Local officials react to recent threat

North Korea’s threat that “the moment of explosion is approaching fast” prompted an outpouring of concern from local officials Wednesday about a possible nuclear strike.

“I think it’s a situation that the United States has to monitor and is monitoring very closely,” Randolph County Commissioner Mike Taylor said Wednesday evening. “He (Kim Jong-un) needs to be taken very seriously. With his lack of experience in international affairs, I don’t think he realizes the ramifications of what he’s doing.

“I hope there’s not a small incident that would escalate into something large that would be regrettable later,” Taylor added.

Del. Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, said she, too, was concerned by the threat.

“Any threat to the United States is of great concern,” Campbell said, “but I have confidence in our military, and know they will take the appropriate action to keep us safe.”

Campbell said the news was quite disturbing.

“We have had to face so much war and conflicts,” Campbell said.

“I want us to be at peace. North Korea is very unstable, but I am not sure they possess the weaponry to reach the United States. I hope this threat does not go into something that puts our military and families at risk and in harm’s way.”

Jim Wise, director of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management, doesn’t believe there is any immediate physical danger to West Virginians, but said the entire country will suffer, should North Korea act on its threats.

“If they had the ability to carry through with this, then people here locally should be concerned about this country as a whole,” Wise said, “but there would be nothing imminent here due to the fact that I don’t believe they have the ability to reach this far east.

“The immediate threat would be to the West,” Wise continued. “The impact would still be felt here economically and it would affect those here with relatives out West. Ultimately, (the entire country) would be affected in some way.”

Elkins resident Roger Ware said the news of the possible strike is tragic. Ware served in the Navy 32 years, 28 of which were attached to the Marine Corps.

“I think North Korea is in terrible trouble if they try to launch nuclear weapons at the United States,” Ware said. “The U.S. has carriers with 90 planes stationed near North Korea. These could obliterate North Korea. If this threat is legitimate, there could be terrible damage on both sides. It would be a terrible tragedy.”