By terrorism people usually mean acts of horror and severe violence that are performed in the name of particular religion, religious character or some organization. Sometimes terror attacks can be a form protest against ideology. Acts of terror are carried out in the form of bombing, shootings, driving trucks into crowds of people, mass poisoning, hijacking planes and crashing them, and other types of mass murders. The part of the word ‘terrorism’ – ‘terror’ is speaking for itself, so major goals of the terrorists are intimidation and fear, and achieving of a particular social, economic or political objective through threats and fear. Characteristic feature of terrorism is that it is carried out in pursue of a definite goal or a motive, but it is not necessarily about mass deaths. Groups and sole terrorists should not be mixed up with those who are not the terrorists, for example, an individual or a group that attack their victims for getting money or a vehicle from them could hardly pursue some religious or ideological goal, thus they can’t be considered terrorists. The factor of the act being heartbreaking and devastating also can’t be called as a feature of terror attack, as both crashing a plane on purpose (act of terror) or mass shooting at school/at work/in a shop etc. (personal / non-political / non-ideological reasons), airplane crashes (technical reasons) and serial killings (by a maniac or a serial killer) etc. are devastating, heartbreaking and horrifying. Acts of terror don’t demand lots of people killed in the action, but they are more concerned about intimidation, getting their ‘message’ through and demanding attention to a specific matter or organization. Terrorism is very hard to define in one specific way, and lots of factors and indirect pieces of evidence should be considered before labeling an act as a terrorist one (even if some terrorist organization claimed its liability for the act).
Specifically speaking, a non-terrorist act, is an act of violence that was driven by personal or psychological reasons, without having any ideological or political issues or messages; additionally non-terrorist acts are the most cases in the Criminal Code, for example, serial killings, attacks on individuals or organizations with particular deceptive motives like getting money, vehicles etc. from the victims. Massive drug production is generally not an considered as terrorism, though drug cartels could cross the line between penal action and an act of terror when they are at war with each other or with the state, so sometimes actions of drug cartels are regarded as terrorism, though it’s an unconventional type of terror.
To conclude, the line between terror and non-terror act is vague and each separate case demands thorough examination before relating it to either terror or non-terror deed.