The folks who work and shop at Security Center on Security Boulevard in the city of Security are not sure that the latest U.S. air raid on Libya will enhance American security -- but they are generally glad that Monday's attack was launched.
"Nah, it won't stop terrorism -- might even make it worse," said John Zay, who was searching for concrete mix at Shannon's True Value Hardware. "But there comes a time when you just have to hit the greaseballs. You have to show Qaddafi, and you have to show the Russians that we won't take it any more.
"I bet the Russians are laughing behind their hands every time Qaddafi goes after our people," Zay added. "So now we decided everybody can stop laughing at us."
"I think [the raid] was, you know, justified, but I also think it was, you know, stupid," said Brenda Leon as she perused the shampoo shelf at Midwest Beauty Supply. "I mean, why do you want to get in a fight with a guy who's probably crazy -- you know?"
"The president was right -- all the way," said Tammy Lewis as she window-shopped outside Security Jewelry. "But it scares me -- it makes me think of going to war."
The thought of war seemed unnatural in this peaceable south-central Colorado town on a blithe, breezy spring day rich with signs of new life. The willow buds were bursting into pale green leaflets in Pi-Ute Park down the street from the shopping center. Just to the north, the crusty snow atop Pike's Peak glistened with sunbeams against a powder-blue sky.
Still, thoughts of combat were on everybody's mind. "WE HIT LIBYA!" screamed a huge headline on the local paper, and the air raid drowned out all other topics on the local radio talk shows.
Security is a generally conservative town, where many soldiers from Colorado Springs' Fort Carson make their homes, where nearly every carwash and Kwik-Stop flies an oversized American flag. If anybody here opposed the president's decision to bomb Libya, that viewpoint was not heard during an unscientific sampling of shoppers and merchants at Security Center.
What came through among those who knew of the air raids was a mixture of approval and anxiety that seemed to pervade all age and ethnic groups. If there was a generational difference, it was reflected in a somewhat more gung-ho response from young people than from their elders.
"Yo, Rambo, stomp the trash!" declared a high school student named Mitch, who was listening to his high-power portable radio. He said he approved of "kicking Qaddafi's butt."
"Well, yes, I agree it was time to hit back at Libya," said a more subdued Margaret Power as she plucked two jars of generic peanut butter from a huge pyramid at Albertson's Super Market. "But I do not want to see our young people getting pulled into another thing like that Vietnam deal."
"I think it's smart to hit Qaddafi, hit Libya and not go beyond that," said Pete Deneen, a Domino's Pizza deliveryman who stopped at the shopping strip to buy a submarine sandwich for lunch. "I don't think the Russians or the Iranians or anyone will get into it, because nobody really likes Qaddafi."
"No sir -- we sure don't want to get into a war," said Darren Dudley, a noncommissioned Army officer wearing camouflage fatigues and shiny black shoes. "But we had to strike back to show them they can't go on killing our people. And if anything more comes of it, we'll be ready. Yes sir."