I've been living in the US since leaving my hometown of Brighton in 1995.

I've never seen Americans so angry and hurt. Something very central to the American character changed when the World Trade Centre was attacked. People's sense of security has been shattered.

Watching a TV report of kids asking perplexedly why America had been attacked and could it happen again, I realised these children have never had to worry about the threat of terrorism - such a common occurrence growing up in England during the Seventies and Eighties.

I spoke with co-workers in New York immediately after the attack. My company's office is several blocks from where the WTC stood but the noise of fire engines and smoke was everywhere. The phone lines out of New York were blocked so we communicated by Instant Messenger.

My friends and co-workers were in a state of shock. There was an utter disbelief that this had happened in their city. Most Americans I know spent all day watching the dreadful news reports roll in. It wasn't uncommon for people to have spent a full 16 hours in front of the TV.

When I woke up on Wednesday, I found a very different tone dominating the headlines, the radio and people's conversations.

Americans' sense of invulnerability has been ruptured. After the shock, anger is welling up like a volcano. Radio chat shows are full of callers who want to "kill the people responsible" without really understanding who they want to kill. People are saying they don't care if innocents have to die to satisfy their sense of outrage.

Of course, there are conscientious objectors. A rally in San Francisco promoted understanding and tolerance towards the sizeable Middle Eastern community who live there. Already, there are scattered reports of threats to Muslims and mosques being shot at in Texas.

The immediate future does not look good for privacy rights and military spending because the attack is used to justify some pretty draconian policymaking. A recent poll showed a majority of Americans would be willing to give up their rights for more security - this from a nation of individuals who refuse to ban guns because they have a right to carry them, regardless of the annual death toll.

I'm scared the worst is being brought out in people here and scared what Bush will do to appease an angry US public.

-Adam Carey, Vallejo, California