The Boston Marathon bombings on April 15—two explosions less than 20 seconds apart—claimed three lives and injured more than 180 people. It was the highest toll from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
Most respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll—60 percent—say they are personally unworried about the threat of a terrorist attack. Twenty percent are not at all worried, and 40 percent are “not very worried.”
This compares with a third of respondents who are somewhat worried and 8 percent who are very worried.
In the days since the Boston Marathon attack—in which brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were identified as suspects and killed or apprehended—talk has shifted to protecting Americans.
Nearly two-thirds are opposed to more limits on their personal freedom to reduce the threat of terrorism in the U.S.
Roughly 680 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted April 22 and 23.
How worried are you personally about the threat of a terrorist attack?
Very worried: 8%
Somewhat worried: 33%
Not very worried: 40%
Not at all worried: 20%
Would you accept more limits on your personal freedom in order to reduce the threat of terrorism in the U.S.?
When we cede our constitutional rights in the face of fear, we slap the faces of the millions of people who have died so that we can have these rights and freedoms. Our current fears are emotional responses that are fueled by an overly morbid public curiosity that feeds on reports of tragedy as "entertainment.”
—Laura Weller-Brophy, PureCap Laundry LLC
Every day many more people are killed throughout our country by regular guns and assault weapons than by terrorists. As we saw, our police system, in its widest meaning, has quickly solved the Boston terrorist attack. On the other hand, the Senate in Washington has cheerfully supported the widest spread of guns and assault weapons for private use. It should be clear that the Senate is a much greater threat to our lives than terrorists.
—Ingo H. Leubner
Your chances of being injured or killed in a terrorist attack are still infinitely smaller than common causes like car accidents or violent crime. The fearmongering that the media stir up over these events not only acts as a depressing influence on the economy and people’s moods but also validates using terrorism to bring attention to issues or problems—something we should not be encouraging. Concentrate on the good in life around you. Turn off the 24-hour news cycle and consume news from vetted, written and fact-checked sources (like the RBJ, for instance). If you want to take action, take it against obesity, gun violence or some other issue that can have a direct effect on people’s safety and health.
—Lee Drake, CEO, OS-Cubed Inc.
One major incident in 12 years is hardly anything to “worry” about. Is it possible? Of course. But I’m more likely, in Rochester, to be the victim of a home invasion than a terrorist attack. Put things in perspective, people; the chance of other attacks is slim.
We cannot live in fear, or terrorists have won. Just be careful and keep your eyes open. Life must go on. Something we just do not have control of: "Sick" people are everywhere, and we do not know what they will do next.
—Harold H. Ley, Appliance Associates of Buffalo
Dramatic events can make us really bad at rational risk assessment and rational response. We should be more afraid of driving to work than of a terrorist attack, but we’re not.
—Lisa Schaertl, Tech Savvy Marketing
I refuse to live my life afraid of terrorists or any other disaster event, for that matter. Private citizens cannot do very much, if anything, to prevent these happenings. If our government would simply resort back to common sense when deciding how to keep our borders safe, I think we will be fine. Domestic terrorism unfortunately most likely cannot be stopped.
I don’t feel very threatened living in Rochester; I would be if I lived in a major city like NYC or Boston. I believe everyone, everywhere should always be observant of the possibility of a terrorist attack; we are all in this together, America!
I am not blind to the very real threat of terrorism, but I am not going to let my every waking moment be dictated by the lunatic fringe. Also, the less I see of TV, the less I worry about terrorism.
It is very disturbing that post-9/11, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s name could be misspelled when he went to Chechnya so that activity did not arouse any suspicions (despite Russia already warning the U.S. about him). Why aren’t there automated processes in place linking passport scans and FBI watch systems? However, I do not want any limits on my personal freedom. I agree with Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither."
—Karen Zilora, Creative Scanning Solutions Inc.
You can’t legislate against evil or hate. Nor can you live in fear. I live each day to the fullest and hope for the best. I pray for the countless blessings bestowed upon me and for those less fortunate.
More limits, yes. Let’s start with background checks.
No need to worry; the government will protect us! After all, we have lots of tough-talking politicians, plus we have the state and local police and sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, TSA, BATFE, DEA, Homeland Security, Border Patrol (did I miss any?). Oh, wait a minute, we had all that before the Boston bombings? Well, if all that fails, we still have (for now anyway) the right to bear arms!
—George Thomas, Ogden
Homeland Security has yet to fully integrate their various agencies. Information already known is shared after the fact. Further, we don’t enforce the laws we have on the books, but we seek to further limit personal freedoms? We are the laughingstock of the globe and the easy targets for terrorists. If we wanted open borders, we couldn’t do better than we have now. But we target lawful citizens to limit the 2nd Amendment rights. Perhaps we should also register pressure cookers and pitchforks.
—Dennis Kiriazides, retired
The personal freedom train has already left the station: social media, cameras on cellphones, security cameras on every corner and on every building, "cookies" left on our Internet searches, even the Shoppers Club card that most of us have—ever think about what is known about us through that green card? So, let’s not get all noble about personal anonymity; there is very little of it left to be noble about. When the people who are supposed to keep us safe start looking for bombers by taking advantage of the information which is already out there and stop looking for bombs by patting down 70-year-old women from Caledonia at the airport, I will begin to feel much safer.
Unfortunately, this is not a yes/no situation. There has to be some very serious work performed to determine how much of a threat it really is, and is there anything that can be done about it. Silly to limit personal freedom when there is no way to prohibit it! In the Boston episode, if we can believe what we read, why (wasn’t) the Russian advice to the FBI more seriously followed? Limiting my personal freedom in this case is irresponsible.
—JA DePaolis, Penfield
I cannot believe this question even has to be asked. Have we forgotten the lessons of history?
—Matthew D. Wilson
Statistically speaking, I have a greater chance of being bludgeoned to death by a psychotic person wielding a hammer. So I’m not sweating the terrorists. Why should I give up more freedom to our politicians? Put a rifle in my hands, teach me how to use it and I’ll take care of the terrorists myself. I will be using profiling techniques as developed by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, but I digress. First, we need to send a clear message to the terrorists. Somebody Google the Red Brigade or the Bader-Meinhoff gang and you will realize this is an old wine in a new bottle. They will be dealt with and tossed in the trashbin of scum-sucking pigs. Now, tell me why the inappropriately named justice department doesn’t feel they can prosecute this piece of trash in a military court, but thinks they can take him out with a drone. Did I miss the memo? Oh yeah, Nancy-pants Pelosi says we have to pass the rules and then she’ll tell us what they are. Two people are raised by idiots to hate and kill and we should change our way of Life? That is when they win. How about we tell their mommy that she did not raise an angel. Her sons are burning in Hades and are not coming back.
I’m all in favor of waterboarding and the death penalty. It’s time to start using a get-tough attitude in this country.
—Daniel Mossien, architect
I’m more worried about gun violence. Just look at the stats: Over a couple of decades, roughly 3,400 deaths from terrorist attacks versus 900,000 deaths from gun violence. Mass murder by assault weapons with high capacity clips—that’s what I’m worried about. And Republicans in Congress won’t even debate the issue!
—Art Maurer, Penfield
We have a president who has tried to scrub the word terrorist from our lexicon. He cannot seem to be able to say radical Islamism. If you can’t say the name of the enemy, how are you supposed to monitor their activities?
—Bob Worden, Penn Yan
More smoke and mirrors! More gun laws for taxpaying law-abiding citizens will stop mass shootings—B.S. Punish criminals with meaningful punishment! Taxes must be raised to fix the deficit/balance the budget/help the poor, B.S. Curtail spending! Obamacare is the answer to the health care equation, B.S. Socialist anything is bad and shouldn’t be imposed on free men! We must give amnesty to illegal immigrants because they are part of our society, B.S. There are here illegally and must be deported along with their whole brood of illegals. Limiting my freedom, invading my privacy, creating rules for me to live by, will make me safer, B.S. Punish the terrorists with punishment equal to their deeds! To succumb to the goal of the terrorist is to live in fear. I refuse. Stop providing media glorification and coverage for the scum and just announce when his execution has taken place. It would be nice if every day on the news, there was a different credible leader of the Muslim faith denouncing terrorism and the people doing it. Isn’t being silent endorsing it? Why isn’t that on the news every day? Wouldn’t it be nice if the media would be opposed to jihad enough to loudly and publicly oppose that faction of the Muslim religion every day? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Obama went on the news and declared that Islamic extremists are not welcome and would be purged from the U.S.? That would reduce the fear of terrorism—get rid of the terrorists.
“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” —Benjamin Franklin
—Al Carey, Carestream Health
With Obama in office, I worry more since his administration always thinks if they are “nice” and appear understanding that our enemies will respond in kind. Chamberlain tried that tactic in 1939, it is called appeasement. While Chamberlain foolishly thought he could avoid conflict by being “nice” and understanding, Hitler readied his armies for the war to follow.
—Michael F. Kloppel, Chairman Ontario County Conservative Party, Canandaigua
I think there should be a greater presence of trained dogs in public areas and I think all gunpowder should be tagged to identify its origin.
—Donald A. Dinero, TWI Learning Partnership
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
—Nathan Kauffman, Hearst Media
Simply stated, I am more worried about Washington and its attack on our Constitution, capitalism, health care and the economy. The law enforcement team did an outstanding job on this terrible event last week, but again Washington and the White House make decisions against the better good of the country to aid in our security/intelligence. I am sure the law enforcement team took this less than human trash alive to be able to attain more information to protect the country from further attacks and yet we read him his rights—seriously! A $1.50 hollow point would have done the trick. I am disgusted. We need a real president.
—David T. Wrea
4/26/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email email@example.com.