Internet as the New Back Alley

We all know the connotation of a back alley. It’s a place where “things go down,” where people are murdered, crimes are organized and drugs are sold. We try to avoid using these dimly lit pathways for fear of something bad happening. These eerie streets can in a sense relate to the Internet of today. In his book, Leaderless Jihad Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century, Sageman talks about how terror is now stemming from the Internet. However, just because the radical ideas are exchanged more fluently does not mean that more people chose to act upon them.

As little children growing up with computers and the Internet, many parents advised their children to stay away from chat rooms for fear of bad situations arising. In the case of terror, these bad things we have been told of are coming to life and becoming reality. After all, it is just as easy for a terrorist to share their radical ideas on the Internet as it is for us common people to share the days highlights in a Facebook post. Just as we comment on a friends status a terrorist can say how great an idea to bomb a city is.Their conversation can virtually be carried on and plans to execute the event firm up, similarly to how we create a Facebook event and can expect people to show up to it in real life.

It is important to understand that Internet terrorism is not something to be taken lightly and deserves serious attention. Not only are websites for terrorists organizations being set up but so are blogs, forums and chat rooms where deadly plans are being established.

These types of electronic communications in some ways further radicalize terrorists.(Key Themes and Trends and Definitions section) As humans, we feel more comfortable saying something a little “out-there” if people are not gazing directly into our eyes. Basically we are not afraid of receiving that “what were you thinking when you said that” look. Because of that sense of security, many terrorists go ahead and share their ideas rather than keeping their lips sealed. However, they are just that, ideas, just because they say these absurd things does not mean that they truly considered acting upon the ideas. After all, since nobody will call their bluff they can say whatever gains popularity for them. In this sense the few who are, say gullible, enough to believe these far-fetched, radical ideas are the main ones being radicalized. It also does not matter how radical an individual is unless they act upon those beliefs, and there are surely more terrorists that “talk the talk” than those who “walk the walk.”

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