Remember Color-Coded Threat Warnings?


W.J. Astore

Back in the ancient time of 2007, you may recall that color-coded threat warnings were constantly appearing on our TV screens.  Those “Homeland Security threat advisory ratings” fluctuated between yellow (elevated) and orange (high).   With the lone exception of the State of Hawaii in 2003, the threat ratings never dropped to blue (guarded) or (heaven forbid) green (low).

It was like we were in an old Star Trek episode with Captain Kirk, stuck on a bridge that’s constantly on Yellow Alert, phasers and photon torpedoes locked on target.

Thankfully, the Department of Homeland Security finally ditched the color-coded warnings.  But have we ditched the mentality that drove them?  Are we not encouraged still to be afraid?

Yes, terrorism remains a threat.  I’m sure there’ll always be terrorists of some sort who seek to harm us.  But we’ve made a lot of progress in the so-called global war on terror.  We killed Osama Bin Laden.  We devastated Al Qaeda.

Indeed, as we teeter on the brink of national financial default, one of the bigger threats we seem to face is our own divided and ineffectual government.  While it appears a last-minute deal is in the works, it’s one of those “solutions” that just kicks the can down the road a few months.  We’ll doubtless be dealing with the same governmental gridlock — the same hostage-taking — after the New Year.

Hmm: Maybe we should revive that color-coded warning system.  But let’s apply it, not to the terrorists outside our borders, but to our own politicians who continue to threaten us with financial default and societal ruin.

If they continue to insist on taking our government hostage, throwing people out of work, and threatening us all with financial collapse, I’d say that rates at least an “orange” rating.  And if they persist in shooting the hostage (that’s us), I’d say that counts as a “red.”

Come on, Homeland Security!  Protect us from those who’d destroy our government.  Or are you shut down too?

2 thoughts on “Remember Color-Coded Threat Warnings?

  1. Oh my, Mr. Astore! You are clearly NOT a student of “Star Trek”!! If phasers and photon torpedos were “locked on targets,” “RED ALERT” would be flashing on the communication screens all over the ship. That said, yes, the years when we were all held hostage by Dick Cheney & Co. are behind us, thank goodness. But are we jumping for joy? I sure ain’t, as I observe the current president’s track record on “combating terrorism”: continued kidnapping of foreign nationals; continued detention without trial; continued assassination by drone in other sovereign nations (a missile strike on another nation’s territory, “limited” though it may be, is still an act of war, wouldn’t you agree?). This president embraced and expanded the war in Afghanistan that he inherited from his predecessor. The NSA continues to abuse the privacy rights (an outdated concept, that!) of the citizenry. Oh yeah, rest assured, Bill–“Homeland Security” is on duty, gov’t shutdown or no. And one last word on Osama bin-Laden: he was a creature of the CIA, originally a “freedom fighter” against Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Does the creator have an innate right to “terminate with extreme prejudice” his creation? With no trial, conveniently, taking place? Let me say for the record: I did not kill Osama. Please subtract me from your statement that “we” killed him.

    • I’ll take almost any criticism of my writing, but to suggest I’m not a student of “Star Trek” is truly a low blow. :-)

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