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Advice from Dear Webby
Scared of Terrorist Attack

Dear Webby,

I am 68 years old. I live alone in a small suburb of Cleveland. I have 2 children who both live out of town. I am very concerned about a terrorist attack.

I have bought duct tape and plastic but don't know how to protect my home. What if something happens when I'm not there? What do you think about all that is going on?

Signed: Scared Stiff

Dear Scared Stiff,

Welcome to 2003. These are indeed scary times. You are not alone in your fears.

Let your children know of your concern. Talk with your neighbors, friends, your local senior group and your church officials. Let people know you are alone and afraid. Get someone to help you set up a safe area, if that will make you feel better.

Keep some water and a jar of peanut butter and crackers handy. Have a flashlight next to your bed and one in another area of the house (always in the same place).

Also keep a battery powered radio. Make sure you have some of your necessary medicines on hand - some cash too.

I suggest these things more for weather related power shortages then, God forbid, the very remote (I repeat - very remote) chance of terrorists. To give into fear is to let the enemy win. We won't let that happen, will we?

Then "get on with your life"! I have found that a positive attitude coupled with a sense of adventure are key components in most arenas of life.

Change the way you look at things. What an exciting time to be alive! You have made it for 68 years. Congratulations!

You're not going to let this get you down. You have survived many personal scary and sad times to get this far. Now it is your turn to let others do their job (and a great job they are doing).

Your job is to keep things normal, to pray for our servicemen and our Country, send them emails of encouragement and then continue to live your life as you did before.

It is not your job to monitor the war 24/7. Change your thoughts, keep active, turn the television off and read a good book. Get some fun videos and watch them. Have some friend over (but do not talk terrorists and war). Why not go to a Senior Center and learn something new?

I do not have statistics but I strongly believe the odds of a terrorist attack on you in your suburb are much more remote than that of getting a serious illness or hit by a car.

We professional worriers have to realize that about 90% of what we worry about never happens (thank God) and that we make ourselves endure so much more than is necessary.

The fear itself is most often the worst part of it. So take care, use common sense and enjoy the journey.

Good luck,


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