Despite growing international threats, Carmel residents still feel safe

Despite growing international threats, Carmel residents still feel safe


In recent years, a greater amount of conflicts have popped up all around the world. Terrorist attacks, gun violence and war crimes have all affected people in one way or another. This leads to one major question: What do people, based on their location, view as the most immediate international threat?

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.47.54 PMA recent survey conducted in July 2015 by the Pew Research Center shows the top global concerns that people living in certain countries feel are the most threatening. The results are rather surprising: climate change is seen as a top global threat; however, Americans, Europeans and Middle Easterners find that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a more serious concern.

TERROR IN PERSPECTIVE: Sophomore Danika McClure identifies Qatar on a map of the world. Although the Middle East is generally associated with political turmoil, McClure said she did not experience insecurity while living there. REBECCA QIN // PHOTO
Sophomore Danika McClure identifies Qatar on a map of the world. Although the Middle East is generally associated with political turmoil, McClure said she did not experience insecurity while living there. REBECCA QIN // PHOTO


With the recent terrorist activity conducted by ISIS, these apprehensions are understandable. Jill Grimes, AP Human Geography teacher, agrees with the sentiments of the majority of Americans.

“Anything to do with ISIS would definitely be a current threat,” Grimes said. “The scary thing about them is that they seem to be everywhere. It’s kind (of) like a spiderweb, you don’t see them one day and the next day, they’re there, with a lot of links that maybe you didn’t see that worked overnight, and that’s what’s really scary.”

While many Americans would expect places near the Middle East to be teeming with danger, freshman Haniya Ansari thought the place she lived before she moved to the United States was relatively safe.

“I lived in Pakistan before I came here and I moved here when I was 7,” Ansari said. “There, I knew there was fighting, but it wasn’t even that bad. It was exactly like America there. I didn’t even know what terrorism was until I came here.”

Additionally, sophomore Danika McClure lived in the heart of the Middle East for three years from seventh to ninth grade. She moved to Qatar, a sovereign country located in a peninsula bordering Saudi Arabia. Her experience was similar to that of Ansari.

“The crime rate was a lot lower,” McClure said. “It was just considered beyond unacceptable to rob someone or kill someone without having a good reason. I definitely felt a lot safer there; I never felt threatened for my life. When I live here, however, every night I make sure I lock all the doors and have to hold my purse close when I walk by myself.”

It might be worthwhile noting that, while Pakistan and Qatar are both located in the Middle East, they have very different backgrounds. Pakistan has a turmoil-ridden history and experiences conflict to this day. On the other hand, Qatar, with its lands full of oil reserves, is one of the richest countries in the world with, according to the International Monetary Fund, the largest per capita GDP in the world.Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.47.38 PM

From a different part of the world, English teacher Marie Satchivi said she grew up in Ivory Coast in Africa and later lived in parts of Europe and Canada as well with no immediate worry of international threat.

“When it comes to international terrorism, I have never lived in a really big city in Europe so the threat of those events were very minimal,” she said.

Though threats like terrorism haven’t struck close to home since the hijackings of 9/11, according to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of Americans still feel that terrorist groups such as ISIS are a looming threat.

“Think about how many of us get on a plane, every day, and we don’t think about those kind of things,” Grimes said. “Our own homeland security director talking about how in field tests, 95 percent they’ve failed to find explosives. You put those two things together, and it becomes very real. It’s not something that happens in a James Bond movie anymore, or happens over there. It very well could happen over here.

“We tend to box people into categories, when we’re afraid without really getting to know individuals and that perpetuates more fear, more danger, and more aggression,” Grimes said. “Fear creates a lot of problems.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.48.10 PMSatchivi said she also holds a similar approach.

“I do understand how some people who have never had the chance to mingle with people from different cultures can easily feel unsafe in the world. ISIS is a serious threat for anybody on earth,” she said.

Even so, people who live closer to homes of ISIS fundamentalists don’t always feel threatened.

“The Qataris definitely view the extremists as something to look down upon and they give them a bad reputation, just like Americans who do disgraceful things give Americans bad reputations,” McClure said. “The Sheikh, who runs the country, is super involved with keeping peace in (the Middle East) and also keeping peace with his brothers in America, so he’s definitely doing a great job protecting everyone.”Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.49.11 PM

While many live in continual fear in other parts of the world, Satchivi said she trusts in her faith to get on.

“It’s more of a matter of being a person who has faith and believing that I will only die when it’s my day to die,” she said. “I am also very much aware of the fact that anything can happen at any time. Like somebody with a mental illness can just go wild and kill somebody around me, or even kill me as well. I am very much aware of that, but I don’t worry about it.”

On a local level, Carmel residents feel very safe in their area, at least regarding violence. Satchivi said that she grew more aware of natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes than terrorism and violence.

“In Carmel, I will be more worried about natural disasters than any international threats,” Satchivi said.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.48.30 PMMcClure also thought that Carmel was safe compared to other cities.

“Carmel is definitely one of the safest areas in Indiana, so I don’t have a reason to feel unsafe at all,” McClure said.

Grimes agreed. “We live in a nice ‘ol Carmel bubble here,” she said. “Bad things happen to other people, and we seem shocked if bad things happened to us. As a parent, you kinda want your kids to grow up that way. You want them to feel safe, you want them not to worry about ‘Dad’s gonna get on a plane for business, what’s gonna happen?’ Tempering that with the new reality that we have, that’s what’s tough.”

For the most part, Ansari, McClure, Satchivi, and Grimes all believe that Americans take sufficient security measures. “I feel like there is better security here because they are ready for anything,” Ansari said. “Pakistan is a new country, so they aren’t really ready for anything, they’re still a developing country.”

Grimes said that she was surprised at the ease of moving through airport security in other parts of the world.Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.49.02 PM

“I was in Ireland two years ago, and they could tell we’re Americans, getting ready to take off our shoes and people looking at us like we were crazy,” she said. “In Indianapolis, we have to take off our shoes and belt. They didn’t make us do any of that, and that was pretty shocking.”

McClure also experienced less security at the Qatari airport, and mentioned that it was a cultural thing as well.

“I think it’s just so unacceptable to do something negative or something terrorist-like there,” McClure said. “I could have all my laptops and I could wear a belt and keep all my shoes and they could just let me literally walk on through.”

Based on the lack of tight security around the world, Americans are taking big precautions in airports.Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.48.53 PM

“It makes you wonder, what are we doing right and what are we doing to make us feel like we’re doing something,” Grimes said. “Give a kid a bandage when they fall down when there’s no cut, but the bandage makes the kid feel better. Not really serving any purpose.”

Satchivi said that security is good, but the airport still contains risks.

“Travelling is more of a risky business than it used to be,” Satchivi said. “So, I perceive that risk now, but it’s not something that I personally worry about.”

Overall, Grimes and Satchivi believes that people can overcome their fears regarding international threat.

“My grandparents grew up WWII generation, during a time when the enemy was very different,” Grimes said. “You could see the enemy. Today, when we look at the ethnic makeup of the United States, it looks very different. You don’t see the enemy as clearly as you did in 1941.” Grimes also said that she thought having a diverse society is very important in today’s life.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.48.42 PMAdditionally, Satchivi also said that having a diverse background has actually allowed her to be more included in the American society. 

“The United States is an actual melting pot of different cultures. I’m able to understand anybody and I don’t see any barriers between myself and anybody based on their gender, their color, their race, or their ethnic background.”

Grimes said that she understands the present distrust in some Americans.

“In 1941, you knew who to be afraid of, even if you were over-simplifying it. So, sometimes people go to the other extreme, and they’re afraid of everybody.”

“There’s going to be conflict in the world,” Grimes said. “We just have to make the best choices in dealing with it.”