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KNOXVILLE – A military historian at the University of Tennessee says the recent terror acts in the United States have awakened the public to the dangers of terrorism.

“This has been a very shocking attack,” said Dr. Kurt Piehler, who heads UT’s Center for the Study of War and Society. “Even counting the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War, September 11, 2001 is probably one of the bloodiest days in American history, in terms of lives lost.”

But Piehler says the US is no stranger to terrorism.

“What makes this distinct is the sheer audacity of the attackers and their success, but terrorism is a very old pattern in the US during the 20th century,” Piehler said, citing the attempted assassination of President Harry S Truman in 1950 by Puerto Rican nationalists, as well as the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

Piehler says citizens and their local and state governments need to revisit their preparations for protecting public safety.

“We really need to consider how much we’re willing to spend on public safety,” Piehler said. “While I think there are warlike elements to this attack, it’s also a criminal act, and a lot of the counter-terrorism efforts will be preventive measures at public events and public buildings that thwart criminal actions.”