|Some Cope, Some Quake, in
Aftermath of Attacks|
Dorroh and Sonia Kumar
Capital News Service and Maryland
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2001
WASHINGTON - Ledo's Restaurant manager Kendra Wolfe went about her
normal duties Friday, writing the daily specials on the board, giving
orders to employees and seating customers at the restaurant near Langley
Park. But in the back of her mind, she says, was the nagging fear that
another terrorist attack was coming soon.
"I worry about it all the time," Wolfe says. "It
drives me crazy. They're going to get us."
A month after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, and a day after the FBI warned of possible attacks in the next
several days, many Marylanders say they are feeling nervous. Some, like
Wolfe, try to just live with their fears as they wait for the other shoe
to drop, while others act on those jitters, calling doctors for
antibiotics, buying guns, snapping up gas masks and forwarding e-mails
about the latest terrorism rumors.
"I work with everyone from executives to street people,"
said Russell Hibler, chief psychologist at Union Memorial Hospital in
Baltimore. "They're all dealing with a sense of heightened
But Hibler and others are urging people not to panic. If they must
take action, officials note, there are some things people can do to
prepare for an emergency and others that won't help.
The Maryland Red Cross suggests having food, water and batteries on
hand and says parents should know their children's school emergency plan.
But gas masks and the anthrax vaccine may not be necessary or helpful.
spreading -- or starting -- rumors put others at risk, says the FBI.
"People who start rumors are helping the terrorists achieve
what they want to achieve," says Peter Gulotta, a spokesman for the
FBI in Baltimore. "It's not funny. It drains law enforcement
resources and puts the people of this country in danger."
Searching For a Fix
Health departments across the state have received hundreds of calls
from people asking for the anthrax vaccine and for antibiotics in case
there is a chemical attack.
"People are changing their mindset from
'It won't happen here' to 'It did happen, and it was disastrous,' "
says Dr. Janet Neslen of the Carroll County Health Department. "So
naturally they are trying to protect themselves and their
Places of worship are also bearing a special burden, as
people look to faith for consolation and insight. "We took a lot of
phone calls from early on and continue to talk to a lot of people" who
are looking for comfort following the attacks, says Ed Williams, a pastor
at the First Baptist Church of Wheaton.
The church, which has seen “a slight bump” in
attendance since the attacks, has organized extra prayers and small group
meetings on weeknights to help congregation members work through their
concerns, Williams says.
"When something like
this happens, you lay aside what you have planned," he adds.
Schools, too, are
struggling to find the appropriate balance between reacting to recent
events and moving forward.
"Many school systems are cutting back on
the amount of trips and travel they do out of state, and tightening up
building security," says Ron Peiffer, assistant state superintendent
in the School and Community Outreach Office for the Maryland State
Department of Education.
They're also stepping up counseling efforts. "Some
school systems have had family members and friends affected," Peiffer
Meanwhile, Army surplus stores continue to sell gas masks as fast as they can
And gun sales have stayed high since the attacks, say gun shop
"People want to be prepared for anything," says Larry
Dunn, manager of Bay Country Guns in Annapolis, where he says sales have
doubled since the attacks.
Getting Back to Business
These reactions are natural under the circumstances, psychologists
say. With potential targets like Washington, Camp David and Fort Detrick
in or around Maryland, Hibler says it is likely that at least half of the
state's residents will experience anxiety in the wake of attacks and as
But Hibler, who recently returned from counseling survivors and
workers at the World Trade Center, says the best medicine for anxiety is
to go on with your life. "If you fall off the horse, you have to get
back on," Hibler says. "We have to go on living."
a message Gov. Parris Glendening has been delivering, too. Glendening is
urging Marylanders to "go out and spend money and enjoy life,"
says spokeswoman Michelle Byrnie. "You don't want the terrorists, who
have already destroyed buildings and taken lives, to destroy the fabric of
the community or the American spirit."
The governor announced
he will more than triple spending for advertising for Maryland's $7.7
billion tourism industry for the rest of the year. More than 100,000
Marylanders work for tourism-related industries, particularly air travel
and hospitality. Both have suffered some of the greatest financial losses
since the attacks, according to the Maryland Department of Business and
"Consumers have been reluctant to travel and go out
and celebrate or entertain themselves," says Pradeep Ganguly, chief
economist for the Maryland Department of Business and Development.
of that reluctance stems from fear.
At a town meeting last week in Rockville, Rep. Connie Morella,
R-Bethesda, urged her constituents not to panic. Morella also had a panel
of experts on hand to answer questions and ease their security
"Those attacks shocked and horrified us. They swept away our
innocence," Morella said. "But let's not panic. This is a time when we will be living with concerns, but at
least we'll know that we can come together, and we will prevail."
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0/16/01; last updated: 03/21/02 11:03 AM
Special report produced by Sonia Kumar, Kim
Harris and Kathleen Johnston;
edited by Chris Harvey (Web) and Steve Crane and Adrianne Flynn (print).
Banner graphic by Sonia Kumar.
Copyright © 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.