Paranoia and fear can ride hard on the ill winds of evil. And yet, with the passing of each tragic event, Americans say they are more angry than afraid, vowing to defy the randomness of violence.
Just as the country was beginning to process the bombings at the Boston Marathon came reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that letters laced with the poison ricin had been sent to President Barack Obama and a senator, as congressional offices were temporarily evacuated because of suspicious packages.
Beyond Washington, police were searching an abandoned U- Haul van near city hall in Oklahoma City, the federal courthouse was emptied because of a bomb threat in Boston and officials in Atlanta were investigating a report of a suspicious package north of downtown.
Those incidents yesterday were the latest illustration of life in a post-Sept. 11, 2001 age, when facts compete with rumors, fanned by cable news and social media, peeling away another layer of a sense of personal security.
“Everybody is very edgy — hyper-vigilant,” said Stacey Hader Epstein, 52, a freelance public relations consultant in Atlanta. “It reminds me of what happened after 9/11. It’s good and bad – good in that it brings everybody’s focus back to looking after one another. The negative is it makes everybody paranoid and suspicious.”