From this story on CNN:
"U.S. government officials are discussing the current five-color terror threat alert system to determine whether a higher level of risk should be added before a possible war with Iraq, government sources tell CNN. The debate is not over whether to add a new color, sources said. Instead, a slightly higher warning level may be added within orange. "
Now when a lot of other folks were bashing the Dept. of Homeland Security for their color-coded terror alert system I gave them a little slack, but this is ridiulous. “… a slightly higher warning level may be added within orange.” Like what? “Scary, Bright Orange” or “Almost Red?”
Others have suggested a number rating system (for example 1-10) I agree that this would be an improvement especially because finer gradations of threat can be conveyed with 10 units of doomgloom instead of just 5 (like the current 5 color system).
However, DHS won’t back down on their color-code system-- it’d just be too embarrassing-- so let’s compromise:
There are 5 colors in the current system-- why not just assign 2 numbers to each color (green 1 and 2; blue 3 and 4; yellow 5 and 6; orange 7 and 8; and red 9 and 10) That way, the government gets it’s “higher warning level added within orange,” and the rest of us get an improved, more exact warning system.
When I saw that story on the television news last night, I giggled for about five minutes.
It’s almost as though the US federal government is trying to engage in preemptive lampooning of itself in a misguided attempt to make satirists so pitifully redundant that they’ll just give up, go away, and leave them alone.
Well, heck, I thought five levels were too many. In England, we got away with just “Code Black.”
The real problem as I see it is that there may never be a need for “Red” or “Green.” Green’s problem is easy: I can only see it happening if terrorism of all stripes disappears overnight, which ain’t gonna happen. “Red” is just as troublesome–one would figure it would only be invoked after a major attack on the US, in which case (1) we’d be shutting the barn door after the horse had bolted and (2) we wouldn’t need no stinkin’ “red alert” to tell us we were in danger.
…I just want to know how Tom Ridge phrased the problem to whatever consultants he has on the payroll: “We need a colour that’s scary enough to keep people from thinking critically, but not so scary that they’ll be disinclined to spend freely.”
Hmm. Re-vamping. Re-vamping.
I have it! Instead of colors, our Terror Alert system should use monsters.
Thus, we could have Terror Warning Codes of:
…and so on.
Congress could tie itself up for most of a term in order to rank which monster was scarier than which, and thus determine the necessary ranking.