A threat issued by one party is an intention, whether written or spoken, to cause harm to the threatened party. The party making such statements or sending such signals of harm clearly intends to cause harm to the party receiving the threat. Obviously, he must harbor ill will toward the other party or body in order to resort to such intimidation. The goal of a threat is to make the threatened party comply with some action or request, or else unfavorable outcomes may occur. A simple threat from person A to person B, for example, could be: “I will beat you up.” He may also threaten you by saying, “I will beat you if you do not give me your money.”
Threats can take many forms. In its most basic form, a bully may threaten to beat up a young boy. It could also take the form of one nation threatening another. Because of its military might, a powerful country can pose a threat to other countries. If the other country does not agree to its demands, it may be invaded. Countries that control valuable resources, such as water, may threaten to cut off supplies to other countries that rely on them if their political demands are not met.
When processing emotional stimuli are prioritized over task performance, it typically has a negative impact on task performance. One widely accepted explanation is that emotional stimuli consume brain resources, diverting them away from task execution. Viewing unpleasant stimuli also causes defensive reactions, which may account for at least some of the emotional modulation observed in various reaction time (RT) paradigms.
Threats can come in the form of letters, phone calls, or emails, as well as via the Internet. Terrorists or gangsters have been known to broadcast live threats over radio or television, threatening to blow up a bank or kill hostages.
A threater will cause mental stress and duress for the victim in addition to inflicting bodily harm. Terrorists may threaten governments with the detonation of bombs in public places if they do not meet their demands. Threats are sometimes used by superpowers. During the 1960s Cold War, the United States and Russia competed for military and political supremacy. When Russia, under Khruschev, installed missiles in the Bay of Pigs in Cuba that could be aimed at the United States, President Kennedy responded with threats of his own. Either the missiles were removed or Russia would face harsh repercussions. In the face of such a severe threat, Russia complied.
With the advancement of technology and communication, the world is becoming more vulnerable to more insidious threats on a larger scale. Surfing the Internet can help criminals learn how to make bombs. More poisonous chemicals and gases can be used by unstable elements to endanger a city’s water supply or transportation network.
Threats to kill people on trains or planes have been received in recent years. There was a case of a man who poisoned some famous brand snacks and threatened people. The poor company had to not only comply with his demands but also remove all items of the specific brand. It came at a high financial cost. Such is the power of a few individuals today who can hold mighty bodies hostage. It is no longer just a case of kidnappers threatening to kill someone if their ransom demands are not met.
It is not for us to decide who is at fault in the case of two parties involved in a personal dispute, especially if we do not know the facts. However, if one party issues a threat to the other, the former is breaking the law. Threats go against the grain of a well-ordered society. Threats are unpleasant, cause harm, and should be dealt with firmly by all parties involved.