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Concerns of terrorism reach into Heartland
You've probably read or heard this week about a series of mysterious and suspicious purchases of disposable cell phones in Missouri by a group of foreign-born men.
The purchases at Wal-Marts in several locations in Missouri - including Cape Girardeau and Jackson - have drawn the attention of law enforcement officers and the FBI.
In the past week, these purchases have been reported in Lebanon, Columbia, Macon and other Wal-Mart stores in the state.
The bulk purchases - in one case up to 60 disposable phones - are raising the understandable fears of terrorists activities.
Law enforcement officials have questioned some of those making the purchases but, as of yet, have little to say in the matter.
Officials say those type of inexpensive phones are often used in gang or illegal drug activities. But the same type of throw-away phones have also been used by terrorists organizations.
But officials also say that sometimes the phones are purchased to be sent to foreign lands for resale.
Regardless of the final outcome, the specter of potential terrorist activities in our region is raising some eyebrows.
I hope and pray these unusual purchases turn out to be much ado about nothing.
But that's not the point.
We as a society have reached a point where the concerns for terrorism can reach far into the heartland of this great nation and create concern for all of us.
Most of us view terrorism as isolated to foreign attacks and isolated chaos in urban areas of America.
But we learned this week that even the possibility of such activity can come into our own backyard.
I personally believe these recent instances of questionable activity will result is nothing more than someone seeking to make a profit by reselling these items.
Yet today's chaotic world puts us all in a state of awareness of those who look different and who involve themselves in activities we cannot quickly explain.
It is neither racist nor bigoted nor profiling to have these concerns and fears.
It's just good common sense.
I despise the fact that we have been forced to think this way. I have no desire to look over my shoulder at every individual who looks somewhat out of place. I don't want any level of fear to seep into our thoughts when we're out in public.
But today's world is radically different than just a few short years ago. To ignore that fact is to put yourself and your loved ones in potential danger.
We have not created this attitude. This growing concern has been forced on us by those who seek us harm.
The tragedy in California recently could have potentially been avoided by those who saw activities but were fearful of being labeled as racists.
Political correctness will be our ultimate demise if left unchecked.