Over 40 percent of Oklahomans say the “best organization to defend my family and business against terrorism” is the U.S. Military and National Guard, according to a recent poll released by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT). State (eight percent) and local police (16%) were favored by only 24 percent. The CIA was favored by nine percent and the FBI by 13 percent.
“I understand why people say they trust the military to defend them. But if we include prevention of terrorism, spotting terrorists before they act, or capturing isolated suspects, we should put our faith in local law enforcement,” Donald Hamilton, MIPT Executive Director, said. “We only need to remember who caught Timothy McVeigh as he was fleeing the bombed-out Murrah Building? Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Charlie Hanger.”
The poll was commissioned by MIPT and conducted by SoonerPoll.com on February 7 through March 4 of this year. The poll was organized in an effort to gauge public opinion in the state regarding terrorism and preparedness. The survey had a sample size of 339 likely voters has a 5.32% margin of error.
Respondents were also asked how worried they are that the United States will experience a terrorist attack, on the scale of 9/11, in the next few months. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed stated they were “somewhat worried” or “slightly worried” about another attack soon. Eleven percent reported being “very worried”; while 38% claimed they were “not really worried at all.”
“Home grown terrorism has not attracted much attention lately because the threat of terrorism arising abroad has been so real and vivid” Hamilton said. “Racism has long been associated with terrorism and we have our first African American president. We have a greater percentage of immigrants than at any time in living memory. Resentment about financial corruption has been connected with terrorism on the left and right. We need to be careful.”
Collaborative partnerships between public and private entities are a growing trend at the federal level in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and it appears Oklahomans are in favor of continuing that trend. In fact, 92% of those surveyed believe that government and private business should work together to make Oklahoma communities safe from terrorist.
The remainder of the commissioned poll is available for review at mipt.org.
MIPT is a counterterrorism center focused on training, analysis and information sharing with its origins in the largest domestic attack in the history of the United States, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.