L.A. locals rush to buy gas masks, provisions

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Friday, September 14 7:23 AM SGT

Worried after attacks, Los Angeles locals rush to buy gas masks, provisions

LOS ANGELES, Sept 13 (AFP) -

Worried that the devastating terrorist attacks in New York and Washington might possibly be followed up by an onslaught in Los Angeles, residents here on the West Coast rushed to stocks up on food, US flags, and military gear including gas masks.

"We had a few customers with the impression that this is going to lead us to World War III as soon as we find out exactly who did this," said Peter Kalaydjian, owner of a shop selling survival materials, while surrounded by gas masks and bulletproof jackets. "More of my customers are a lot more sane," he said.

These include lawyers, doctors, security guards and other "regular people" who, since Tuesday's suicide attacks against the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, have bought in defense materials including knives, helmets and other things to help them in the event of an attack. Kalaydjian said he sold more than 600 gas masks, and sales generally have multiplied by 10 times in the last three days.

Other sought-after articles include first-aid kits "because in the event of a disaster all the hospitals and ambulances are going to be full and people are trying to prepare to heal themselves as well. "I'm out of gas masks and out of the flags that stick on windows as well as the big flags," said Ned Escaip, who has a small shop also selling military style material.

On Thursday, the US Congress urged all Americans to display the Stars and Stripes as a "symbol of solidarity." Escaip has also sold large quantities of flashlights and batteries -- and had unusual requests from clients. "A middle-aged lady came and bought a gas mask and wanted to know if I had one for dogs," he noted.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles supermarkets, which are used to taking precautions against earthquakes, people were also stocking up on some more basic products. "The day the attacks happened people came to buy gallons of water and canned food and all of that, to make sure they prepare for anything," said Fuensanta Espinoza, a local supermarket supervisor. "It's not like they are doing any panic buying or anything like that."

The requests and local reaction appeared not to have caught trade people off-guard. "The same thing happened the last time the United States bombed Baghdad and there were war threats and during the Desert Storm. It's the nature of our business," said Kalaydjian.

-- Swissrose (cellier3@mindspring.com), September 14, 2001


The ridicule that was dumped upon Y2K preparationists in January 2000 now seems so misplaced and shortsighted. The laughter has turned to stony silence, now nationwide, not just in California due to the (Y2K+1 - LYDB caused) energy crisis.

Indeed, those of us who only prepared for "medium case" now need to beef up the preparation level for a higher "Richter level" outcome. Items such as bulletproof vests, gas masks, radioactivity monitors, and large amounts of ammunition; constitute "worst case" preparation.

-- Robert Riggs (rxr.999@worldnet.att.net), September 14, 2001.

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