Conventional Weapons in Terrorism

Conventional Weapons in Terrorism

Terrorism is now more frequently heard of as opposed to several years back where incidents of terror were reported after a substantial period of time. Terrorists often use force to drive their agendas. In all cases they do not threaten people in order to get leverage but rather to prove or make a point known. They always use weapons to achieve their goals. The weapons are inclusive of but not limited to; small arms, automatic or semi-automatic firearms and grenades to wreak havoc, cause mass causalities, make assassinations successful or simply to aid in kidnaping.  Rarely do terrorists as for money in kidnaping scenarios, they often ask for things that could compromise the security of a building with high traffic of people or government security properties. Terrorists are always determined to destroy as much property as they can in one strike and also achieve the biggest possible number of people’s death. Mostly they target innocent people to get the attention of the government. 

The use of small arms in most cases is for small terror attacks like kidnappings and achieving hostage situations. However, terrorists are the type of people to blow up a whole building in order to kill one person. This is mass destruction or the mass casualty scenario. Terrorists in many cases are the radicalized members of the society who believe that justice cannot be negotiated but rather taken by force. The continued use of conventional weapons by terrorists does not mean that they cannot use other types of weapons such as the biological weapons. Terrorist have been known to make weapons out of things like planes which was the sole cause of mass destruction in the 9/11 attack. Conventional weapons like automatic fire arms are usually used to shoot indiscriminately into crowds. The terrorists often stick to using conventional weapons because of the complexity of orchestrating attacks using other types of weapons. For instance, the use of biological weapons has not succeeded for a long time due to the fact that most of the masterminds are taken out before the plan of the attack is completed (Oswald, 2013). The travel restrictions the heightened security checks in all points of entries in most countries makes it harder for terrorists to achieve their goals. 

Terrorists have also been facing challenges in executing their desire to launch biological weapons because the governments of the world took measure to ensure that any weapon making components are restricted in distribution (Oswald, 2013). Terrorists have thus resorted to using weapons that are readily available and raise little or no suspicion prior to an attack. There is a real challenge in dealing with the use of these weapons that can be used to execute attacks. This is because buying guns is not restricted with the licencing provisions that the same time, terrorists do not fear being known to have conducted an attack. Terrorists often ensure that everything they do counts, this means that even a shooting in public places is often timed to take place when the place is filled with people to achieve maximum impact. Being a terrorist is often a calling, as they say, whereby the needs and desires of the terrorist group override the individual needs.

Terrorism is often aimed at creating tension and a sense of chaos in the society. This means that when the terrorists use the conventional weapons and threaten to use the non-conventional weapons, people get scared. The creation of the tension and panic in the society is also a means of terrorists achieving their goals. This is mostly possible when their demands are tied to a certain government which may be invading the space where the terrorists consider their territory. There are also instances where the terrorists attack innocent civilians for reasons that they cannot really explain. These are cases like mass shooting going on in the places like chances. These incidences often result in medical emergencies and incidences coming to pass (Stein & Hirshberg, 1999). The casualties and the relatives are usually left traumatized and in states of shock.

Terrorism is an act of causing fear and creating tension in people by use of weapons or threats to use weapons to destroy lives and property. The use of conventional weapons also makes it harder to predict where the next attack will be executed and even if the location is known, it is difficult to point out who the assailants are (Oswald, 2013). This means that in the event that terrorists plan an attack, it is impossible to stop it and prevent deaths. Sometimes, event after their demands are met, they still attack as a way of showing that they cannot be controlled. Terrorists rarely fail to get their hands on conventional and unconventional weapons because of the existence of underground markets where all illegal items are sold. When it comes to the use of the weapons, the most extreme conventional weapon that has been used in many instances is the grenade. This is mainly due to its size, portability and ease of use (Singh, 2014). The unconventional weapons still present a challenge in usage because of the difficulty of transportation to the target area of attack. Therefore, terrorists are likely to continue using conventional weapons in their attacks until they can device a means of using the unconventional weapons successfully.


Oswald, R. (2013, April 17). Retrieved from Despite WMD Fears, Terrorists Still Focused on Conventional attacks:

Singh, C. J. (2014, July 24). Geosptaial World. Retrieved from Weapons of Terror: www.geospatialworld.nt/article/weapons-of-terror/

Stein , M., & Hirshberg, A. (1999). Medical Consequences of Terorism: The Convetonal Weapon Threat. Surgical Clinics of North America, 1537-1552.

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