Fears of Ebola, ISIS have Americans on edge

On October 3rd, the terrorist group ISIS beheaded it’s 4th hostage, a Briton named Alan Henning. Like the other beheadings conducted by ISIS, this beheading was depicted on yet another grisly video tape. On the tape, Mr. Henning was forced to say, “I am Allen Henning. Because of our parliament’s decision to attack the Islamic State I, as a member of the British public, will now pay the price for that decision.” After the statement, the executioner stated, “The blood of David Haines is on your hands Cameron. Allen Henning will also be slaughtered but his blood is on the hands of the British Parliament”, ending by saying, “Obama, you have started your Arab bombardment in Sham which keeps striking our people so it is only right that we continue to strike the next of your people.”

At the end, a 5th hostage is shown-an American named Peter Hasig. If past is any indication, Hasig is in grave danger because America and it’s allies continue to bomb ISIS targets in Syria. The “Arab bombardment in Sham” referred to by the executioner is a reference to the United States led bombing campaign in Syria with Arab partners. If the executioner is true to his word, another beheading will occur when more targeted airstrikes hit within the Syrian border.

On October 3rd, the United States experienced it’s 1st casualty in war. Marine Jordan Spears was lost at sea when he fled from an aircraft about to crash, far above the ocean.

It has also been revealed that a small number of Americans have shown interest in joining ISIS’s fight in the Middle East.  On October 6th, a teenager in Illinois attempted to join ISIS, but was apprehended in the Chicago O’hare airport. Additionally, the FBI added a member of ISIS to it’s most wanted list. This ISIS member’s identity is unknown-the image is taken from a propaganda video, and audio of the member’s voice has been made available as a means of identifying the man. Intelligence believes the man in the video is a North American, and also concludes that the narrator of the propaganda video is also a North American, both assumptions are based on the dialect of the two speakers.. The reason the two are on the most wanted list is because of the extreme violence the video depicts. In it, prisoners are made to dig their own graves and are killed, presumably at the hands of the man now onw the FBI most wanted list.

The United States is not the only one with red flags raised over ISIS. In the United Kingdom, word came on October 7th that several arrests were made as a part of a disrupted terror plot. The five arrested allegedly were planning on beheading civilians, similar to a foiled plot in Australia two weeks ago.

On October, 7th, ISIS took over the Turkish border town of Kobani, despite airstrikes from the US and associated forces. Kobani is a very important city, because it borders the NATO country Turkey. The result of ISIS’s advance has put pressure on Turkey to play a more proactive role in the new war against ISIS. As of now, Turkey has amassed its army at the border in the case ISIS attacks. Turkey’s parliament has also passed a resolution allowing the use of military force against these forces. Turkey has stated that it’s preference is for the United States to deal with ISIS before such a situation arises.

On October 8th, it was revealed the United States was using helicopters as a part of the air war against ISIS. This is significant because helicopters are far more susceptible to anti-aircraft weapons that military intelligence believe ISIS has in it’s arsenal. Two similar military helicopters used by the Iraqi army have already been shot down.

Fears of ISIS have led to a series of conspiracy theories.  Rep. Duncan Hunter and former Rep, Allen West recently claimed ISIS terrorists were detained on the Southern Border, a fact that Homeland Security flatly denies and that there is absolutely no evidence for.

ISIS is not the only fear in the minds of the American people. Ebola has come to the United States, and many Americans are afraid of the disease. Ebola is very hard to get-it is not caught through the air, and is as contagious as Hepatitis C. The only way to contract Ebola is contact with bodily fluids of someone who is displaying the symptoms of the virus.

Why Americans are afraid of the virus is probably due to the fact it has officially come to America. In Dallas, Texas a man went to the hospital for what he thought was the flu. He was given drugs to help the fever, but returned two days later. At this time, he was admitted as an Ebola patient. Eventually he died from his condition. Around 40 people were investigated for possible exposure to the virus. Another person, a cameraman working for NBC contracted the virus and is being treated in a Nebraska medical center. Africa remains the hardest hit by the virus, with over 3000 dead as a result of the deadly virus.

In America, fears of Ebola have prompted several members of Congress to call for a Travel ban to affected countries. Instead, the US has implemented a screening process for airports to prevent infected Ebola carriers from entering the country, an idea supported by Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker. Sen. Alexander has called Ebola “as serious a threat as ISIS”, and has attended an emergency preparedness meeting regarding the disease in Nashville. On October 9th, Alexander claimed “The president needs to, this week, designate a cabinet level official to take charge of all of the emergency operations with Ebola,” Alexander said. “Someone needs to be on the flagpole”. Sen. Bob Corker also supports President Obama’s decision to send troops to Western Africa to help contain the disease.

Polling by Gallup shows around 20 percent of the country worries about getting Ebola. Americans are far more worried about ISIS, with a majority of Americans supporting ground troops, air strikes in Iraq and Syrian and humanitarian aid. Perhaps as a result, President Obama’s approval rating has rebounded from the high 30’s/low 40’s to the mid 40s. One thing is certain, Americans are on edge over these two issues-how that will affect the midterm elections remains to be seen.

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