Thursday, July 07, 2005

Distraction: Current Terror Alert Level Raised to Ernie

The current Department of Homeland Security threat level has been raised from code yellow to code orange, in response to the horrible bombings in London. I'm disappointed that has yet to raise its public notification of this from Bert (yellow) to Ernie (orange), most likely because we've seen so many inconsequential changes that NO ONE EVER PAYS ATTENTION!!! I've sent an email off to geekandproud, so hopefully it'll be updated.

The idiocy of a color coded system is self evident - I take mass transit to my job, from which I can see the nation's Capitol. I spend my holidays in NYC with my family. I am one of the most likely people in America to be hit by a future terrorist attack. (I was within view of the towers on 9-11). I also pay the closest attention to such matters, work for the government, have family serving in active military service (including Iraq), and read about 2-3 hours of news a day.

And yet there is no way I can alter my behavior based on this warning. Neither do local police or military officials, since they are well aware of local and national security risks without the Muppet Alert System, and react accordingly long before the people at Homeland Security have their staff meeting to decide whether or not the level should be raised/lowered. The only purpose of the color coded system, and the publicity it receives, is to make people paranoid or lull them into a false sense of security. The time has come for whoever the political appointee who oversees this to grow a pair and admit that it doesn't do anything productive, or at least take down the system and let it quietly slink away.

Update: Geekandproud have changed their alert to Ernie!!! I guess they read my email. Yeah internet.

Update #2: It's somehow morphed into a Bert with Orange for mass transit? WTF does that mean? Should I walk home, or just lear racistly at foreigners when I take the Metro?

Update #3: Turns out that Homeland Security raised their terror alert level to orange, then lowered it back to yellow, except for mass transit. Again, WTF? Props to the heroic people at geekandproud for coming up with the appropriate graphic.

Terror Alert Level

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