“Real terrorism” impacts peoples daily lives, it affects their social freedoms, their families and makes communities fearful of even the most routine of activities. This may include sporting events, going to school, shopping, enjoying the outdoors with families, transport nodes or social celebrations. All of these circumstances can be found in abundance in developed countries, first world cities and ‘average neighbourhoods’. You don’t need to journey to or attack remote communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mali, Syria or Iraq in order to achieve this objective. In fact, the closer you are to locations and people more routinely covered by the news, the greater the media attention and impact any one attack will be.
Terrorism may stem from a specific group seeking political attention/change or simply one or more individuals seeking fame, revenge, satisfaction or morbid curiosity with killing multiple people. “Safe” locations, whilst supported by government and emergency services are not police states and have such resources stationed every 50 meters. This presents significant opportunity for terrorist groups, violent individuals or those seeking to injure/kill numerous people at once.
Criminals, terrorist and other violent offenders are largely lazy, taking the path of least resistance and easiest target. Yes, there are more calculated and determined individuals but they form a small minority. Easy targets for individuals and violent groups are shopping centres, cinemas, sporting events, tourist attractions, food courts, schools, transport hubs and various other locations that are used daily and have a high concentration of people at any one time.
You may have heard “soft target” and “hard target” labels used in the past. The reality is that any public and accessible location is a “soft target”, rendering the notion of hard target nothing short of a concrete room, underground, in accessible to anyone or thing. Totally impractical and unlikely a choice for those seeking to cause harm or further their cause.