This information provided by The Federal Observer, http://www.federalobserver.com
By Doug Thompson - The Rant
John Harlan hit five hardware stores near his home in Alexandria, Virginia, this week, looking for duct tape.
"None," he said. "None nowhere."
Connie Masten couldn't find bottled water at her neighborhood grocery store and drove to two others before finding just four-gallon jugs left on the shelf. She bought all four.
"I'm scared," she admits. "Real scared."
Harlen and Masten responded this week to government warnings that Osama bin Laden's thugs will strike again, probably by the end of the week, in an attack that may include chemical weapons or possibly even a "dirty" bomb that will spread radioactivity or toxic chemicals.
Americans, Uncle Sam said, should stock up on food and water, buy duct tape to seal up windows and vents, and, if necessary, hide in their homes like frightened children.
In other words, those of us who live and work in the most powerful nation on earth should cower in our homes and live in fear of a bunch of unwashed fanatics who hide in caves and misquote Allah to justify hate and murder.
The frenzy that left grocery store shelves bare and hardware stores scrambling to stock duct tape, flashlights and batteries probably gives bin Laden and his minions a lot of reasons to smile.
In the 17 months following September 11, 2001, fear and paranoia over what bin Laden might do next has decimated the U.S. economy, turned the home of the brave and land of the free into a police state and disrupted American life.
The Pentagon deployed surface-to-air missles on hills around Washington this week. Electronic sniffers to warn of nuclear or chemical weapons have been in place for weeks.
Carl Levinson traveled to San Francisco on business recently. He took a couple of extra days to see the city and drove his rental car across the Golden Gate Bridge, stopping on the other side to get out of his car and take a picture of the bridge. Two California Highway Patrol cars screeched to a halt and officers emerged with guns drawn, demanding Levinson drop his camera and keep his hands in plain sight.
Levinson didn't see the new signs announcing that photography is now prohibited on or near the bridge, a new precaution that a CHP spokesman said was implemented because of "concerns over terrorism." After the police checked him out, they released him but kept the film from his camera.
Sallie McNaughton tried to take a picture of her sister at Washington's Union Station earlier this week when a security officer approached, demanded ID, and asked her what she thought she was doing.
"I told him we were visiting Washington and wanted a picture to remember the visit," McNaughton said. "He told me to go buy a postcard."
Drive the three-quarter-mile stretch of Virginia State Route 110 that passes the northeast side of the Pentagon and you will pass six Virginia State Police cars with lights flashing and two Humvees with machine guns manned by serious looking MPs from Fort Bragg. Don't try to stop and take a picture. You will be arrested and your camera and film confiscated, even if you try to take a photo from the public road.
I've been photographing Washington's monuments without a problem for the past 23 years. Last week, while shooting new photos of the Washington Monument, two National Park Police Officers demanded identification and ran a check on my driver's license before allowing me to continue.
As Washington heads into a new tourist season, hotel bookings are down 35 percent. Planes flying into Washington's three airports arrive with half the seats empty.
In Florida, NASCAR's premier race, the Daytona 500, usually sells out six months in advance. Good seats are still available for this Sunday's running of the event, including prime spots right above the start-finish line. Need a hotel room for the weekend in Daytona? Still lots of good rooms available.
"There is a fine line between vigilance and overreaction," says retired FBI agent and terrorism expert Johnathan Belk. "Don't bother looking for the line. We crossed it a long time ago."
Belk says a terrorist considers himself successful if he or she disrupts the lives and normal routines of their enemy.
"Take a look around you," Belk says. "Examine what happens. Is your life normal? Are your days routine? Probably not. Terrorism is based on instilling fear and terror into everyday lives. Right now, who do you think is winning this war on terror?"
© Copyright 2003 Capitol Hill Blue
Source: Capitol Hill Blue