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Balancing Fear: Why Counter-Terror Legislation was Blocked after the Oklahoma City and London Bombings
Unformatted Document Text:  a figure which receded to 35% a year later and 27% two years later 86 . Moreover, in the days after the Oklahoma bombing, 84% of Massachusetts residents polled by The Boston Herald believed that is was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that an incident similar to the Oklahoma City bombing would occur in the US in the next few years 87 . It is safe to say, then, that fear levels were high after the Oklahoma City bombing. Chart Four: US Mass Fear Levels 1993-2002 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45 0.5 3/ 1/ 93 7/ 1/ 95 9/ 11 -1 2/ 01 9/ 20 -2 3/ 01 10 /2 5- 28 /0 1 12 /7 -1 0/ 01 Date F e a r L e v e ls Feel Danger/Concern There was also a public demand for government action after the Oklahoma bombing. This is indicated by polls that show that Americans were willing to trade liberties for security after the Oklahoma City bombing. An April 1995 Los Angeles Times poll found that 49% of Americans thought that it was necessary for the average person to give up civil liberties in order to bolster security after the Oklahoma City bombing compared to 43% who thought that curbing liberties was unnecessary. 86 Data comes from April 1995 and April 1996 Gallup/CNN/USA Today polls and an April 1997 Yankelovich/Time/CNN poll which asked respondents: “How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of a terrorist attack similar to the bombing in Oklahoma City?” 87 Miga, Andrew. “Terror fears hit home,” The Boston Herald, 30 April 1995. 33

Authors: Rubin, Gabriel.
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a figure which receded to 35% a year later and 27% two years later
. Moreover, in the
days after the Oklahoma bombing, 84% of Massachusetts residents polled by The Boston
Herald believed that is was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that an incident similar to
the Oklahoma City bombing would occur in the US in the next few years
. It is safe to
say, then, that fear levels were high after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Chart Four:
US Mass Fear Levels 1993-2002
0
0.05
0.1
0.15
0.2
0.25
0.3
0.35
0.4
0.45
0.5
3/
1/
93
7/
1/
95
9/
11
-1
2/
01
9/
20
-2
3/
01
10
/2
5-
28
/0
1
12
/7
-1
0/
01
Date
F
e
a
r

L
e
v
e
l
s
Feel Danger/Concern
There was also a public demand for government action after the Oklahoma
bombing. This is indicated by polls that show that Americans were willing to trade
liberties for security after the Oklahoma City bombing. An April 1995 Los Angeles
Times poll found that 49% of Americans thought that it was necessary for the average
person to give up civil liberties in order to bolster security after the Oklahoma City
bombing compared to 43% who thought that curbing liberties was unnecessary.
86
Data comes from April 1995 and April 1996 Gallup/CNN/USA Today polls and an April 1997
Yankelovich/Time/CNN poll which asked respondents: “How worried are you that you or someone in your
family will become a victim of a terrorist attack similar to the bombing in Oklahoma City?”
87
Miga, Andrew. “Terror fears hit home,” The Boston Herald, 30 April 1995.
33


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