NEW YORK, Sept 20 (AP): After a round of frightening domestic attacks, Americans plodded on in the comfort of routine Monday, either resilient in the face of terror or numbed by their battle scars.
Fresh off a weekend in which blasts shook a New York neighborhood and a New Jersey shore town, pipe bombs were found in a suburban railroad station and a Minnesota mall became the scene of a string of stabbings, the country started the week wondering whether it was all part of a new normal.
"I think that this is part of life now," said Craig Filiberto, a 56-year-old accountant enjoying a pack of peanut M&Ms across from Penn Station in New York, where police and military vehicles were parked outside and officers stood guard.
He had an office with a view of the World Trade Center when it was leveled and finds himself more conscious of where exits are wherever he goes. But the latest attacks didn't make him fearful, because it just seems a part of life here.
"You know that we're always a target," he said.
On the other end of an outdoor plaza, 25-year-old Susan Rosello said she always feels a bit more on edge in midtown Manhattan versus her home in the Bronx. She has made minor adjustments to be sure she's aware of her surroundings, like lowering the music on her headphones. Still, events like the explosion Saturday that hurt 29 people make her feel somewhat uneasy but not scared, said the administrative assistant and costume designer.
"When you're inundated with this stuff all the time, you're sort of just desensitized to these things," she said. "Otherwise, you'd hide in a hole."
And so, life went on in this city and around the country. On an Amtrak train stalled for hours in New Jersey on Sunday night as police investigated five explosive devices in a train station garbage can, passengers stayed calm as they read news of the developments. Around New York early Monday, cellphones buzzed with an emergency alert to be on the lookout for a suspect, even as commuters emerged from subway tunnels with potential targets like the Freedom Tower looming against cloudy skies. President Barack Obama urged vigilance while insisting people shouldn't succumb to fear.
"If it's going to happen, it's going to happen," said Mike Mastrangelo, who was awaiting a train to New York from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, on Monday.
Although it's clear the drumbeat of scary headlines has gotten people's attention, it's too soon to assess whether they are simply numb to it all or stricken with fear, said Charles Figley, who heads Tulane University's Traumatology Institute and is a founding editor of the Journal of Traumatic Stress.
"All these events send them such an overwhelming amount of data that they just want to duck their head," he said. "We're primed for it, but we're also adapting to it."