Terror Alert? Reply Hazy, Try Again Later
by Michelle Rene (e-mail: MRene@liberator.net) [March 13th, 2003]

Well it appears we can all step out of our John Travolta plastic bubbles, inhale deeply of our non smallpox riddled air and breathe a sigh of relief. We’ve made it through a week that saw us all move from Yellow, which I like to refer to as Frightened Poodle Stage to Orange which I’ve dubbed full blown Dr. Smith from Lost in Space panic.

“Since its unveiling in March of last year the Terror Alert System much like a Magic 8 Ball has amazed people at its vagueness and general inability to predict anything.”

Our new skittle like taste-the-terror alert system moseyed on up to HIGH as of February 7, 2003. This is high as opposed to SEVERE which means arm yourself and your family against your neighbors for when they come to ask for asylum in your bomb shelter/tool shed. And They will come. But they didn’t prepare, screw ‘em! It’s every man for themselves, the revolution will not be televised!

Sorry...I’m a little on edge, we all are, that’s the point. As if this wasn’t bad enough 3 days later the affable Homeland Security Honcho, Herr Ridge tells us it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to head to Menard’s and pick up some duct tape and plastic shee! ting. The aftermath of this little hint from Heloise proved one thing, you can always count on the American people to sit quietly, listen calmly and then loose their freaking minds. No one had seen a rush on plastic to rival this since the Cabbage Patch Kid Craze of ’83. But then again I can’t find fault with the people, because the geniuses in the White House should know better than to make a suggestion like that and then not expect people to act on it. When this finally dawned on them the backpedaling began and Ridge emerged to say, "Stash away the duct tape, don't use it."

Which came off as basically the political equivalent of; ”Dude, we were only kidding.”

Yeah, good one guys.

Apparently what prompted all of this was an increase in suspicious chatter over our network of tin cans. Supposedly an attack appeared almost imminent possibly to coincide with the conclusion of a Muslim holiday. Since then its been discovered that much of the overheard covert chatter was more than likely erroneous. Only adding to the dark thought in everyone's mind that maybe there really isn’t anything any of us can do to stop this.

It didn’t take long for Ridge’s Handy Andy suggestion to be ridiculed by everyone from Democrats to fellow Republican and even Al Sharpton who figured the whole thing was elaborately devised to take attention away from Black History month.

Since its unveiling in March of last year the Terror Alert System much like a Magic 8 Ball has amazed people at its vagueness and general inability to predict anything. But back in the heady days of early 2002 we were all eager and ready to grasp onto anything that might prevent the horror of another attack. I suppose we still are.

But its not hard to predict that sooner rather than later all the warnings and alerts will begin to fall on deaf ears. American’s are learning to adapt. We bitched about having our nail clippers taken away at the gates but we got over it. We bitched at having our coolers taken away at football games, but we got over it. We bitched at having to arrive hours ahead of time for our flights, but we got over it. And all because this is life now, this is how it has to be, as a country we have adapted. However with that adaptation, we’ve also learned who and what to ignore.

We’ve all heard the cry of wolf so many times that at this point it would take another horrible surprise attack to shake us from our stupors. So we go on with our daily lives, we work, we go to school, we buy , we sell, just as the brass instructs us to. But what the government might mistake as confidence in the system is quite the opposite. None of us are more confident, we’re simply resigned to the fact that it’s out of our hands at this point.

Last week saw millions of people in countries all around the world put down their respective sandwiches and alcoholic beverages of choice and march in opposition to the juggernaut of war. The responses from our governments were summarily swift and dismissive. We’re going, end of story! That’s what they shouted to us like parents chastising their kids in the backseat of a Dodge.

So now they have new ads running on television that basically amount to telling us to be sure and panic in an orderly fashion. The terror alert system has failed, people aren’t listening, or rather they’re hearing what they want to hear. What’s resounding so clearly is that despite all the alerts and warnings and profiling and screenings our government has such faith in its own actions and preventative measures it’s telling us to be prepared to switch into full Howard Hughes mode at the drop of a dime. Enforcing what we all, already knew, we’re all in this together and we’re all in this alone. Because we won’t be able to depend on the President, he’ll be in a bunker a few miles below the earth. We can’t depend on Cheney he’ll be in an “undisclosed location” fending off heart attack #37. Nor can we depend on homeland security, or missile defense grids or in color coded terror alert systems. When the rubber hits the road, all we can put our faith in is plastic sheeting, duct tape and hope.

Further Study

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