Young adults question safety after Boston bombing

(CBS News) BOSTON - Before the Boston bombing, it has been nearly 12 years since the last major terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Among the fallout is the question many Americans are asking once again: 'Just how safe are we?' We spoke to some teens who are asking that question for the first time.

"There were all these people screaming and there were like a lot of loud noises," remembered Hannah Wolfberg.

Clockwise from the left: Hannah Wolfberg, Lily Henderson, Sasha Morris and Stephanie Henderson spoke to CBS News' Dr. Jon LaPook on their feelings about safety following the Boston Marathon bombing attack.
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She and her best friend Lily Henderson were shopping one block away from where the bombs went off.

"It's hard to describe but it looked like sheer terror," said Hannah.

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Lily said it was like something one sees in the movies. "It was literally like that. Everyone was running as fast as they could away from the explosion," she said.

Lily's cousin, 23-year-old Stephanie Henderson, was standing midway between the two explosions.

"The most frightening part of the day was," Stephanie said, "that the news kept reporting that there were more undetonated bombs across the city. So the idea was you couldn't go anywhere, you didn't know where the next explosion was."

Fifteen-year-old Sasha Morris' brush with terror came four days later, when his neighborhood became the center of the hunt for bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

"I was so nervous," said Sasha. "There was so much pent up emotions in me. I just tried to let it all out [by] texting my friends and Facebook, posting stuff, messaging people."

So what were grownups saying to them in the last week to make you feel better? "They kept saying, 'Don't worry, there's not going to be another one. Don't worry you're safe,'" said Hannah, who acknowledged she didn't believe them. "And that was the scariest part was I was thinking, "No, you're wrong. How do you know that?'"

As for how she handled it after the marathon, Lily said, "I feel like it hasn't really sunk in yet."

"Is the environment that we're in today," said Stephanie, "where things like this happen all too often -- is that always going to be the environment we're in? When I have kids in 10-15 years are we going to feel safer, less safe? "

"You can't forget it," said Hannah. "But then you also have to make sure you're OK and not think about it 24-7. You know, focus on normal high school teenage things. I think that's the only way to be OK right now."

  • Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook

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