Jubilation, Concern In Chicago After Bin Laden’s Death
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UPDATED 05/02/11 11:13 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicagoans are reacting to the death of Osama bin Laden Monday morning, with a mixture of jubilation, relief and concern.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, air travelers remain concerned about the threat of retaliation.
moments after President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. Armed Forces had killed bin Laden, the State Department issued a travel alert, and warned of the heightened possibility for anti-American violence.
But late Monday morning, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said there are no plans to raise the nation’s terror alert level.
Still, at O’Hare International Airport Monday morning, many people were hesitant about flying, but they weren’t dwelling on their fears.
“I think there’s always a need for concern, but yes, I think at the moment, perhaps, speaking a little too soon,” said Jill Farley, who was traveling from England.
For many of the passengers, the worldwide travel alert issued by the State Department did not stir up too much fear. Tom and Hillary McNally of the Hyde Park neighborhood were flying from Costa Rica, and said their children were more concerned than them.
“They were just asking if the threat was going to be increased since Osama had been killed, and were we concerned about it, but we reassured them that we weren’t,” Hillary McNally said.
Tom McNally said the development wouldn’t dramatically change their plans once they arrive in Costa Rica.
“When you live in Chicago, you have to be aware of where you are and your surroundings all the time anyway,” Tom McNally said.
Security lines at O’Hare were extra-long, even for a Monday morning. One employee said that was because Transportation Security Administration employees were told to be extra-careful and detail-oriented Monday as they checked bags and passengers through the scanners.
“I believe the lines are so long because of additional checks,” said Colleen Jones, who was headed to Barbados. “I’m OK – a little tense, but OK – and I’m all for security checks; anything to keep me safe and for other passengers to get to our destination.”
Kevin and Edna Santos of Pittsburgh said they are confident in U.S> intelligence to protect them.
“We’re very secure because we do a lot of traveling,” Kevin Santos said. “We know Homeland Security has our back, and I know it’s not going to let something through. I’m a little apprehensive, still, though.”
Everyone agreed that just because the al-Qaeda leader is dead does not mean terrorism has been eradicated.
“I think it’s nice to know he’s gone, but I think there will be problems with people; disciples of him taking over,” Farley said. “I don’t think it’s the end just because he’s been taken out”
Meanwhile at the Pakistani restaurant Ghareeb Nawaz, 2032 W. Devon Ave., patrons watched the news TV while they ate. Halfway across town at the White Palace Grill, 1159 S. Canal St., people said they felt a sense of relief that bin Laden was killed, and had mixed opinions about the possibility of retaliation.
“Now that he’s dead, like, I think I do feel like the U.S. is safer. I feel like his own country is safer, because I know that he was a threat to his own country,” said Maya Holt of Chicago.
“I definitely think there’s going to be a backlash,” Tirra Pitman of Joliet. “The Taliban’s leader has now found out. They’re really going to go crazy.”
“This is not going away, but I think it gives people some sense of, not safety, but at least closure to that one aspect of our lives,” said Massimo Messina of Chicago. “It may give some people some resolve around it, but I feel that the enemies of this country will continue to try to attack us whether Osama is dead or not.”
Elsewhere in Chicago Monday morning, WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, some people say they had forgotten about bin Laden. Others say they thought they would have caught and killed him long before now.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports
But to a person, people say they’re glad he’s gone.
Brendan Garrett says the reaction at his house when news broke that bin Laden was dead was as loud as when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year.
“They’re just in a garage hanging out watching TV and a place erupted,” he said.
Jackie Stennis said she thought the news of bin Laden’s death was “great.”
“I’m pretty sure (this day) would come, but I didn’t know when,” she said.
Stennis said she would have liked to have seen bin Laden taken alive and put on trial.
Larry Martinez said he never would have thought bin Laden would be captured and killed.
“I think it’s a load off our back, and we can try to continue to break down that regime, al-Qaeda,” he said.
Added Ty Harvey, “I think it’s good that it’s finally over.” But he said he expected bin Laden would have been captured before now.
“We have the best technology in the world, and they can see us here doing this interview, so you’d think that being able to find someone is not that difficult for our country,” he said.
Harvey said he is worried about retaliation as he headed to Midway International Airport.
The State Department is urging Americans to limit travel outside of their homes and hotels, and to avoid mass-gatherings.