Don’t Be Afraid

Joel Bleifuss

“Terrorism forces us to make a choice. Don’t be afraid. … Be ready,” those are the first words you read when you log on to, the Department of Homeland Security Web site. As the site explains, “Terrorists are working to obtain biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons, and the threat of an attack is very real.”So what should you do? Besides the already infamous plastic sheeting and duct tape, other preparations can be made. For example, the site features a section titled “Plan for your pets.” It also provides a helpful list of items that “may make a time of crisis more comfortable,” such as a “plastic bucket with a tight lid.” And should the threat go nuclear, the “Nuclear Blast” page advises readers: “Consider keeping potassium iodide in your emergency kit, learn what the appropriate doses are for each of your family members.” And don’t forget the dog.

Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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