As many Americans are left wondering how an act as terrible as Tuesday’s could possibly happen in the United States, scholars and politicians alike struggle to make sense of the chaos, and determine the true level of security of American citizens.
Terrorism is not a new phenomenon in the United States, unfortunately, and some experts suggest that America has grown more vulnerable to terrorist attacks in recent years.
“We live in a technologically controlled society,” said Stanley Schultz, UW history professor and expert on the vulnerability of American cities. “We’ve never been as vulnerable before as we are now.”
Schultz said because American cities are largely controlled by computer networks, a more technologically advanced attack could potentially cripple the country more significantly than Tuesday’s plane hijackings.
Here is a brief timeline of domestic terrorism in the United States (compiled in part by Studyworld.com):
1950 — One Washington, D.C., police officer is killed in an assassination attempt on President Harry Truman. A Puerto Rican nationalist group claims responsibility.
1954 — March 1; Five members of Congress are wounded by gunfire in the chamber of the House of Representatives.
1971 — March 1; No one is injured when a bomb detonates in the U.S. Capitol Building. The responsible party is not identified.
1972 — Four are killed in a bombing of Fraunces Tavern in New York City.
1975 — 11 people are killed and an additional 75 are wounded in a bombing at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Croatian nationalists claim responsibility.
1976 — Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the United States, is killed by car bomb in Washington, D.C. One associate is killed and another injured.
1981 — One person is killed in a bombing at Kennedy Airport in New York City. A group called Puerto Rican Armed Resistance claims responsibility.
1983 — A bomb is detonated in the U.S. Senate chamber in Washington, D.C.
1993 — Feb. 26; Six are killed and more than 1,000 are injured when a car bomb explodes in the World Trade Center in New York.
1995 — April 9; 168 people are killed and hundreds more are injured when a fertilizer bomb explodes in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla.; Timothy McVeigh is convicted of the bombing and executed on June 11, 2001.
1996 — One person is killed by a blast in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia. A cameraman also dies of cardiac arrest. Over 100 more are injured.
1997 — Seven people are injured when two bombs explode in an abortion clinic in an Atlanta suburb.
2001 — Sept. 11; Thousands are feared dead, and an unknown number are injured or missing after terrorists crash hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, fully collapsing both World Trade Center towers and a portion of the Pentagon. A fourth airplane reportedly crashes in Somerset, Penn.