Terrorism was a fringe subject in the fields of criminal justice, political science, public administration, and public policy prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Suddenly, it emerged as the most critical problem of our time. The 9/11 disaster shocked, mystified, and angered people. It awakened us to the reality of a world becoming more aware of itself and more connected than ever before and, at the same time, much more perilous. Although the shock has subsided – at least, until the next such event – much of the mystery and confusion remains. This textbook aims to demystify the event and its aftermath and provide clarity about the prospects for public interventions and private initiatives and actions that may serve to prevent further acts of terrorism.
The purpose of this text is to serve two primary audiences: undergraduate and graduate students interested in a comprehensive reference source of essential information about the nature of terrorism, its causes, and interventions that respond to terrorism and work to prevent it. For students wanting to understand terrorism and learn how to cope and deal with it, the text should thus serve as a source of useful information. For students wishing to pursue a career in antiterrorism, it should be more than useful, providing an essential foundation on which to build more specialized information about how to understand terrorists and terrorism, protect targets, improve our ability to manage fear and prevent terrorism from occurring in the first place, and minimize the damage when those efforts fail.