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Target: Terrorism: Americans Stocking Up on Antibiotics, Buying Gas Masks and Learning How to Use Guns

Aired October 1, 2001 - 10:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Whether real, perceived or just a natural panic brought on by the events of 09/11, there's a lot of talk of a possible biological or chemical attack on the U.S., and Americans are taking steps to protect themselves. They're stocking up on antibiotics, buying gas masks, learning how to use guns.

We have three CNN correspondents working different angles in this story. Jason Carroll live in New York City. Elizabeth Cohen in Stockbrige Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, and Bill Delaney, live in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Jason, you're the closest. We shall begin with you.

Good morning.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Bill.

And as you said, there has bee a lot of concern about the potential threat of biological warfare, and that concern has translated into the increase sales of antibiotics, specifically this one that I'm showing you here. This one called Cipro, and the sales at this particular pharmacy, the Zitimer (ph) Pharmacy at the upper east side have been more than brisk.

This right here joining me is Phil Zam. You can tell us how sales have been going so far this morning.

PHIL ZAM, PHARMACIST: This morning, as an example, we probably had 15 to 20 calls in the first hour of business, just for that particular medication, inquiries and sales both.

CARROLL: And how effective is using something like Cipro or one of these others that you have here that we can show you. This one is Doxicyclin.

ZAM: Well, in animal studies, it has shown to be extremely effective. As far as in human trials, that's really yet to be tested. So far, it's the one drug that they assume has minimum resistance problems for this particular bacteria.

CARROLL: And very quickly, what are some customers saying as they come trying to pick up Cipren or Cipro or some of these other products here? ZAM: Well basically, what they're looking for, as well as the drug, is information. The information we give them is that right now, this is the most sought after drug for this particular problem, although in short supply, that we are going to try to accommodate as much of an area as we possibly can.

CARROLL: OK, thanks very much. Again, that is Phil Zam here at the Zitimer Pharmacy. And not only are we seeing an increase in sales of antibiotics, but also gas masks.

For more on that story, I'm going to turn it over to my colleague Elizabeth Cohen. She is standing by live for us right now in Stockbridge, Georgia.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jason, I'm at an Army/Navy surplus store where they get 200-300 phone a day calls for gas masks. I'm Here with manager Russell Smith.

Russell, some of the people are sounding very desperate, aren't they?

RUSSELL SMITH: Well, whenever we've been out -- our main customers have been -- primarily women, have really gotten upset.

COHEN: Did they cry on the phone? Did they...

SMITH: Panicked, that they can't get it, and they think they need it just to get through.

COHEN: Disturbed.

Well, thank you.

You know, we've been talking to bioterrorism experts, and they've been saying people think they need the gas masks. Actually they can cause harm. Eight Israelis died during the Gulf War, because they put the mask on incorrectly and they suffocated.

Now in addition, even if you didn't suffocate, Each biological and chemical weapon would require a different filter, or different chemicals, and biological filters require different filters, and unless you know what's coming at you, you wouldn't know which filter to put on, and the terrorist certainly aren't going to give us any warnings.

Now let's talk to Bill Delaney, who is in Manchester, New Hampshire, reporting astronomical sales at a gun shop.

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, very much so, Elizabeth.

From your outpost there, a sense of anxiety out in the land, and it's reflected here and across the country at a gun shop. Gun dealers seeing a huge surge in sales. We're at the Manchester Firing Line, a gun shop here in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Jim, what kind of a surge in sales have you seen? JIM MCLOUD, GUN SHOP OWNER: Well, Bill, since the 9/11 disaster, gun sales have gone way up.

DELANEY: These papers down here are...

MCLOUD: Reflect that -- 62 firearms since the disaster. I would expect around a dozen in that same period of time. These right here are aim tickers for the people, the ones that are out there right now shooting. Thousands of them they have had since 9/14, because I was closed the day of the disaster and the day after, until now. Well that's with a two-hour wait Saturdays.

DELANEY: And one item particularly popular, Jim.

MCLOUD: Yes, it is. We photocopied an Osama bin Laden ticket we downloaded off the Internet, and we copied them, and we had a $2 donation to the Red Cross for every target, and we've gone through hundreds. These, along with a raffles that we had with my friends at subguns.com (ph), We raised over $11,800 for the American Red Cross and victims.

DELANEY: What's driving this? Is it fear? Is it anger? Is it a combination?

MCLOUD: It's a combination of all of that. It's the first time we've been attacked on our soil. People are afraid. They feel defenseless for the first time, and I've got people that have never thought about owning firearms that come in, to buy firearms, learning how to shoot firearms, including pilots that have heard that maybe they are going to have to carry those firearms.

DELANEY: We were talking earlier to a sense that people weren't protected on September 11th.

MCLOUD: We don't feel we were.

I mean, we got they got past our nation's finest law enforcement people, our FBI and our CIA, you know, abroad, they got by them, they got by them and they got to us; they hit home. The home city of Boston is where they took off, and they hit just these building, just a couple of hours a way from here. A bit scary.

DELANEY: Jim McLoud, Thank you very much, here at the Manchester Firing Line in Manchester, New Hampshire.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft warning more attacks possible here, Bill Hemmer, and that kind of anxiety being felt up in New England.

Back to you, Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Bill, Thank you. Also thanks to Jason Carroll and Elizabeth Cohen on different parts of the country checking in on this angle of the story. Many thanks there.

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