The essence of terrorism is not that it kills people (which it does in a terrible way), but that it attacks the mental environment of people. Everybody can become a victim of terrorism, and it is very difficult to protect yourself against it. It can happen everywhere and at every moment, even there or just there where you once thought to be safe. Or at least, so it feels.
In order to try to prevent terrorist attacks, measures are taken by the state that are totalitarian in the sense that they intrude into the private lives of people and that by this they try to control the private lives of them. From the state point of view, every individual becomes a potential terrorist. By means of the salami method privacy is limited again and again and just because it is done gradually, everybody accepts it and the danger of it is not seen. Each measure against terrorism appears to have sense in itself but each measure is a step in the direction of a totalitarian control of the lives of the citizens, not purposefully but in its effect. In this indirect way, terrorism kills the mental environment of people and so a whole way of life. That’s the essence of terrorism.