Residents of Madison County differ in their opinions about the likelihood of another major terror attack as occurred Sept. 11, 2001, and whether homeland security efforts have made the country much safer.

Some are more concerned about more immediate dangers, such as automobile accidents and common crime.

Bruce Dawson


Bruce Dawson said, “I think it could happen anytime, anywhere,” when asked about the likelihood of another terrorist attack.

“At least now we know what can happen and can try to prepare for it,” he said. “Before Sept. 11, 2001, we took too much for granted.”

Dawson said he is aware of the vulnerability of air travel because his son “flies all over the country” for his job.

There are plenty of other, less dramatic dangers that local citizens should take precautions for, Dawson said. “One time somebody broke into our house and ransacked it,” he recalled.

In any case, “We just need to keep praying,” Dawson said.

Alleen Croucher


“I’m very concerned” about the likelihood of another terror attack, said Alleen Croucher, who has a farm in the Kingston area near the Blue Grass Army Depot.

“I think (the terrorists) will probably use bombs next time,” she said.

Croucher said she believes security measures put in place since Sept. 11, 2001, have made airline travel safer, however. “We haven’t had any attacks since then, so we must be doing something right.”

Jim Fleenor


Jim Fleenor said, “We always think things like (the Sept. 11 attacks) happen somewhere else to somebody else, but “There will never be a time when we’ll be free from the threat of a terrorist attack.

“There is no use going through life worrying about things you have no control over,” he said.

Government efforts to improve homeland security have probably helped make air travel safer, Fleenor said. “I know a lot of people feel harassed, especially when they go through airports, but (airport searches) are a necessity.”

Kayla Sizemore


“I know we’ve done a lot to try and make things safer here, but I still think the terrorists will find some way to attack us,” said Kayla Sizemore, a senior at Madison Central High School and president of the DECA Club.

She and other DECA members delivered doughnuts Friday to the Richmond Fire Department and Police Department as a gesture of appreciation to local first responders for their contribution to security.

U.S. military action in the Middle East has not made our country safer, Sizemore said.

“As long as we’re over there attacking them, I think they will want to attack us,” she said. “We should be trying to solve our own problems instead of sending our military to the Middle East to try and solve their problems.”

Danny Damrel


The prospect of a terror attack? “In this area, not at all,” said Danny Damrel, a retired Kentucky State Police trooper. The Blue Grass Army Depot is probably on the terrorists’ “list of targets, but I know how good their security is at the depot and anybody would have a very tough time getting in there.”

State and local law enforcement also are well trained and prepared in the unlikely event that terrorists strike in Madison County, Damrel said.

His background in law enforcement and his memory of the deadly tornadoes that struck Central Kentucky in 1974 have led Damrel to “keep an emergency plan in mind” at all times.

“In 1974, we lived in Clark County, and I had to gather the family and get them to the basement of the courthouse” until the danger of another tornado passed, he said.

Wes Thurmond


Wes Thurmond, an Eastern Kentucky University student, said he thinks another terrorist attack could happen.

“My mother travels a lot in her job, and she got stuck in Milwaukee” when British authorities announced that they had uncovered a plot to assemble bombs on planes flying from London to America. During the alert, air transport came to a temporary halt.

“I think our security people, such as the airport screeners, are doing a good job, but the terrorists are creative and could get something by them.

“Nobody thought people with plastic knives could hijack an airplane,” he said. “Who would have thought about people assembling a liquid bomb from what they brought aboard in tiny bottles?”

Bob Davenport


“I’m real concerned,” said Bob Davenport who lives in Richmond and works in Berea, when asked about the prospect of another major terrorist attack. If terrorists launch another strike, “It would probably be more massive than last time, however, and affect more people, a ‘dirty bomb’ or some kind of attack on a water supply,” he said.

“(The government) is trying to take precautions, and I hope they have helped. In some cases, however, I think they have gone to extremes.”

Sally Wilkerson


"The way the government keeps reminding us of (Sept. 11), I think they must anticipate another one," said Sally Wilkerson. "I think we're more circumspect now, however, and with all the advances we've made (in security) and with all our alerts up, I think it's highly unlikely that it would happen again. I certainly hope so."

Phil Jacobs


“All the efforts and investments” in homeland security makes another Sept. 11 style attack less likely, said Phil Jacobs. “The heightened awareness” of the public and law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001, also works against the likelihood of another major attack, he said.

Donald Graham


"I don't like the way that (the terrorist threat) is politicized every year just before the elections, but I think we’ll probably have another major terror attack, I just hope it's not nuclear," said Donald Graham.

He said he is “most concerned about a dirty bomb attack. Our harbors are very vulnerable. "And it would be easy to hide some kind of bomb in a container that freighter ships carry. Most of those don't get screened.”

If a major terror attack occurs, Graham said, “The example of Hurricane Katrina last year show that we're not ready for a major attack that affects a lot of people."

J.D. Parks


“I’m very much concerned” about the prospect of another major terrorist attack against the United States, said J.D. Parks, a U.S. Army retiree.

“In many cases, I don’t think we’ve done enough” to secure the country, he said. “In other cases, we may have gone too far.”

For example, “the carry-on luggage of airline passengers” undergoes a security check, he said. But, “Things that go in the belly of the airplane are not checked. That doesn’t make sense.”

Airline passengers with a “legitimate need to keep their prescription medicines on board should be allowed to do so,” he said. “Now they can’t.”

Pat Cornelison


As an emergency room nurse at Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center, Pat Cornelison said she deals with death every day. Her daily dealings with small-scale disasters give her a different perspective, she said. “I’m more worried about accidents on Interstate 75” than about a Sept. 11-style terrorist attack, she said.

The emotional effect of another, more immediate tragedy was still weighs on her, Cornelison said. “We lost Lynda McKee, the manager of the Pattie A. Clay gift shop, in the crash of Flight 5191,” she said. “Everyone at the hospital is just devastated by her loss.”

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