After talking with my penpal about terrorism and some of the topics we have covered in class, I asked him to give me his own definition of terrorism. Below is his response:

i think that terrorism is an over-used term.  since 9/11 so much has been redefined as “terrorism.”  hate crimes, the final actions of a disenfranchised individual (going postal so to say…the gunman at Fort Hood), and partaking in actions seen as “unAmerican” (taking interest in Islam/traveling to Muslim countries, wanting to own guns or blow stuff up in your back yard, questioning the president…) are now labeled as domestic terrorism.  i think that at its core terrorism is about trying to force one’s ideology upon others through violent means (as opposed to free choice).  this occurs on the individual level as well as the governmental level through tyranny, police states, etc…
the “west” has become a conglomerate of fear-mongering nations and so they are scared of everything, thus everything that scares them (read anything that may disrupt their daily lives/protective bubble) is deemed an act of terrorism.