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Fear of Terrorism Spreads Far Beyond Paris


A woman checks her smartphone by a poster showing a weeping image of Marianne, symbol of the French Republic, near Le Carillon restaurant, a site of terrorist attacks, in Paris, Nov. 17, 2015. The attacks have triggered waves of social media communication

A woman checks her smartphone by a poster showing a weeping image of Marianne, symbol of the French Republic, near Le Carillon restaurant, a site of terrorist attacks, in Paris, Nov. 17, 2015. The attacks have triggered waves of social media communication


The effect of the recent terrorist attacks in France, Lebanon and Egypt is being felt all over the world.

On Tuesday night, two Air France flights, one from Los Angeles and the other from Washington D.C., made emergency landings. A phone call warned of bombs on board.

One of the planes landed in Salt Lake City; the other in Halifax, Canada. No bombs were found. But the trips to Paris were delayed for many hours.

In Washington, D.C. during Tuesday’s evening rush hour, commuter trains to Virginia were delayed. A suspicious package was found in a train car.

It turned out to be nothing dangerous. Just “your normal every day package” someone planned to mail, said a spokesman for the Virginia Railway Express. But trains were stopped for nearly an hour while the package was examined.

The point of terrorism is to “instill fear,” said Daniel Antonius, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Buffalo. Often after a violent attack, it is difficult for some people to move on with their daily lives, he said.

“The underlying fear of future terror attacks may linger much longer, which may have significant long-term implications on everything from individuals to economy and politics,” Antonius said.

He said for a while, people will be less willing to use public transportation, to fly or be in large crowds.

The Paris attacks killed 129 and injured more than 300. It led to increased opposition to taking Syrian refugees into the United States and Europe.

The refugees are escaping Syria’s bloody civil war. Others flee war conditions in other Middle East and African nations.

Thirty-one U.S. governors have said they will not accept Syrian refugees in their states. They say they fear that some refugees could be terrorists.

Some members of the U.S. Congress seek legislation to block funds to process the 10,000 Syrian immigrants.

“I want to be clear. America has a role to play in aiding these victims of war, but we should not be choosing the safety and security of Syrian refugees over the safety and security of the American people,” said Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said opponents to Syrian immigrants are ignoring that America is traditionally a nation of immigrants.

Some of the effects of the terrorist attacks are not so obvious.

People riding subways in Washington D.C., New York City and San Francisco have noticed more armed police officers. A Washington Metro system spokesman said the agency is making more frequent announcements urging people to report suspicious packages to police or transit employees.

Three days after the Paris attacks, New York City deployed the first 100 members of the police department’s new Critical Response Command. The elite unit is specially trained to respond quickly to terrorist attacks.

Some schools delayed or cancelled planned student trips to Washington D.C. A video allegedly from Islamic State threatens attacks in Washington D.C. similar to the November 13 attacks on Paris.

The principal of a high school in Connecticut explained on Facebook why he cancelled a senior trip to Washington. Principal Brian Falcone wrote that his decision was to protect “the safety and well-being of our students and faculty.”

Several news reports said some flights and Eurostar trains to Paris in recent days were less than half full.

I'm Anne Ball.

Michael Bowman and Henry Ridgwell reported on this story for VOANews.com. Bruce Alpert adapted their reports for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

suspicious adj. causing a feeling that something is wrong

instill – v. to gradually cause someone to have a feeling or attitude

underlying – adj. used to identify the idea, cause, problem, etc., that forms the basis of something

implications – n. possible future effect or result

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