Notes: Homeland security chief Tom Ridge announced the new terror warning system during the week. It's comprised of five colors -- green, blue, yellow, orange, and red -- with green being the lowest risk and red the highest. We're currently in the yellow alert status called an "elevated condition." According to the Associated Press, "Bush advisers feared that the public was getting frustrated with the broad alarms."

I want to be informed about the risk of terrorism. I'm glad Tom Ridge is doing this. Still, as one who lives in a coastal area with the threat of hurricanes each September, I find that it's an odd feeling to be warned, but then have nothing to do about it. When there's a hurricane warning, we wait until the storm gets, say, 100 miles away, and then board up, stock up on essentials and sometimes evacuate. Everyone talks about the storm's likely path. But with the terror warnings, I haven't felt anything simply because there's nothing I can do -- I think we're supposed to be vigilant. No one talks about it to me except to say, "Hey, did you hear we're under a terror alert."

Remember those 1950s nuke-attack drills: "Duck and cover." If you were a kid you got under your desk at school. Many people built bomb shelters. We did something because of the threat in those days. Yes, those school desks were sure going to protect us from a nuclear explosion.

It's weird to have a warning about something you can't take action on. "Oh, we're in under a "yellow alert ... hmmm." The thousands of spring breakers at my beach are ho-humming that one in favor of radical partying.
03.17.02