The Boston Marathon bombers have brought a number of important assumptions into the national dialogue concerning the character of domestic terrorism. Unfortunately, the conversation has too often been filled with myths and misconceptions regarding the who, what, where, and why of terrorist activity in the United States. Four of these myths have been especially prominent:

MYTH 1: Terrorist attacks have increased dramatically since Sept 11, 2001 — so much so that we have reached a higher plateau where terrorism is the “new normal.”

Actually, just the opposite is true. We haven’t experienced such a low level of political terrorism in decades. The number of terrorist incidents in the United States, by the year 2007, was down to eleven. By contrast, there were many more incidents before the 9/11 attack on America — for example, 120 in the year 1975, 43 in 1982, and 48 in 1992.