Return to Award-winning journalism
lasting effects anticipated
But attempted bombing does increase
anxiety, counselor says
By RYAN OLSON
The Daily Mining Gazette
November 8, 2001
HOUGHTON Just three days removed from an attempted
fire-bombing at Michigan Tech University, its business as
usual for local residents and businesses.
Phil Nancarrow, pastor of Portage Lake United Church
located near the MTU campus, said some of the people hes spoken
with since police discovered the bombs Monday have expressed anger
at those responsible, but the threats do not seem to be a topic
of acute concern.
I didnt get the sense that people were
especially personally threatened by what happened on campus Monday,
Police discovered the fire bombs just after 3:30 a.m.
at a pair of MTU forestry buildings. The bombs did not detonate.
Genetic research on aspen trees is conducted in one of the buildings.
It is the type of research targeted around the country by eco-terrorists
affiliated with various extremist environmental organizations.
No one has claimed responsibility for planting the
bombs at MTU. The FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms continue to investigate.
Students are handling the situation well, according
to Donald Williams, director of Techs counseling services.
I think that its been an issue of concern
for most students that weve seen similar to that of Sept.
11, Williams said.
The number of students seeking counseling has been
up since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.,
he said. The number of hits on the MTU counseling web page also
Williams said the attempted bombing coming on the
heels of the Sept 11 attacks could result in some students experiencing
a whole range of emotions and conditions, including anxiety, insomnia,
depression, feeling more emotional, poor concentration and pessimism.
I think that it creates a general sense of anxiety
as a whole, he said.
Such anxiety probably doesnt extend to people
who may be considering traveling to the Keweenaw, various tourism
Mary Hunt, co-author of Hunts Guide to
Michigans Upper Peninsula, said many people living downstate
wont dwell long on the fact that bombs were found in Houghton.
People forget really fast, she said. These
incidents are so far removed from anybodys everyday experience.
Hunt, who lives in Albion but has a home in Jacobsville,
said people tend to idealize an isolated location like the Upper
Peninsula. She said she doesnt anticipate anyone being deterred
from travelling to the Keweenaw, particularly the large number of
people who have family in the area.
Its a part of their lives; theyre
not going to be deterred by something like this, she said.
Using Michigan State University as an example, Hunt
said concerns about rowdy student behavior are recalled more clearly
by most people than the 1999 eco-terrorist attack on an MSU laboratory.
Theyve got a serious public relations
problem, but it doesnt have to do with one (terrorist) event,
Keith Niemela, executive director of the Keweenaw
Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said Mondays incident isnt
preoccupying local business owners.
Were always facing challenges of one thing
or another, Niemela said. There havent been any
plans or changes that people have planned because of this.
Laura ONeill, assistant manager at Hancocks
Ramada Inn, said shes noticed no effect on bookings.
I think that snow is your biggest determinant
of (winter tourism), ONeill said. People are going
to continue with their lives.