Terrorism has been a buzzword for people in the media and the government ever since the infamous September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. According to Merriam-Webster, a terrorist is defined as “an advocate or practitioner of terrorism as a means of coercion.” This can be pretty broad but in today’s world, but everyone seems to know what a terrorist is, as many people have seen them on the news networks or, unfortunately, experienced their damage through the awful acts they execute.
A lot of the time, when terrorists are seen on the news, it is because their plots have been successful and have managed to injure or kill innocent people. However, sometimes, the terrorists’ plans don’t always pull through, and they are busted prior to the act being committed or are foiled by their own incompetence. Either way, terrorist groups have been a recurring problem, not just in the United States but in the entirety of the world for most of modern history. Luckily for innocent people, sometimes, terrorist plots are thwarted or fail, and below are ten examples of just that.
10Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Christmas is usually filled with joy and merry wishes, but Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was looking to make Christmas Day in 2009 a dark and violent day to be remembered in history. Abdulmutallab became known as the Underwear Bomber when he attempted to smuggle a bomb onto a commercial airliner in, you guessed it, his underwear. On this almost fateful December 25, Abdulmutallab was able to successfully get through security and board a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with the homemade explosive securely on his person. Fortunately for everyone on the flight, when he attempted to detonate the device as the plane was descending, it malfunctioned. There was a much smaller explosion, which some onboard said sounded like a small firecracker, and Abdulmutallab himself caught on fire from the device in his pants.
He was immediately detained by Good Samaritans on the flight, who put out the fire he had caused and escorted him up to the first-class section, where he was restrained until they could land and he could be taken into proper custody. After an investigation, it was uncovered that he was a part of an Al-Qaeda plot stemming from Yemen. Abdulmutallab was ultimately sentenced to life in prison after he changed his plea from innocent to guilty.
Although terrorists seem to be prevalent in today’s society, terrorism certainly did not start in recent times and has been around for centuries. An earlier example is that of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in which several men attempted to blow up the House of Lords in London on November 5, 1605. The king was present for the State Opening, along with many members of Parliament, making this a plot to assassinate the king and many of his high-ranking constituents. The plan was thwarted due to an anonymous letter sent to Lord Monteagle, pleading with him to not go to the State Opening. Unsure whether the letter was valid or not, the building was searched on November 4 for any unusual items. Sure enough, while searching the cellar at midnight, a man named Guy (or Guido) Fawkes was found with barrels of gunpowder.
After the plot was foiled, Fawkes and the surviving conspirators were sentenced to death for treason and subsequently executed by hanging, drawing, and quartering on January 30 and 31, 1606. To deter future terrorist behavior, the limbs and decapitated heads of the traitors were posted around the city.