I recently published a piece on the terrorist attacks in Oslo, Norway, which killed 76 people. Similar to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building bombing in Oklahoma in 1995, after the attacks in Oslo, many believed it was the work of Islamist terrorists. As we are finding out, however, that was not the case.
If you were to stop someone one on the street and ask them for a description of a terrorist, what do you think they would say?
Most people might give you a description of an olive-skinned man with some facial hair, probably in his early to mid-20s and having some type of accent. In short, they might give you a description of any one of the 19 hijackers from the 9/11 attacks of nearly 10 years ago.
Now if you were to ask someone where an act of terror might occur, they could easily say New York, London, Jerusalem, Beirut, or Washington, D.C. None of those cities would be a great stretch of the imagination. Each has had horrifically memorable acts occur there.
As creatures and consumers of the mass media, our default position is often aligned with what we see and hear there, reinforced by examples of what we have absorbed before.
And then there is the horrific tragedy in Oslo.
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