Friday, August 17, 2007

The Threat Rainbow

For the past couple hours we've been hearing announcements every 15 minutes or so over the loud speakers throughout the airport about the Department of Homeland Security raising the threat level to ORANGE due to increased risk and that we should report any suspicious behavior.

Personally, I think this is useless. The information is so vague and ambiguous - I doubt anyone has a clear idea of how they should behave any differently than if the threat level were labelled yellow or green or blue. All it does is push people's buttons of worry and mistrust.

Then there's the whole thing of having to take of our shoes to be x-rayed, throw out tubes of toothpaste that go over the 3 oz max limit, and have every single bag opened and ransacked to check for explosives.

Does this make us safer? Is this a worthy way to spend our time and resources?

I've heard a few people suggest that so many new jobs were created by the increased threat level that now some want to KEEP the threat level high to protect those jobs for all the people searching our bags and x-raying our shoes. Who cares if it makes air travel far more uncomfortable and less efficient. Of course, people wouldn't stand for that if they thought they were going through this rig-a-marole for that reason. So we keep up the talk of safety and national security so it seem down right fool hardy and unpatriotic to object.

What if instead of all these warnings about Threat Level ORANGE they keep announcing every 15 minutes, instead we heard a soothing voice wishing us a happy travel day? What if there was light music? What if there was just silence? Would we really be any less safe?


Jaquandor said...

Was there another post here earlier?

Anyway, I think the whole "alert" system serves only to ratchet up anxieties, not to accomplish anything really useful.

Heather said...

The problem with telling people to be vigilant and report anything suspicious is that we aren't trained to understand what's really suspicious and what isn't. You end up mostly with a lot of false alarms that way, and people doing things like reporting others just for wearing Arab-language t-shirts or saying their prayers.

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

You raise excellent points. I have always thought the purpose of the terror alerts was to justify the government's gross abuse of its power. The average citizen (you and I) can't do much but become increasingly anxious in the face of elevated color warnings. Rather, we are just more anxious and stressed. And all of this added security and proceedure still seems to miss alot. We are just more confused, more frustrated and more inconvenienced.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Just what is up with that whole toothpaste thing, anyway? My husband went to England a couple of months ago, they threw away his toothpaste, and he had to buy some new when he got there. It tasted nasty (we used up the rest when he got home) Why is toothpaste dangerous? I'd say getting a cavity is more dangerous than toothpaste is.

Ruth D~ said...

I love the idea of the soft music and soothing sentiment rather than the warnings. But here's the problem: if anything did happen, people would yeall and scream, "Why didn't they warn us? Let's sue 'em" Dmaned if you do, and . . .

Fraochán said...

Awhhh the government outsources all those positions....we are outsourcing more and more and more and more.....when will the madness end? awhhhhhhhhhh!

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