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Bin Laden’s dead but Auburn residents say their guard’s still up

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Osama bin Laden is dead and Auburn-area residents say they’re relieved to see one of America’s arch-enemies go. Pat Ryan, Placer County group leader for Operation:MOM, described the death of bin Laden as a victory for the troops. Operation:MOM provides packages of food, toiletries and other items in short supply with troops overseas. Ryan is the widow of a Vietnam vet. “But I want to caution people who feel the fight is over,” Ryan said. “Bin Laden has been out there for more than 10 years and he’s shown how it’s possible to come into our country and terrorize us.” And it’s certainly not the end to terrorism, she said. Ryan said that she accepts that bin Laden was shot to death in a firefight rather than captured and put on trial. But she added that killing him has likely martyred him and that might hurt the U.S. military as bin Laden followers attempt to avenge his death with suicide bombings and other attacks. “Now our military is going to be on high alert,” Ryan said. Auburn’s Raylene Pooler, 90, said she was watching TV when she learned Sunday of bin Laden’s death. “I think he deserves everything he would ever get and more,” Pooler said. Nearly 10 years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, Pooler said she was awakened by a friend phoning her right after the crash of the first jet into New York’s World Trade Center. “That was the most devastating thing to happen and there were so many innocent people,” Pooler said. “There was no excuse.” Pooler said she’s hoping that bin Laden’s death signals a turn against terrorism. “I’m sure he’s got plenty of followers,” she said. “These are troubling times.” Doug and Regina Hopley of Meadow Vista said they had mixed emotions. “I’m glad it has come to a conclusion,” Doug Hopley said. “But I’m a little uncomfortable with the way some have celebrated his death. I don’t care whose death it is.” “It seems like we’re lowering our standards,” Regina Hopley said. Andrew Cholewinski, of Downtown Auburn’s Amber Collection Inc., said that he’s experienced the slowdown in travel that has come about as security measures were instituted after 9-11 and is still hoping for a better way. The blame goes back to bin Laden, he said. Cholewinski said he has no problem with bin Laden being killed in the attack on the Pakistani compound. The only thing he’s unhappy with is the length of time it took to find him, he said. “Some people you can negotiate and some you can’t,” Cholewinski said. “He’s one who doesn’t deserve to be in negotiations.”