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Terrorism is leading global fear in area

January 06, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

TRI-STATE - Sixteen months after four U.S. jets were hijacked and crashed, terrorism continues to be the leading global fear for a pool of Tri-State residents surveyed Saturday.

Close behind were North Korea's nuclear threat and the possibility of a United States attack on Iraq.

Some respondents wouldn't label one fear as the greatest.

About 30 people were asked which situation worries them the most. Eight named terrorism, four named North Korea and three named Iraq. Four said all three.

Several didn't want to give their names and weren't counted.

"Terrorism in general because they came and attacked us in our country, out of nowhere," said Tom Kline, 17, of Rouzerville, Pa. "It just comes out of the blue and you don't know when it will come."

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"Probably the terrorism because you never know when it could happen, where it could happen," said Lucas Byers, 24, of Waynesboro.

"Terrorism," said Ron Dellinger, 60, of Martinsburg, W.Va. "Iraq's never bothered us. North Korea - they're far away. ...

"Iraq's our most progressive Mideast country. Hussein may not be a good guy, but a lot of people don't think (President) Bush is either."

Charles Wible, 30, of Hagerstown, also chose terrorism as the biggest concern.

"It seems we haven't done enough to prevent it," he said. "Security's OK, but we need to stop letting anybody in. Anybody can get into the country who wants to. ... Our country's too free to outsiders."

Robert Penwell, 54, of Waynesboro said the United States erred by not getting rid of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein more than a decade ago. Still, he considers terrorism the most important current threat.

"Korea doesn't worry me as much," he said.

Linda Stottlemyer, 31, of Inwood, W.Va., and Christine Connors, 24, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., were also uneasy about terrorism.

"All the people they've blown up," Stottlemyer said.

"Mostly because I don't feel my kids are safe - especially because I have (a 4-year-old) in school," Connors said.

"Terrorism and Iraq go hand-in-hand," said Susanne Bikle, 51, of Smithsburg. "Terrorism (is the worst fear) because it's already hit close to home. ... We all feel vulnerable."

Janet Smedley, 70, of Waynesboro, listed Iraq as her greatest concern, but because of the potential for more terrorism.

"I'm afraid if we go in there and attack, terrorists will go crazy in our country," she said. "It could be worse than 9/11."

Several people wouldn't rate one anxiety as the worst.

"All three," said Debbie, 43, of Waynesboro, who declined to give her last name.

"I guess all three of them," said Judi Cline, 53, of Libertytown in Frederick County, Md. "When you said 'world situation,' all three came to mind. Mostly the war with Iraq, because of the soldiers and their families."

"All three are upsetting to me," said Becky Blair, 45, of Hagerstown.

"I think about it all the time. To me, they're all equally a threat," said Suzanne Higashihama, 45, of Martinsburg. She added that she's pleased with President Bush's stances.

Becky Blair's husband, Greg Blair, zeroed in on North Korea's nuclear arms threat as the most ominous. "(North Korean leader) Kim Jong Il is probably insane - he's nuts - and he has nuclear capability," Greg Blair, 42, said.

Steve and Brooke Brown of Chambersburg, Pa., concurred.

"I keep hearing them on the news," Brooke Brown, 23, said about North Korea. "They sound scary."

"They're all worried about defense and not concerned about the people in their country," said Steve Brown, 22.

Despite North Korea's brash approach, "We're basically ignoring them," said Jay Murry, 48, of Waynesboro.

Some thought the most immediate - and frightening - danger for the United States is war with Iraq.

"The whole idea of going to war. I also have a son that could be drafted and that does concern me," said Lisa Mellott, 45, of Mercersburg, Pa.

"My little brother's in the Marines," said Olivia Hammond, 27, of Waynesboro.

Bill Summers, 60, of Cumberland, Md., said he's confident the United States is working to stamp out terrorism, so he's more concerned about Iraq and North Korea.

"I'm hoping the president is playing a game, pushing (Hussein) ... to get him to comply," Summers said.

It seems to be working, since United Nations inspectors have been allowed to move through Iraq and look for evidence of amassed weapons. If the strategy doesn't work, though, "I would be disappointed if we go to war," he said.

At the same time, there seems to be a double standard because the United States is paying less attention to North Korea, despite its potential nuclear weapons capabilities, Summers said.

"It's probably because their Army is four times the size," he said.

Chris Stack, 26, of Williamsport, leaned toward Iraq as the biggest problem, but couldn't say for sure. Regardless, he said, "I don't believe war is the answer."

"The resentment against the United States will increase if we start bombing Iraq," Stack said.

However the public feels about any of the issues, particularly the possible war against Iraq, he said, people should read alternative media for other views and should consider alternative fuel sources, such as solar power and hemp.

Peace, Stack said, "requires long-term vision."

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