While duct tape may be flying of
the shelves of hardware and home improvement stores throughout the
U.S., it has not been a big seller at Deaton's Do it Best Hardware,
manager Kathy McLemore says.
not buying duct tape
Last week the Department of Homeland Security launched the new Ready Campaign,
which encourages Americans to prepare for terrorist attacks by, among
other things, compiling emergency kits that contain duct tape and plastic
Apparently, many Americans listened. According to recent newspaper articles,
duct tape and plastic have flown off hardware shelves and an Ohio company
that makes duct tape recently increased production 40 percent to respond
But an informal survey of some downtown coffee drinkers in other
words, people hanging out in the front of The Emporium suggests
that, once more, Yellow Springs is way, way out of the mainstream.
In response to the question of how theyre preparing for a terrorist
attack, about 30 local residents responded with plucky independence, a
distrust of the Bush administration and a desire to deepen their spirituality.
Hell no! Ted Barker said when asked if he planned to prepare
for an attack. I have enough duct tape to cover my mouth so I dont
scream and thats all I need. Seriously, Barker said, he doesnt
consider Yellow Springs to be threatened. I dont feel like
were a target, he said. If I lived in a city, I might
Many villagers stated that, while they might feel threatened in a large
population center, they feel safe in a small Midwestern village.
If I were in New York City or Los Angeles or any big city along
the ocean Id feel at risk, said Chris Bailey. But not
This area survived a far more serious risk during the Cold War due to
its proximity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base when thousands
of nuclear weapons were on hair-trigger alert, said Jim Klein.
We lived with so much more danger then, Klein said. Regarding
the possibility of local terrorist attacks, he said, Im a
lot more concerned about hitting a patch of ice and skidding off the road.
A few people, such as Terry Whorton, said they do worry that Wright-Patt
might appeal to terrorists. A self-described Air Force brat,
Whorton said that when she sees someone in uniform I shake their
hand and wish them well. Also, she added, I pray.
Villagers have not lined up to buy duct tape or plastic, according to
Kathy McLemore, the manager at Deatons Do it Best Hardware. McLemore
said that shes aware of only three people, all older women, who
purchased tape and plastic for preparedness.
At Town Drug, pharmacist Tim Rogers said that he has received only two
inquiries for potassium iodide, which has been publicized as an antidote
to radiation poisoning. Both inquiries came last summer, he said, and
those who inquired lacked the necessary prescription. Town Drug does not
carry potassium iodide tablets, Rogers said, but it does have the medication
in liquid form, which is used as an expectorant.
Along with dismissing the Yellow Springs area as a likely terrorist target,
many of those interviewed expressed their anger and scepticism at the
governments motivations for starting its recent preparation campaign.
I tell my friends that I hope theyre not allowing themselves
to be pushed into a state of hysteria by what seems to be gratuitous propaganda,
said Vick Mickunas.
John Brennan, standing beside him, agreed, stressing his belief that the
Bush administration has heightened Americans fear of terrorists
to increase support for a U.S.-led attack on Iraq.
Bush has done nothing but fuel fears, Brennan said. I
dont trust this administration.
Others, such as Bruce Heckman, echoed these concerns.
I distrust Tom Ridge, Heckman said, referring to the secretary
of Homeland Security. The administration has a vested interest in
making us feel greatly at risk.
Heckman said that he also refuses to give in to the train of thinking
that war is inevitable, adding, I dont feel personally
threatened by Saddam.
Rick Donahoe said he doesnt feel threatened by terrorists, because
he believes the United States provides the real terrorist threat.
We forget that there are people in Iraq sitting around in little
towns sipping their coffee, he said. They are the ones who
will be attacked by terrorists.
Many middle-aged local residents said that their response to the terrorist
threat is colored by having grown up with the fear of nuclear war during
the cold war. As children, they experienced duck and cover
drills at school, during which they were encouraged to protect themselves
from a nuclear bomb by hiding beneath school desks.
As a child I had a lot of anxiety about nuclear war, said
Jan Albright. But you cant live in fear. You have to live
Sue Hawkey remembers as a child living through the Cuban missile crisis,
standing in her schools playground and wondering if the plane flying
overhead would drop a bomb. Compared to such pervasive terror, many local
residents said, the current threat seems very small.
However, several did express some anxiety regarding a terrorist attack.
Its in the back of my mind, said Leon Holster, who stated
that although hes thought about getting a new battery for his battery-operated
radio, he hasnt actually done so yet.
Larry Gerthoffer said that he feels mildly anxious, but Im
not losing any sleep. Hes been letting people know that they
probably already have a sufficient water supply, since most water heaters
contain 30 gallons of usable water.
Many expressed their opinion that, if terrorists do indeed strike, duct
tape and plastic sheeting will offer precious little safety. Most important,
several villagers said, is not allowing the fear of disaster to diminish
our daily lives.
I dont buy into the fear, said Marnie Neumann. I
think the worst thing you can do is to give fear your mind power.
Your whole life could be spent preparing, said Cy Tebbetts.
I dont want to be preoccupied by that.
However, several local residents said that they do believe in preparedness,
although it should go beyond the use of synthetic products. Rather, theyre
seeking to prepare themselves spiritually for uncertain times.
The most important part of being prepared is being present and alert,
said Cathy Price. We dont know what exactly to be prepared
for, so we need calm alertness, bringing our heart and soul and body to
being where we are.
Helping her to develop such alertness, Price said, is a meditation practice.
Since Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy, Susan Bradford said that her family has
been working on spiritual growth by participating in programs at the local
Dharma Center. Thats where the work has to come, she
said. You cant avoid disasters in your life, but she
believes that you can learn how to cope with them by developing calmness
To keep from feeling helpless about the terrorist threat and
the possible war with Iraq, Jan Albright said that she chooses to hold
our leaders in prayer, adding, As long as theres life,
While he doesnt feel threatened by terrorists and has made no preparations,
Wally Sikes hopes others dont interpret his stance as a statement
against duct tape.
Duct tape is one of civilizations great inventions,
he said. Ive had entire automobiles held together with duct