Yes, you're right, I would probably make a joke about a flaming Jeep Cherokee sounding like an extremely nelly SUV - - probably driven by Tom Cruise - - if the threat being presented wasn't so frightening.
In reading about how the U.K. is reacting to this bomb threat, I noticed something - - the United Kingdom has simple, precise and informative Terror Alert System.
And it's not color coded.
This is the U.K.'s Terror Alert System...
- Low - an attack is unlikely
- Moderate - an attack is possible, but not likely
- Substantial - an attack is a strong possibility
- Severe - an attack is highly likely
- Critical - an attack is expected imminently
By doing a quick google search, I found the UK government's web page that lists these levels, announces the current Terror Alert Level, and then goes into great detail to describe how the government decides the current Terror Level and who in the government decides on the current Terror Level.
The site even has a short paragraph describing "How the Public should respond to different National Threat Levels."
Then, there's our Homeland Security Advisory System
It's color-coded. I guess that's supposed to make the system easier to understand - - as if Americans don't know the difference between "Low" and "Severe."
Well, now that I'm thinking of my relatives, maybe some can't. Still, the Red at the top of the chart is kind of overkill for me. It makes me feel like Robby the Robot is going to leap out any minute, flail his arms and shout "Danger Will Robinson! Danger Will Robinson!"
And as Mario Cantone said in his brilliant one-man show LAUGH WHORE...
"What Alert are we at now? Yellow? Last week was Burnt Sienna. Where the fuck are we today?
Blue. Green. Red. Orange. It's a Rainbow of Terror!
Who designed this shit? The Gay Men's Chorus?!?"
But color-coding is all the U.S. gives it's citizens. Unlike the U.K., the United States Homeland Security web page for the Advisory System doesn't describe how the government decides the current level, nor does it describe who in the government decides on the current level.
It's interesting that Homeland Security has kept us at an Advisory Level of "Elevated" for so long - - a level which means "Significant Risk of Terrorist Attacks" - - and now that there actually IS a significant risk of a terrorist attack in light of what's going on in London and Glasgow, they can't increase the Advisory Level to the proper place in their system. And to increase the Level to "High" would be ridiculous and might possibly cause panic.
But then, that's what George W. and the people at Homeland Security want to do - - cause panic, keep the herd in line.
I have no idea who created this little edit of the Advisory System, but it perfectly describes how the United States government wants us all to feel.
Will we ever be at the Frankenberry Level again? Will we?