Virginia Tech experts discuss ISIS, terror following Manchester attack

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Experts at Virginia Tech who study violence and terrorism are discussing if there could be more attacks like the one in Manchester in the future.

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The professors said extremists use violence, like what happened in Manchester, to handle grief against the Western World. So they use tactics that are easily deployed and nearly impossible to prevent.

By attacking a concert with kids in it, the terrorists look for a retaliation, because it's one of the more vile things that can be done. The experts say ISIS wants a war.

James Hawdon is a sociology professor at Virginia Tech. He has expertise in violence and responding to it. He said we in America need to stand united with our allies against terrorist groups like ISIS, now. Also, we may change our security protocols, as this attack happened at T-shirt and memorabilia stands right outside the security perimeter.

"Whether or not we extend that perimeter, whether we try to move that inside the security perimeter, but of course as soon as you do that, that raises a whole plethora of other security concerns. Is it just t-shirts in their boxes now?" Hawdon said.

Priya Dixit is a terrorism expert at Virginia Tech. She said the attack could be because ISIS is losing territory, financing, and recruits.

"This attack might partly be a reaction to all these changes and could indicate they are actually losing power, and losing authority overall," Dixit said in a statement.

Hawdon agrees there are those issues, plus ISIS is lacking framework. In addition, there are terrorists inspired by ISIS, but not actually connected, which are very dangerous.

He says it's hard to predict, but more attacks at some point are likely. However, that's not a reason for individuals to change their lives.

"We can't live our lives in fear. If we do, they're winning," Hawdon said. "There are inherent risks in life, but for the most part, we are far safer today than we were in the past."

Hawden said terrorist attacks and gang violence have been going down in recent years. Both he and Dixit discussed soft targets, which terrorists are going after.

Put simply, those are areas nearby security, or not protected by security, that will, at some point, have a very large number of people in them.