James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Resource: START’s Global Terrorism Database

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Global Terrorism DatabaseIf you want to get a picture of the totality of terrorism around the globe, an excellent place to begin is the Global Terrorism Database (“GTD”) from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (“START”).  While the data is fairly simple and lacking in nuance for any one event, it provides a picture of the reality of terrorism without the hidden priorities of editors and news-makers.  It tends to confirm that Islamist terrorism is still a top priority, but it shakes certain ideas about the scope of non-Islamist terrorism.

Perhaps more importantly, the GTD provides a strong challenge to the idea that terrorism and counterterrorism is a war between Islam and the West.  The simple fact is that violent Islamists are murdering Muslims and attacking Muslim communities at a far higher rate than they are attacking western targets.  The West is, in large part, merely an interested bystander.

Of course, for data nerds like me, the crown jewel of the GTD is its downloadable dataset, which you can access via this link.  It is a treasure trove of information that allows you to slice and dice the data any way you like, to probe the questions you might have.  Of course, you do need some familiarity with databases to do this.  But, if you have that familiarity, the possibilities with this data are endless.


Written by JamesEJ

Monday, July 5, 2010 at 7:45 am

Posted in terrorism

Tagged with , , ,

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