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April 15. 2013 11:27PM

UNH professor: Keep things in perspective

DURHAM - Cesar Rebellon was in the middle of teaching a class on terrorism at the University of New Hampshire Monday afternoon when a student learned of the attack at the Boston Marathon and announced the news.
 
The classroom discussion quickly shifted to the deadly bombing that stunned New England and the nation.
 
"One of the things I talked about with them was the need to take a deep breath and stop before we jumped to any particular conclusion," said Rebellon, an associate professor of sociology who specializes in criminology.
 
Questions have already begun swirling around the twin bombing. People immediately want to know who was behind the attack, what the motive was, and how justice will be served, he said.
 
But he said people need to allow the authorities to do their job in the days ahead and he stressed the importance of keeping things in perspective.
 
While it may be hard for some people to believe, Rebellon said the number of domestic and international terrorist attacks has been declining since the late 1960s.
 
But at the same time, one thing that has changed is that the attacks in recent years have been more deadly.
 
"I wish I could say I had confidence that there would not be another terrorist attack in our lifetime, but that's not realistic," Rebellon said.
 
Rebellon said that a large-scale event like the attacks on 9/11 gives the perception that Americans are facing serious threats from terrorists on a daily basis, but that's not necessarily the case.
 
"We certainly have some threat, but sometimes we need to step back and look at things with a long-term perspective," he said. "In a nation that values what we value, there's going to be, unfortunately, some amount of this type of thing that's going to happen. The best you can do is be alert of something happens."
 
jschreiber@newstote.com


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