Public Relations and Terrorism

Another young man strapped with explosives has flown the friendly skies and reminded us that the war on terrorism is still being fought on our own soil.

There is a public relations aspect to terrorism. Literally, extremists want to impact public perceptions and influence decision-making on a grand scale.

Think about the public relations implications of the newest attempt at terror. Why would someone pick Christmas Day? Well, it’s pretty obvious. Christmas is a Christian celebration associated with feelings of world peace and a sense of serenity. His goal was simple: Shatter the calm, introduce doubt and fear, and show the irony of the moment.

Some experts may say the act was done on a day that would have less scrutiny, lax security and unsuspecting citizens.

However, there’s a more troubling, deeper implication behind this pyrotechnical display at 30,000 feet. Terrorists are staying a few steps ahead of us with their diabolical decisions.

First, the day was chosen by the would-be warrior because we have a set of values based upon Western thinking. On Christmas, we are snuggled soundly in our beds with thoughts of sugarplums dancing in our heads. No one would really attack us on Christmas Day, would they? That seems dark and cheap — exactly.

Second, our security experts have long suggested that terrorists want to blow up planes over the ocean to hide evidence. But, they neglect to take into account one key point. The current soldier-of-terror is not concerned with being coy or sly. In fact, the exact opposite is true. In this instance, the goal was to cause as much damage as possible by blowing up a plane over a metropolitan area, on American soil, during one of the major Christian holidays.

Why didn’t our experts think of that? They may want to take a few crash courses in public relations this year.

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