According to Janet Ward with Atlanta Fire Rescue, crews are working the scene of an explosion in a maintenance shed at Concourse D at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. The concourse has no power and has been evacuated, but Ward stated “there was no fire and no smoke”. According to recent news no one has been reported harmed. If you have loved ones flying through this airport do not panic. News crews are in route to the explosion site at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and I will keep you up to date as information is released. Of course when we hear about events like this our minds flashback to 9/11 and the Boston Marathon.
There are 3 critical areas that I can see will be most impacted.
1. Fear of Flying Again.
2. Fear of attending outside public events. (marathons, baseball games and football games)
3. Fear of living in this country.
There is an appropriate level of anticipatory anxiety, but when fear leads to paranoia a person can be mentally in trouble. First off mild anxiety, is alright when there is a level of possible danger of the unknown. However, with the recurrent open attacks in America, people are becoming more fearful daily and this could really have a deleterious impact on our country as a whole. Here is the thing, if people become afraid to come out of their homes, they may eventually become afraid to go to work. When this happens, mental illness can ensure. Are we now headed here?
The first thing we need to discuss is our possible flashback of 9-11 which I am sure surfaced on Monday. This now leads us to “fear of flying again.”( aerophobia, aviatophobia, or aviophobia) It took all of us a while to process after the attack on the World Trade Center. I myself, was traveling for my job weekly at the time, and I had a terrible time each week going to the airport. I really appreciate how rigorous the FBI and other law-enforcement authorities are looking for the possible culprit of such a violent act. However, each time there is another occurrence there is a heightened sense of fear. I guess the fear of flying would be appropriate because terrorist attacked (2) airplanes mid-air. This was devastating to America. We had never had anything of this nature happen to us. At least when there is a war, we can prepare ourselves. However, there was no war this time and, as with war, there was a lot of bloodshed. New York, no matter how the recover, will always have feelings about what happened. Even after Monday’s attack, NYC raised their level of anticipatory anxiety. This can soon and will soon have a deleterious impact on even that city. Now Boston will forever changed and I am saddened. I know this will impact those the fly into those areas and more ever those that live in those areas. I am just wondering how the airlines are going to respond to us during this time of peril. I really hope that they don’t increase their prices and make the consumers suffer.
The next area that we should discuss is fear of attending public events. Now, we have to arrive earlier toevents because there are extra security measures in place and of course this takes a few extra minutes. We appreciate this but is it enough. As a forensic psychiatrist, I know that the “criminal mind” has its way of circumventing basic security measures. This is becoming serious. What may happen, people may stop going to public “open-air” or “closed-air” events because of the attacks that are happening in America. No, we can not live in fear, but we have to live in reality. The reality is this could happen again. What does America have to do in an effort to protect herself? Are we now becoming a police state? Is there any place safe anymore? I don’t think we (Americans) will walk around in fear but with the current gun control debate it is almost mute. People have to protect themselves and this has to be factored into all of the discussions.
Do we now have to consider living in another country? One of my readers said that the easiest answer would be just to leave America. Is this the answer? Can all of us leave and move to Jamaica or Brazil? Can we all go to Amsterdam? or Should we just go back to Africa? I am not sure what the answer is at this time. However, whatever the answer is it could be costly. People can not just pick-up and move to another country. By now we all have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a process and I don’t recommend this at all. We have to do something about these recurrent attacks, in the public eye, of America. Also,the media needs to get a better handle on how the respond to emergencies and show recurrent clips over and over and over of bombs going off. This is ridiculous. There has to be a better way of sharing bad news. There should be a level of sensitivity training but I guess, it is all about ratings.
America, be safe and take care of yourselves. I have to tell you, WATCH YOUR BACK. it it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, them it most probably is a duck.
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