Their meaning has been lost in an age where rather than understanding the threats at hand, we shuffle shoeless through airport security while numbly noting that today we're at threat level Orange on something called the Homeland Security Advisory System.
That's what the issue has been reduced to here in the United States: a color on a placard with some bulls**t bureaucratic buzzwords strung together to form the rough shape of name, while we get herded through the song and dance of taking off our belts and emptying our pockets, a magical voodoo ritual intended to make us safer. Security Theater at its finest.
All this while sons and daughters, brothers and sisters fight and die oversees to protect us from "terrorism," while most people can't be bothered to take the time to understand it. We just shrug-today the threat level is yellow-and then shuffle forward through the next metal detector.
Here's a newsflash: the terrorists have won. Not by the grand margin of miles, or yards, or even humble feet. Instead, they have won inch-by-inch. Sneaking, creeping inches. Baby steps. Smidges. Nudges. Just the littlest bit. The thin edge of the wedge.
And they're still winning. Every day that we remain ignorant to their threat, their capabilities, their intentions, their methods, and their mindset is another day they advance their goals.
The penultimate goal of any terrorist is to create a climate of fear-which frees them to pursue whatever their ultimate political goal actually is. This is the essence of terrorism-to make others live in fear, so that they are scared enough to change their behavior. To manipulate you into changing what you do and how you live your life, to force you to live in fear. Once you live in fear, you live on their terms, and they have begun to win. To live in fear is to be beset on all sides by a battle you cannot win.
What is the source of fear? What does a terrorist derive his or her power from? The unknown.