"Under the Terrorism Rainbow"
February 7, 2003
Greetings. With word that the terrorism threat level is being raised from its now standard level of yellow ("elevated") to a more alarming shade of orange ("high") I thought it best to consult with an expert about what this really means. So I called "Tex" Bilkman, anti-terrorism consultant and former oil man, for his expert opinion.
"Tex, thanks for taking the time to talk with me, today," I said.
"Hey, no problemo fella, glad to try clear things up for ya'," replied Tex.
"I heard the Homeland Security people are raising the terrorism threat level. As diligent citizens, what are we supposed to do when this happens?"
"Don't you just love the way we say 'homeland security' now instead of 'national security'? Has a really nice Germanic ring to it, don't ya' think? Seriously Lauren, you're not supposed to 'do' anything. Oh, you might start following around olive-skinned folks with beards if it makes you feel any better, but it won't make any difference."
"So why this big public announcement about the threat level being raised?" I asked.
"Did you just fall off the turnip truck or something? Haven't you figured out the politics of this stuff by now? It's all about perception and diversion. All you gotta do is raise the threat level and all other news goes out the window. You don't even need to have a credible, specific threat in mind. Scuttlebutt from those boobs we've got locked up for life without trial over in Cuba is a good enough excuse. Get with the program, boy! Anyway, once we make a big deal about a terror threat, the odds of anything happening right away drop to practically nothing."
"What do you mean?"
"Just think it about it, son. What kind of lamebrained terrorist is going to go through with an attack after we've raised the threat level? They're not stupid, boy. If they had anything planned they'd wait until the threat level was dropped back down a bit and everyone's relaxing again. And do ya' really think they're going to go after the places that we make a big deal about protecting, like ball games and such? Jeez, there are gazillions of other places to hit that aren't protected at all."
"That's not very encouraging, Tex," I said.
"That's reality, boy... it's the way the game is played. Get used to it."
"By the way Tex, maybe you can explain something I've been wondering about. The lowest they ever seem to set the threat level is yellow these days. What would it take to get it down to lower levels like blue or green?"
"Well, for example, if a giant meteor smashed into Earth and destroyed all human and animal life, we'd consider levels below yellow. But don't hold your breath. I mean, realistically Lauren, there actually is an elevated threat all the time. I mean, you think it's bad now, wait until after we free the oil... er I mean people of Iraq," said Tex.
"You've been a big help, Tex. I hope I can call on you again the next time I have a terrorism-related question."
"Glad I could help ya' today, but I'm getting back into the oil biz. Great days are ahead, and I didn't spend all that time in those damned energy meetings in Washington for my health, I can tell ya' that!"
"Tex, you're a true patriot," I said.
"Remember the Alamo!" replied Tex.
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For information about the author, please see: http://www.vortex.com/lauren
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