The Boston Marathon bombers have brought a number of impor­tant assump­tions into the national dia­logue con­cerning the char­acter of domestic ter­rorism. Unfor­tu­nately, the con­ver­sa­tion has too often been filled with myths and mis­con­cep­tions regarding the who, what, where, and why of ter­rorist activity in the United States. Four of these myths have been espe­cially prominent:

MYTH 1: Ter­rorist attacks have increased dra­mat­i­cally since Sept 11, 2001 — so much so that we have reached a higher plateau where ter­rorism is the “new normal.”

Actu­ally, just the oppo­site is true. We haven’t expe­ri­enced such a low level of polit­ical ter­rorism in decades. The number of ter­rorist inci­dents in the United States, by the year 2007, was down to eleven. By con­trast, there were many more inci­dents before the 9/​11 attack on America — for example, 120 in the year 1975, 43 in 1982, and 48 in 1992.

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