To envisage experiences as being both distinctive and diverse is an attempt to focus on two defining characteristics that illuminate the unique position of victims of terrorism. On the one hand, it is argued that victims’ experiences are sometimes similar yet fundamentally distinct from the experiences of victims of other violent crimes. Distinctiveness, on this account, rests on the premise that the political motivation, which invariably distinguishes motivation for acts of terrorist violence from the motivation for other violent crimes, necessarily distinguishes the experiences of victims of terrorism from victims of violent crime more generally. This is not to argue that all acts of terrorism are motivated solely by a political agenda, but it is to adopt an explanation and definition of terrorism that places central importance on politics with regard to motivation (English, 2009:48–55). Nor is it to ignore the fact that violent criminals with no political agenda will sometimes resort to the same tactics and thereby inflict the same kind of injuries on their victims as their political counterparts. Still less is it to suggest that victims of terrorism experience the political component in the violent act which harmed them in exactly the same way as it was envisaged and intended by the perpetrators of the violence. To the contrary, it is to acknowledge that victims of terrorism will generally experience politics in ways that run counter to the aims of the terrorists.
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