In many of our definitions of terrorism, fear and the spread of fear takes a major role.  While I believe that fear, terror if you will, is a key element to the definition of terrorism, I think that other aspects of the definition are just as important.  What would distinguish a bully, a director of a horror film and other such normal people from the extremism of a terrorist using terrorist tactics?  I guess a better question could be: Are all people that employ terroristic tactics terrorists?  Do all terrorists use terroristic tactics?  I believe that in order to be a terrorist you must employ terrorism as a tactic.  My definition of terrorism must include violence in some form or another, but I think this question is relevant for all forms of terrorism.  So if you are a terrorist, you employ terrorism as a tactic but is the implication true in the other direction?  For a strong definition on terrorism and terrorists I think that it should hold true.  For some extremely broad definitions of terrorism this isn’t the case.  For example “Any action that leverages fear to serve one’s own purposes” (  While this post goes on to explain that this isn’t a useful definition in the “political arena”, I would also say it also isn’t too useful in the everyday life either.  Another post that I really liked because it gets to an important point is but I also think that we shouldn’t give up so easily.  In science, we never find or know the exact explanation for a phenomenon.  In fact, our greatest findings are often horribly inaccurate approximations but they reveal something important that IS true.  And it is the process of putting these things together and finding the truths of our models that allows us to forward our understandings of the universe.  Sure, fear is an important part of terrorism; What else is important because it is clear that fear is not the only differentiator as I would not say that a bully is a terrorist regardless of any definition.  My penpal helped contribute to this understanding and one important point he had on this subject is: “You must remember, people define words.  You control them and you change so they must change to fit your needs.”  I thought this was insightful because it shows that the definition of terrorism changes over time and we can’t let the complexity of terrorism overwhelm our attempts to understand and accurately define it.