South Mississippians concerned about ISIS threat in America - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippians concerned about ISIS threat in America

Mississippians concerned over ISIS attacks. (Photo source: WLOX) Mississippians concerned over ISIS attacks. (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

The images of the carnage in France are replayed, both on television and in our minds. It's hard to escape.

At one coffee shop, friends gathered to chat about the attack. Lester Lala was part of the group. 

“I'm very fearful of it. I think it could happen here. Especially with the Syrian refugees that they want to let loose in this country,” Lala said.

Ellie Jackson is making her weekly grocery run. She shares those feelings. 

“I'm concerned. Anytime we get a big group together, like down at the baseball stadium or the casinos, it can happen anywhere. It's really getting scary,” Jackson said.

Tave Henry is getting her daily workout in. But the deadly rampage in Paris is not far from her mind. She’s concerned about the reach of ISIS. 

“They've already proven they can go global. And they've already made threats to be here in America. They want to here in America. They hate our culture. What's stopping them. What is our government doing about it. That's my main focus,” Henry said.

Ray Carroll is sprucing up the look of a Highway 90 business. His feelings about ISIS leaves no room for doubt. 

“They are doing a lot of things to destroy people and destroy their freedom. And they would definitely love to do something like that,” Carroll said.

While ordinary citizens here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are concerned about terrorism threats, what about the people charged with protecting and serving us, the police. Are they concerned as well?

Mark Dunston is the Ocean Springs police chief.  He has studied and taught counter-terrorism courses.  

“It's not if it's going to be here, it's going to be here. We have insurgents in this country. It would be irresponsible for people in a position like myself to tell people that it's not going to happen,” Dunston said.

But he stresses we are not helpless because we have eyes and ears. 

“When you're at a sporting event, you're at a venue, you're shopping, especially during the holiday season, anything that looks suspicious, any packages left behind, and stop being politically correct. If someone is acting bizarre, then they are acting bizarre and report it.”

Dunston also says that if anyone has a concealed weapons permit, he suggests they become highly trained on the use of those weapons, in the event of a terrorist attack. He said that might help prevent an even greater loss of life.

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