I’m scared. Ordinarily, I would say “frightened,” a more dignified word. This time, go for the gut.

The all-too-real videos of children, mothers, old folks, animals hiding out in basements for days, weeks without adequate food, water or medicine drive me away from the TV. Think of the unsanitary conditions, the mental health implications, the separation anxieties. Even worse, reported in hushed disbelief, the rape of children in view of parents.

But, until recently, all that was Over There. We sympathized, not empathized. We clicked off the TV and sent humanitarian aid with somebody else. Then, reports that Russia was testing long-range “Satan II” missiles with the capability of reaching the U.S.

In other words, Over Here.

Almost as an afterthought, we learned these intercontinental missiles were capable of carrying nuclear payloads. This was branded Putin’s “saber-rattling.”

Sabers? How quaint.

“60 Minutes” did a segment on the consequences of cyber-warfare, of which the Russians are eminently capable. By shutting down power grids, communications, health care systems and transportation, Americans would, like the Ukrainians, soon be without adequate food, water, medicine and sanitation not in just one city but entire states and regions. Panic would ensue, leading to violent confrontations, pale in comparison to a certain World War III.

Several dozen apocalyptic films have proposed similar scenarios. They rarely end well.

I thought the world had become reasonably civilized. The “Soviet Union” was again “Russia.” And while Putin did some dastardly things inside and outside his domain, his behavior didn’t affect us immediately or directly. After all, Moscow is an ocean and 5,000 miles from Washington.

Other scary things include chemical warfare, with results beyond horrible. Even those who never watched the CIA in action on “Homeland” must know that our enemies have operatives embedded in the U.S. capable of who knows what. “The Americans” dealt with just such a KGB couple passing for next-door neighbors.

We bona fide Americans are accustomed to reading about wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, not watching them through windows shattered by shelling. So yes, I’m scared, reinforced by the fact that except for a few references to Sept. 11, newscasters hardly mention the possibility of attacks on American civilians. That’s rather naïve, given who and what the Russians are bombing and gunning down point-blank in Ukraine: apartment complexes, women, children, the elderly, hospitals, schools and churches, resulting in thousands buried in mass graves.

War crimes? Who cares, they seem to say. But surely Putin, characterized as a madman, won’t go after a small golf-resort town in North Carolina.

Doesn’t matter. We would suffer consequences, one way or another, especially being adjacent to the largest military base in the U.S., with 270,811 personnel occupying 500 square miles — a veritable bulls eye.

Everybody hopes that sanctions plus diplomacy will resolve or at least de-escalate the situation. So might be the case when dealing with a semi-rational adversary, which Putin (a la Genghis Khan, known for slaughtering civilians and destroying cities) obviously is not.

The alternative — fighting fire with fire — means everybody gets burned. Like I said, scary.

Contact Deb Salomon at debsalomon@nc.rr.com.

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(8) comments

Suzanne Martin

I always look forward to your columns Deborah. It reminds me that there is intelligent life in the Sandhills. Good points. Thank you for your insight.

Mark Hayes

That's not insight, it is " sundown syndrome. " Anger, confusion, anxiety, aggression, depression, fear, delusion, paranoia, hallucinations, you should be well acquainted on the symptoms. This column has all the above within it's content. The intelligent life in the Sandhills is alive and well. [wink]

Mark Hayes

Deb, don't worry about Putin, Biden is warning us , that our biggest threat is from those wearing " MAGA " hats. [wink]

ken leary

"The all-too-real videos of children, mothers, old folks, animals hiding out in basements for days, weeks without adequate food, water or medicine drive me away from the TV. Think of the unsanitary conditions, the mental health implications, the separation anxieties. Even worse, reported in hushed disbelief, the rape of children in view of parents." For a second there I thought you were talking about Palestine, Iraq, Syria, or Libya. Maybe you should stop watching reports from the Atlantic Council, the Council for Foreign Relations, USAID or any number of the state sponsored propaganda sources with which the MSM seems to mesmerize you. Russia is going to succeed in its effort, as it should; the truth will come out eventually, and people such as yourself will be forced to dig deeper into your delusions for justifications, or you will have to face reality. Every dead Ukrainian is on the State Department's ever growing list of victims of the USA relentless effort to crush the world under its flag. The world has said enough Debra. Your only choice is to put on your "Brown Shirt," or wake up.

Kent Misegades

Chicken Little. We’ve heard it all before from Stalin, Kruschev, Andropov and other loud-mouth commies. Bluff. Our troops belong on our southern border, not the Ukrainian. Let the Europeans deal with it - they’ve helped Putin by buying his fossil fuels and becoming dependent on their silly solar panels and windmills. Now they face the consequences. Trump told them so, but they didn’t listen.

Sally Larson

Well you know they also helped with Trumps 2016 election so I understand why you don't want to upset Putin by fighting against him.

Mark Hayes

Yes, and that MAGA crowd is an axis of evil, and you, are an idiot. [wink]

ken leary

No "they" didn't help Trump get elected. . You should know this by now. There is a mountain of growing evidence that Hillary and her minions were responsible for much of the deceitful, underhanded efforts to undermine Trump by connecting him to Russia. It is either laziness, or an inability to consider information contrary to "your" comfortable world view that causes this denial. And just to get this through what seems to be a very thick collective USA skull - WE, the USA citizens are not fighting Russia, the Ukrainians are, and the only result will be a destroyed country, many dead people, and increased wealth for our arms industries. Just what the USA neocons intended all along.

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