Fast Focus: Will you change your behavior because of the Boston bombings? Be aware and live life

April 28, 2013 

In short, no I won't change my behavior at all.

I've been lucky to have lived all over the world both as a child and as an adult. My father served in the Navy for 20 years and took our family all over the world during that time in the 60s and 70s. In Sicily, we were warned about the Mafia. In Puerto Rico, there were the bad areas of San Juan near Roosevelt Road. When my dad retired, he took a contractor job with Bendix where he worked at the Communications Station at Europe's southernmost listening post in Bad Aibling just 60 kilometers south of Munich. At the time, I was a 15 year-old 9th grader attending the Department of Defense Munich American High School.

Life is different overseas and in Europe especially. In Munich, we had the left-wing militant group, Baader Meinhof Gang, later known at the Red Army Faction. I can remember vividly sitting with school friends a couple of beer tents away from the bomb blast at the main entrance of the Munich Oktoberfest in the late evening in September 1980. Thirteen people died and hundreds were injured that night. Then add to that the crisis in 1983 when Russia claimed that the U.S. had launched a nuclear missile. The base personnel were on pins and needles and tense just doesn't describe the atmosphere that week. It all ended as a false alarm, but the evacuation drills my family participated in were very real.

However, even with these experiences and after watching the dramatic and often overplayed footage of the Boston bombings and the eventual capture of the remaining suspect, I don't think I will change anything about my behavior. Why? Because I grew up knowing that bad things do happen. And when it comes to someone wanting to blow you up, or take down a building, there is only so much we as people can do to mitigate it.

I grew up with a sense of knowing who was around me at all times. I knew where I was going and I was taught to always raise a concern if I saw something unusual or out of place. It was a way of life for many of us living and working overseas.

After school, I ended up working as a public affairs specialist for the European headquarters of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES-Europe). AAFES-Europe ran the PX and BX operations for 11 countries within Europe. AAFES-Europe provided the "home away from home" products and services to military members and their families. We were there during the Kuwait invasion providing these services and products, and we were there for all Desert Storm engagements, and during the Bosnian-Serbian war setting up distribution warehouses to receive the goods that eventually would be sent to base camps.

Americans need to realize that we can be a target as easily as those over in Europe and elsewhere. For too long, Americans have lived their lives reading and watching about terrorism and mayhem thinking that it will never happen here. Well, it has and it will continue. The best thing we can do as citizens is to be aware and to make a habit of reporting things our guts tell us is wrong or not right.

The one thing I learned well while living overseas was that you cannot let fear rule your life. That is what terrorists want from you. You can thwart them by living your life to the fullest while also being fully aware of your surroundings and not afraid to report something you find suspicious. You may even be the one who ends up saving lives by doing so.

-- DEANNA HAWKINS, Richland

Extrapolating the problem

Yes, in one small way, indirectly.

Sorry, I don't participate in the "think globally, act locally" game. It's a scam. It's a ruse.

It's a sick attempt at political projection, to attempt to suck in people across the country who have absolutely no connection to a single, isolated local event (local to Boston).

Yes, it's a tragic event, but I am not in any way affected by it. It's someone else's tragedy, not mine.

I'm not foolish enough to make myself a co-target at a mass, unarmed and defenseless victims rally in a large city. This sort of thing happens in big cities, and there's nothing I need in a big city -- especially not to go prop up my ego by pretending to be relevant to some giant public event.

I do not need to be part of the Glom to have a life.

Now, for the "one indirect way."

I have canceled travel plans, not because of fear of being attacked by terrorists, but by understanding that people across the country, especially police, are out of their minds with suspicion and knee-jerk reactions to an event that has nothing to do with them.

It's inexcusable, for example, for the Richland Police Department to have blown up a package containing printer repair parts on the same day as the event in Boston. Absolutely no connection, except the one that someone wanted to invent to attempt to be relevant, important and feel like part of the "in group."

I've canceled travel for now because until the baseless hysteria dies down, I refuse to be stuck away from home because some idiot decided, for no reason, that I "look suspicious" with an out-of-state license plate, or, not being dressed in a manner they personally like. (See news story this week where cops falsely arrested a man for wearing camo, and no other valid reason.)

I'll stay home and not spend any money.

-- DAVE CAMPBELL, Richland

Government part of problem

Absolutely our behavior should change. It is apparent our government cannot provide us with the necessary protection. Unchecked immigration and poorly managed naturalization policies provide an open door to those who desire to do us harm. The attitude that every "moon worshiping" religion is a peaceful and moderate in their life's approach, goes against the very book they profess as gospel.

Should we be looking over our shoulder as to who boarded the bus behind us, who placed the briefcase next to the crowded building, and who speaks out of both sides of their mouth? In a word, yes!

If we think our government is going to protect us, think again. Liberal policies of the government is a significant part of the problem. Prevailing liberal policies continue to give them money for homes, apartments, education, child rearing and anything else they might ask just as long as they remember who to vote for. Terrorists are laughing all the way to the bank.

-- DAVE LEE, Kennewick

The fear or terrorism

No! And why should it? How many Americans within the country have been killed or wounded due to that feared word "terrorist"?

A thousand times more are killed or maimed in the work place every year in this country and has that changed your behavior? Or that of your government? Not one iota!

You're much more likely to be struck by lighting than a terrorist.

So, let me ask you a question.

How has letting one 19-year-old idiot and a few police be allowed to completely shut down a major American city changed your behavior or thinking?

You haven't even thought about that have you?

To those that care for their country and their civil rights, it is indicative that something is dreadfully wrong with how the U.S. government handles terrorism and its citizens. Ever since 9/11 the government has exploited the resulting fear to increase its own power and decrease everyone else's rights, including privacy. That's what should be changing your attitude. That's where the real danger to the country and our Constitution is!

-- D. CLARKE, Richland

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