if not most of the acts done by Saboteurs are unplanned, and therefore harder to anticipate or counter.  Another  thing worth considering is the fact that almost  any person within the country could be potential saboteurs, therefore making Government attempts to stop sabotage attempts doubly hard.

 III. The Level of Public Awareness and concern.

In terms of public awareness, it is a fact that  Sabotage is a thing that is seldom thought about by the General public in contrast to the threat of Terrorism. This is because the act of committing  sabotage is not an act  that is directed to the regular citizen. This is an act, that is for all intents and purposes directed only to people in authority or organizations that control a certain market or political niche.  Saboteurs do their thing to gain something in return aside from actual personal satisfaction. Therefore,  If the act of sabotage would be directed at people who are regular citizens of a country,  The only thing that could take place would be best described by the “High risk, low reward” paradigm. A Saboteur  would be at a  totally disadvantageous position if he were to do this  because he gains nothing (not unless, it is revenge that he is after) of  value that would help him improve his socio-economic  condition, in addition to gaining the animosity of the general public  as well as a possible punitive action that may be imposed on him legally by the government and his potential target. This is the main line of thinking prevalent among the general public. The general  population seldom thinks about  sabotage because they know  that  as a whole,  they do not  possess anything that would make the life of the saboteur  better than it currently is. The public knows that they have more to lose in  terrorist attacks than sabotage attacks because unlike sabotage plots who do not directly target the public,  terrorists  consider the general population  as viable targets to be exploited.

IV. Current state of Security of Shady Oaks city against Terrorist attack and Sabotage

With regards to the current state of security of Shady Oaks city, I submit my view that it is more likely to suffer a sabotage attack than a terrorist attack because, as I have explained earlier, our Government has laid out sufficient countermeasures to prevent  most terroristic actions from taking place. The city is more likely to encounter a case of sabotage from virtually any  individual in the city. This is because sabotage is an act that most of our citizenry can do through legal and illegal means. Due to the fact that virtually anyone could be a saboteur, the Government cannot immediately implement an immediate countermeasure to prevent illegal methods of sabotage from taking place. Therefore I maintain my opinion that it is easier at the present, to prevent terrorism than to prevent sabotage from taking place.


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