Web site offers perspective

Published 5:13 am Wednesday, January 31, 2007

By Staff
In Nepal on Sunday, eight people were injured in a bomb blast.
On the other side of the world in New Mexico, officials are looking for the person who stole fake nuclear bombs from a Los Alamos scrap yard.
And in Columbia last week, a rebel bomb exploded at a Nestle milk plant.
Those are part of the collection of events catalogued on a full-color map of the world located at globalincidentmap.com, a Web site that tracks terrorist acts, suspicious activity and general terrorism news.
Not surprising, of course, are the icons highlighting events in Iran, Iraq and other places across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
But I was surprised by the number of suspicious activities in the United States - bomb threats, envelopes of white powder, even a suspicious train derailment in central Alabama, near the Mississippi state line.
Is life that much more dangerous for us, or are we just hyper-aware of any threat or suspicious incident?
I suspect it's the latter.
The war on terror didn't begin when suicidal radicals flew airplanes into the World Trade Center. It's been ongoing, for centuries, throughout every age when ideologies clashed and extremists reigned.
That doesn't make our fight now any less significant, but it's at least comforting to know we weren't alone.
Still, despite what has happened here in the past few years - and what we all know could happen again - we're living in fairly safe times, at least in America.
For a little perspective: that train derailment in Yantley, Ala., is suspected to be the work of vandals, according to The Choctaw Sun newspaper.
Well, vandals destroyed an Eagle Scout project in Fairhope last week, too.
Were the culprits punks who deserve punishment? Most likely. But terrorists? Not so much.
But what happens in places like Iraq on a daily basis - car bombings, mortar fire, explosive devices - is far more alarming and real for Iraqi citizens and for our troops fighting the war.
Globalincidentmap.com can't even track all of the events with individual icons - one stands in for a roundup of more than a dozen incidents in one day.
Our train derailments and suspicious white powders pale by comparison.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 251-867-4876 or by e-mail at kerry.bean@brewtonstandard.com.