Biological Terrorism

February 4, 2000

Biological terrorism isn't something many of us think about, nor should we. But fortunately there are government officials that do concern themselves with what could become a major threat to our society.

A single squirt of anthrax spores or smallpox germs from a bottle in a crowded subway could bring a city to its knees. A few pounds of powdered tularemia or plague delivered by a low flying crop duster could be catastrophic. This is the concern of health officials. Germ warfare isn't something only found in the sands of Desert Storm. This country could become a target of biological terrorism in this century.

Apparently biological terrorism of a sort has been with us for some time. In 1346, during the siege of Kaffa in the Ukraine, the Tatars hurled plague-infected corpses over the city walls. It created an epidemic and forced the city to surrender. Refugees from the diseased city boarded ships to Constantinople, Genoa and Venice and are thought to have contributed to the Black Death pandemic that spread throughout Europe.

In this country, a British officer, Jeffrey Amherst (for whom Amherst, Massachusetts is named) gave Indians blankets contaminated with smallpox during the French and Indian War.

Fortunately bioterrorism hasn't struck this country, unless you want to count the incident in The Dallas, Oregon in 1984. Members of a sect led by Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh spiked local restaurant salad bars with salmonella, infecting 751 persons and inducing severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. No one died, but it kept people home sick in bed and may have affected the outcome of a local election.

This country has been most fortunate, but we must be ever vigilant. Biological terrorism could be used against this country and bring havoc to cities and suburbs.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.