Dirty Doings

The Justice Department Is Warning of Dirty Bombs. Freaked Out?

Age 28
Resides New Jersey
Occupation Agency owner

What's a dirty bomb? A biological weapon. That guy was arrested because they need a scapegoat.
What do you think about stockpiling potassium iodide? I think it's pointless. People are insecure with life. To live, you can't be afraid to die.
How scared are you of another attack? No, not at all. I don't think it will happen for another decade at least. There were so many signals that we missed--the embassy bombings, the bombing of the USS Cole. The FBI and CIA don't share information, but the problem isn't with the agents in the field. It's in the chain of command. Now they're expanding the definition of what it means to be a terrorist. Community activists, environmental activists, they're all people who can now be called terrorists. They polled citizens, and Americans are willing to give up their rights in exchange for feeling safe. I was at the Cannes Film Festival and there was all this buzz about the nuclear showdown between India and Pakistan and I came home and my friends didn't know anything about it.

Age 36
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Artist

What's a dirty bomb? A bomb where radioactive material like medical waste is strapped to an explosive device and detonated in a sensitive area. Whoever does it would be happy to see casualties, but they're really looking to close the city down.
What do you think about stockpiling potassium iodide? I think it's useless. I was just listening to an expert on the radio explaining that potassium iodide only works on nuclear power plant emissions, like Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. It's supposed to fill your pituitary gland with iodine, but it won't work on whatever's used to make a dirty bomb.
How scared are you of another attack? I am scared. I was just talking about an escape route. My sister-in-law is pregnant; I hope my wife will be soon. I worry that they're going to set off a dirty bomb at the Stock Exchange and it will blow uptown. I think the guy they just caught is a likely Al Qaeda operative. If you do a major terrorist job, that makes you an operative. Mohammad Atta wasn't anyone until he pulled off the World Trade Center.

Age 37
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Poet

What's a dirty bomb? A bomb with smut on its mind. Actually, it's a bomb that emits bad stuff within a certain vicinity. The results are either fatal, or everyone comes down with a rash or some kind of skin infection. They're hard to make because the materials are so volatile.
What do you think about stockpiling potassium iodide? No. If a bomb goes off or you're exposed to radioactivity, you're toast. Using a cell phone is probably killing me.
How scared are you of another attack? I think something is going to happen, but knowing that hasn't changed the way I behave. I know people who won't take the subway for fear that something is going to happen there. A couple of years ago some guy was arrested at Union Square for transporting something from point A to point B. There was talk that he was planning a chemical release of some kind. But he was labeled a kook, not a worldwide terrorist. I think if I were directly affected by an attack, if I had been directed affected by 9-11, I might consider leaving the city. It all depends on how you experience trauma.

Age 26
Resides Bronx
Occupation Evaluator

What's a dirty bomb? A radioacive bomb designed to freak people out more than to kill them.
What do you think about stockpiling potassium iodide? Everyone's paranoid. I didn't stockpile Cipro, and I'm not going to get potassium iodide.
How scared are you of another attack? I think it's a possibility, but it won't be in New York again. It will be in D.C. or something like that. Or in San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge. L.A. has nothing unless they blow up the Hollywood sign. Hollywood's produced nothing good this summer except maybe Spider-Man. I saw Insomnia, but Mrs. Doubtfire as a killer didn't work for me.

Age 20
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Word processor

What's a dirty bomb? A bomb that carries a virus which is designed to spread the virus when it explodes.
What do you think about stockpiling potassium iodide? I don't believe in that. Whatever happens, happens. I also think this is all part of a conspiracy to scare New York. Pretty much everything in the news is designed to keep everything and everyone at a standstill.
How scared are you of another attack? I don't think it's going to come anytime soon, because things are too hot right now. When it comes, it will be another attack on New York, this time on something like the Brooklyn Bridge.

Age 21
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Student

What's a dirty bomb? A bomb using radioactive junk that isn't necessarily going to explode in an atomic sense, but which will deliver a healthy dose of radiation.
What do you think about stockpiling potassium iodide? Personally, I wouldn't do it because I'm of the school that what happens, happens. During the anthrax scare, I had acccess to Cipro, but didn't take advantage of it.
How scared are you of another attack? It's not something that I think about. I think we're hearing a lot of confusion from within the administration. One person says one thing, another says another. Half the country is freaked out, the other isn't. The merging of the CIA and FBI isn't going to change anything because nobody hears what's going on anyway.

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