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PROBE: Sept. 18, 2001

September 18, 2001

QUESTION: The current atmosphere of "Let go get 'em" is making me nervous, although I am not an Arab.

My wife is not politically minded. She seldom voices an opinion.

However, Sunday as we watched the television coverage of the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, she asked, "What if Osama bin Laden just gave up? Would we still have war?"

At first I thought that was dumb. Later I realized it was a good question. He has already denied being involved. What if he just gave up? What would happen? — Curious, Calexico

We would give him a trial before we executed him. With so much bombastic rhetoric drumming up anti-terrorist opinion (and let's face it, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment) we doubt any jury would pay much attention to a bin Laden defense.

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On the other hand, a new poll said 81 percent of Americans want the government to have evidence against a specific group before it makes a retaliatory strike. That's comforting. It shows the public is keeping cooler heads than some government officials.

QUESTION: If they dropped a nuclear bomb on Los Angeles, would it get us in Imperial County? — Fearful, Brawley

We are not a nuclear bomb expert but Los Angeles is 200 miles away and we doubt we would be rattled here. We might get some radioactive fallout.

The terrorists will be looking for a symbolic target to attract worldwide attention. We don't have anything like that around the Imperial Valley. No tall buildings, no cultural icons. It's one of the advantages of living in a rural area.

Pakistan warned Afghanistan if it protects bin Laden, it risks the wrath of the United States. It's possible Pakistan fears American wrath will spill over onto Pakistan. If that's the case, the bombastic rhetoric may be working.

HORSE MEAT FOR DINNER — Yes, PROBE, people did eat horse meat during World War II. I don't know if the government fed it to our troops but I know civilians ate it. — Old-timer, El Centro

We well remember World War II and we don't recall eating or even seeing any horse meat. If we did eat it, we didn't know it and if we didn't know it, it didn't hurt us because it's the thought that makes you sick.

FAR REACHING EVENT — Do you know if any Imperial County people were affected by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington? — Curious, Holtville

We know some Holtville people were affected, if only peripherally. Chris Maston, a U.S. Customs agent assigned to Miami, was one of the agents searching the Miami airport. His wife is the former Kim Breshears. Maston's family still leaves in Holtville.

Mike Canice, the husband of the former Robin Breshears, was stranded after a meeting in Chicago. When the airlines were shut down after the attacks on the East Coast, Canice was left without a way home.

To get back to his family, Canice drove a rental car 1,100 miles home to a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

Robin and Kim are the daughters of Mrs. Jean Breshears of Holtville.

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