EDITORIAL: Caution or paranoia

It may take a while for Americans to learn the difference between common-sense caution and preposterous paranoia when it comes to living in this post-Sept. 11 world. On which side of the line is refusing to fly national airlines? Or buying a gas mask? Or stocking up on extra dry goods and drinking water?

That question occurred to us as we talked to area city leaders while preparing our front-page article on the safety of water supplies at Hillsboro and Marion. At first it seemed absurd to think small towns like ours should need to consider the security at such facilities. Could we be more safe from the destructive dreams of those who wish to see our nation crumble? Yet a little voice within whispers, “What would be a more effective way to shatter the nation’s sense of security than to wipe out a small burg like ours and show the world that even Small-Town America is not immune?”

So, is that the voice of caution or paranoia?

It is at the same time comforting and disconcerting that changes are being made at the local water treatment plant-comforting in that doing so will further safeguard our health, but disconcerting to realize how vulnerable we probably have been all these years. We just never thought about it before.

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