Before the storm

Los Angeles Times

Talk of war stirs the air, everywhere. The mention of Iraq, Saddam Hussein or nerve gas can start jittery conversations, angry debates, patient explanations, intense protests -- and questions, incessant questions from fearful children, anxious moms, impatient supporters of President Bush and equally impatient antiwar advocates. * The concerns range from the macro -- Will we go? ShouId we go? When will we go? -- to the intensely personal: How do I stop the nightmares? Will it be harder to find a job? If terrorists attack the United States, who will start the family telephone tree or the group e-mails -- r-u-ok? Should I stash cash at home in case the ATMs don't work? Will gas, already over $2 for a gallon of regular, keep going up? Should I take that trip? Do I need duct tape? Will earthquake supplies suffice for a war survival kit? * Around Southern California, Los Angeles Times reporter Gayle Pollard-Terry and photographer Francine Orr recently stopped people on the street and asked: * "How is the climate of war affecting you?"

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