Week of March 27, 2002

Mar 27, 2002 at 4:00 am
Forget Waldo. Forget Carmen San Diego. Where in the world is Osama? Does it bother you that we haven't gotten Osama Bin Laden? (Part 1 of 2)

"You know, I actually am not bothered by that," says family-law attorney Leigh Joy Carson, whisking along Clayton's Central Avenue en route to the county courts. "I'm bothered by what I perceive as the conceit of our country to think that we can. Where does this come from, this idea that we're so big and powerful and we're it? Thinking back, Moammar Gadhafi is still running Libya; Saddam Hussein is still running Iraq. Why in the world do we think we can 'get' him? That, to me, is just a huge fantasy."

Independent cabbie and dedicated night owl Joel Pearlstein, flagged down on his home turf, Soulard, says it doesn't bother him because "eventually we will get him. The problem is that he moves. I mean, rats do move from hole to hole. But I got faith in the military -- let me tell you, it's still the best in the world. And, meantime, I think they've pretty much eradicated the threat in Afghanistan."

"Yes, it bothers me!" says Josetta Shipps. "It bothers me, because why does it take the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Marines to get one man and they haven't gotten him in how long -- six months? That's a lot of money to get one person. I think they might know where he is, but they want to give the impression they can't find him so this is a good excuse to continue the war, to keep the economy rolling." A fifth-grade teacher at Danforth Elementary, in Moline Acres, Shipps was in the Central West End helping niece LaToya Winn videotape an interview to qualify for the Ed Bradley Broadcast Journalism Scholarship at New York's Columbia University.

"They said they would bring him to justice months ago, but they did not," says Feseha Hailem, a server at Bar Italia. "It means he's still out there, thinking of his next move. I don't know what he is going to bring next -- he's already brought hell to us."

She was filling in for Humpty-Dumpty, sitting on a wall in the Loop, drinking a Hornsby's Cider and reading the latest Anne Rice novel. Misty Ezell had this to say: "It doesn't bother me at all. I think it's pointless. I mean, what's it going to accomplish if we do catch him? Will that end terrorism? I don't think so. I think that what happened (the Sept. 11 attacks) was terrible and those people who died were totally innocent, but it was a very bold statement against the U.S. government and it was the only way that statement could be made."