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The View From Kansas

Time will tell whether patriotism will overcome emotionalism.

Early Friday I asked my associate Brian Harris, who lives in Lawrence, Kan., to check in on what folks in the center of the center of the Midwest were thinking. He called an old family friend of his, Stephen Edmonds, who has been a broker for 32 years. His brief interview is worth reading.

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Brian started by asking Edmonds what he's hearing from clients.

"We don't have very many people call and want to sell," Edmonds said. "We have a few. But I'm talking about, out of a book of a thousand clients, we have three or four that are kind of panicked and want to sell initially. But most of our people are doing nothing. They kind of want to wait and see what the response will be to the market.

"We are in the process of mailing out letters to our clients, and we are calling some clients. But we're just kind of talking about in the past what has happened in unexpected events like Pearl Harbor and JFK's assassination and the invasion of Kuwait and all those sorts of things. So, we're trying to get in front of our clients that way." (Check out two articles on

about this, one by

Gary B. Smith and another by

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K.C. Swanson .)

Well, said Brian, "When you say some folks are wanting to sell, you mean sell their entire account?"

"Yeah, or change from an equity position in their mutual funds over to a money market fund -- something like that. So, we've had some of that.

"But we've just had an interesting thing happen, and we've had it twice today. We've had two people call up and for patriotic reasons are investing quite a lot of money, and I think that's kind of interesting. One person's investing $188,000 at the opening, and that just happens to be the cash on hand. But he is buying for patriotic reasons. And, so, that will happen some in here. There will be some people who will do that."

If enough people think that way this time, in the face of a calamity, this time it really may really be different.

Herb Greenberg writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback and invites you to send any to

Herb Greenberg. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.

Brian Harris and Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.