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Terror alert level goes orange
February 7, 2003 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Bush will raise the national terror threat level today from yellow to orange (CNN). This means little to us here in NYC where we've already been at orange. (At least that's what I've heard, although orange looks like a brownish color on my TV screen and a sort of muddy green on my computer monitor.) What, if anything, will your town, city, state, company, family do in response to this heightened threat level?
posted by jellybuzz (58 comments total)

 
Well, I can't wait until the war starts! We're sure to be safe then!
posted by goethean at 8:59 AM on February 7, 2003


Uh, same thing I did last time Georgie Porgie felt like trying to scare everyone...

Nothing.
posted by eas98 at 9:00 AM on February 7, 2003


I plan to be even more vigilant about researching the other things happening politically right now, since this annoucement will surely drown out discussion of many other issues for which there is plenty of public, relevant information rather than speculation. For example, I'm trying to find more information about the little dossier problem going on right now...
posted by VulcanMike at 9:01 AM on February 7, 2003


This is getting old. Very reminiscent of the little boy who cried wolf. These warnings for me have become pointless. What am I going to do lock myself in my house all day? If I don't even know where the threat is coming from what is the point of a warning?
posted by tljenson at 9:04 AM on February 7, 2003


Well, it logically follows that since we are now at Orange Level, we better be prepared to "defend" ourselves. Right? I mean, I personally don't know the exact reason for the upgrade, but I am really afraid of large spikes.
posted by valval22 at 9:05 AM on February 7, 2003


"There is a large spike in threat reporting that shows al Qaeda cells are possibly close to attacks," a senior military official told CNN.
posted by valval22 at 9:05 AM on February 7, 2003


What am I going to do lock myself in my house all day?

You know, what would add legitimacy to these 'warnings' would be if everyone got the day off from work.. Yeah..
posted by eas98 at 9:06 AM on February 7, 2003


the timing of these upgrades is always so ... particular. the threat-level indicator has itself become an instrument of terror. well, attempted instrument, since most people i know shrug it off. but i'm sure there are some scared old ladies right now.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:16 AM on February 7, 2003


What, if anything, will you do in response to this heightened threat level?

Well, like most days of "heightened alert" since September 11, 2001, I will probably go to my local watering hole and drink myself into a stupor.

What does a code red mean, btw? Does this mean that DHS knows with virtual certainty that a terrorist strike is in progress? If this is the case, wouldn't they be able to do something about it?
posted by psmealey at 9:18 AM on February 7, 2003


I will continue to be on personal red alert until at least November of next year.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:19 AM on February 7, 2003


I agree that there is very little that most Americans can do in repsonse to the warnings.

I suspect that the warnings are more meaningful for law enforcement, which may institute more security or surveillance during these periods. In the end, I do not believe that the government has much choice but to issue the warnings. I think most Americans would find it unacceptable for the government to remain silent if it has has information that attacks may occur -- even if the information is vague. Perhaps the government can work on a better, more meaningful system of warnings as time goes by.
posted by Durwood at 9:22 AM on February 7, 2003


I'm going to drink huge quanities of red Kool Aid so that I can pee the correct color. Yellow wasn't so hard. Hope we don't hit red.
posted by mss at 9:25 AM on February 7, 2003


Me and Orange Goblin saw this one coming an' we laid in a whole mess of ammo!
posted by orange swan at 9:28 AM on February 7, 2003


I feel a little queasy about this one...
posted by troutfishing at 9:30 AM on February 7, 2003


Kent Brockman: So, professor: would you say it's time for everyone to panic?

Professor: Yes I would, Kent.

[1F09]
posted by jjg at 9:32 AM on February 7, 2003


OK, it's on the front page of the NYT, Tom "Cro-Magnon Brow" Ridge does a press conference, how long do you think it'll take the White House webmaster to get the message? Oh, and I love the field just below the threat level that says it was last updated today. Your tax dollars at work...
posted by ubi at 9:33 AM on February 7, 2003


So what is the threat? Is somebody going to shower Texas and Lousiana with potentially toxic shrapnel?

That would totally suck.
posted by bondcliff at 9:34 AM on February 7, 2003


Anyone know how this chatter thing works? I have this picture of NSA grabbing key-words and plotting on a chart using wave theories and when the graph moves above a baseline kind of like the stock market it breaks resistence and they issue warnings.
posted by stbalbach at 9:34 AM on February 7, 2003


Question: is there any level of security that would not make NYC the most attractive target of terrorism?

Frankly, my biggest fears revolve around the tunnels leading to Manhattan. I am also seriously considering taking a hybrid bike to my office to be able to escape the City should there be an attack (best compromise between a traffic hell and walking): riding from Lower to Upper Manhattan, and into the Bronx, and then home. Very scary.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:36 AM on February 7, 2003


I think calling it "chatter" is kind of endearing. Like Al Quaeda is yelling "We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher!" or "SuhWing Battah!"
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:41 AM on February 7, 2003


You're more likely to be killed on a hybrid bike than you are in a terrorist accident. Besides, why have the colour names gone so boring? Why not Amber and Gold at least?
posted by skylar at 9:41 AM on February 7, 2003


(with apologies to Rob Grant and Doug Naylor)

"Forget orange alert, let's go all the way to brown alert!"
"There's no such thing as brown alert."
"You won't be saying that in a minute. Just don't say I didn't alert you!"
posted by zztzed at 9:42 AM on February 7, 2003


your'e not the only ones
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:44 AM on February 7, 2003


The wife and I are going to have 'terror sex'.
posted by jasonspaceman at 9:44 AM on February 7, 2003


stbalbach: "Take the phone conversation of your average teenager,”: Mr. Max went on, “And then multiply the insipid content by about hundred and there you have terrorist chatter.”

So as not to stereotype Arabs as terrorists, we have used the names ‘Abdullah’ and ‘El Asad.’”

Abdullah: What do you want to blow up?
El Asad: I don’t know. What do you want to blow up?
Abdullah: I don’t know. What do you want to blow up?
El Asad: I always pick. It’s your turn.
Abdullah: What type of nationality are you interested in blowing up? Italian? Chinese? American?
El Asad: I guess American.
Abdullah: Well, that does narrow it down somewhat. Do you have any particular state in mind?
El Asad: Why do I have to make all the decisions?
Abdullah: Because the last time I made a decision, you got passive aggressive.
El Asad: I swear to Allah, Abdullah, you’re just impossible!

posted by ubi at 9:44 AM on February 7, 2003


why have the colour names gone so boring?

Not as boring as the military operation names. These are better, though.
posted by mookieproof at 9:49 AM on February 7, 2003


My copy of Homeland Alert is still at yellow.
posted by jazon at 9:53 AM on February 7, 2003


Alert, Alert!

We are now at terror level "scared enough to condone war, but not scared enough to stop spending money."

This is Satan Ashcroft signing off.
posted by zekinskia at 9:54 AM on February 7, 2003


ParisParimus, you've just told the terrorists your escape plan. Dude!
posted by onlyconnect at 9:56 AM on February 7, 2003


Don't let the White House see that link, I'm sure the people would rally in support of "Operation Bisexual Celebrities."

Though I'm fond of "Operation Grab Your Ankles and Prepare for Our Imperialism" myself...
posted by Foosnark at 9:57 AM on February 7, 2003


You're more likely to be killed on a hybrid bike than you are in a terrorist accident.

Yes, but should I hear that a bomb has gone off near the NYSE, and should I not be dead, or vomiting too much from radiation, I would want to get away as fast as possible.

(I can just see the FBI doing a web search, finding the above, and knocking on my door?)
posted by ParisParamus at 9:58 AM on February 7, 2003


Lets just hope that the more we talk about this, the less likely it is to happen....
posted by ParisParamus at 10:01 AM on February 7, 2003


I, for one, will drink large quantities of alcohol and eat a lot of snackfoods.
posted by jonmc at 10:01 AM on February 7, 2003


Is there a record anywhere of these changes in the threat level? I'd love to see what events and administation statements have bookmarked the changes.
posted by machaus at 10:04 AM on February 7, 2003


I see that the code levels are taken very seriously by everyone. I, for one, am going to rip my clothes off and go screaming "code orange! code orange!" around the neighborhood to bring attention to the raised alert levels. Of course, living near Berkeley, probably no one will notice... Too bad.

Reminds me of War Games... 'Take us to Defcon 4' (Insert dramatic music here.)

ParisParamus, I've always said I'd rather die in a nuclear explosion that be around for life afterwards. I still stand by that meself....(not saying others have to feel that way, just stating my view on the subject.)
posted by aacheson at 10:07 AM on February 7, 2003


Tom Ridge is now speaking live about the new threat level (meanwhile according to the color chart over on the DHS shiny new web site, the level is still yellow.) Asked about the effect on domestic security of local police and law enforcement folks leaving for Iraq to serve in the war, he says, "We just have to adjust."

John Ashcroft now speaking. Asked how long the threat level
will stay at orange, he says, "As long as it remains high it will remain high." He actually said that.

It's official: the threat level is now orange. Back to you in the tunnels, ParisParamus
posted by jellybuzz at 10:08 AM on February 7, 2003


I think the best sentiment towards raising the level can be found here msnbc link, where if you vote on the left, there are almost 70% of the 30K votes as of 1pm EST today are for "doing nothing different".

I don't think that's what Ashcroft and company had in mind, but it's amusing nonetheless. I wish I was the marketing genius who came up with this color coding.
posted by djspicerack at 10:11 AM on February 7, 2003


Sorry, forgot link to DHS.
posted by jellybuzz at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2003


zztzed -

I think this one's a little more a propos :)

"Step up to orange alert!"
"Are you absolutely sure, sir? It does mean changing the bulb."
posted by jozxyqk at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2003


the Orange designation is primarily for law enforcement, I suppose. But it does beg a question analogous to this one: why do some vacuum cleaners have a "low" suction setting?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:21 AM on February 7, 2003


i heard there's a nuclear bomb gonna blow in LA in less than 24 hours and the freakin' NSA is helping the terrorists stop the anti-terrorists from stopping the bomb and the black president is hiding the whole story from us.

mmm cuthbert.
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:26 AM on February 7, 2003


"It's all a plot for OIL! Only ignoramuses take their government seriously when there is a terror warning! Especially when their government is THE MOST CORRUPT in the world which has taken all of our freedoms away and wants to eat the iraqi people because they are arab and have the oil! Let me be the first to say it : THERE WILL NEVER EVER BE ANOTHER TERRORIST ATTACK ON THE US, EVER. They made their point (9-11) and now wish only to be left alone to practice their peaceful religion!"

I could be a troll if I wanted to.
posted by ericost at 10:28 AM on February 7, 2003


why do some vacuum cleaners have a low suction setting?
to minimize bruising.
posted by quonsar at 10:34 AM on February 7, 2003


I'm going to masturbate furiously as soon as I get the chance...because you never know when you might be pinned under rubble and not have your arms free for a couple hours.
posted by vito90 at 10:36 AM on February 7, 2003


Oh my god, I've got to repaint my bathroom to match the security alert color! Dammit, why won't he ever switch it to avacado green? Or harvest freakin gold?
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:55 AM on February 7, 2003


Seeing those three Dilrods together, I couldn't help but think of a Bizzaro-world Larry, Moe, and Curly: EVIL CLOWNS.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:09 AM on February 7, 2003


Now that we've gone to Orange Alert, our Village has activated Rover.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 11:32 AM on February 7, 2003


We are now at terror level "scared enough to condone war, but not scared enough to stop spending money."

zekinskia, I think you've nailed it.

On the other hand, the increasingly prescient soothsayers at Debkafile called this a few days ago.
posted by 4easypayments at 11:35 AM on February 7, 2003


Me and Orange Goblin saw this one coming an' we laid in a whole mess of ammo!

/cocks shotgun

I'm gonna bag me the people who already took the Red Dwarf quotes...
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:43 AM on February 7, 2003


All I know is they've parked a police car next to the Picasso in Daley Plaza, so if the terrorists are thinking at all of having their picture taken next to one of the ugliest sculptures in the world, I think they better change their plans right now.
WE ARE READY!

(P.S. Orange? Orange?!? God, this administration sucks. Gore would have come up with something cool like . . . plaid)
posted by Outlawyr at 11:57 AM on February 7, 2003


I liked how one of the options on the MSNBC poll regarding the new alert was "Restrict the activities of children."

Parent: "Put that PlayStation down, NOW! We're on Orange alert!"
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:36 PM on February 7, 2003


Operation Underwear-staining Sweet Baby Jesus

from the operation generator above
posted by jaded at 12:43 PM on February 7, 2003


Hmmmm, terror warning level goes up and the dow goes down. It's enough to make one wonder if W.'s friends are into short selling. It's still amazing to me that the media is so easily distracted from the ailing economy and focuses only on the shiney monkey Invasion of Iraq.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:47 PM on February 7, 2003


The threat-level system allows the administration to show that it is doing something about terrorism. Regardless of whether it is actually effective or not, when the next attack happens it gives them an out: "Well, we were on Orange Alert, but those cunning terrorists were able to carry out their devious plans anyway!"

The system also may be an attempt to innoculate the nation against the shock of the event. 9/11 was a surprise to most of the American public, and this might have been a factor in how profoundly it affected many people emotionally. It may be that by preparing us with threat levels and warnings, the government is attempting to lessen the shock value of the next attack.

It might be interesting to read suggestions about how better to get the word out to the public about a potential terrorist attack. ...
posted by moonbiter at 1:33 PM on February 7, 2003


Look at the bright side: a frightened populace will make this fine piece of legislation easier to pass.
The Bush Administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information.

The Center for Public Integrity has obtained a draft, dated January 9, 2003, of this previously undisclosed legislation and is making it available in full text (12 MB). The bill, drafted by the staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, has not been officially released by the Department of Justice, although rumors of its development have circulated around the Capitol for the last few months under the name of “the Patriot Act II” in legislative parlance.

posted by homunculus at 2:34 PM on February 7, 2003


All these Americans muttering about the 'DHS' makes me think of a cross between the UK's eternally understaffed NHS heath service and DFS, a furniture store with some particularly annoying TV adverts.

I don't know what such a mix would be, but it scares me way more than any 'orange' alert.
posted by tapeguy at 9:44 PM on February 7, 2003


MSS: I'm going to drink huge quanities of red Kool Aid so that I can pee the correct color. Yellow wasn't so hard. Hope we don't hit red.

Try beets. They'll make you shit red at least.

Outlawyr: (P.S. Orange? Orange?!? God, this administration sucks. Gore would have come up with something cool like . . . plaid)

I don't think these alert levels meet the requirements of the American's with Disabilities Act.

MeFi really needs to get with the alert program. How about CSS changes to match the security alerts: MeFi orange. Will we ever see blue again?
posted by Dick Paris at 3:58 AM on February 8, 2003


Ahhh. The ability to play God.

A warning from on high proves to be a dud? The Office of Homeland Defense has done its job.

A warning from on high proves to be a disaster? A disaster for whom?

That thousands or millions of humans die which will have us all clambering for more of the vile juice they sell us as security? That's a coup. The coup's been done. It's all janitorial from here on out.

What a fucking shame. What a goddamn fucking shame.

Let's kill folks
and/or tune in to it as the US government brings us the bounty of our labor live on parrot TV
and/or buy the commemorative cup

Nothing really left to do.
posted by crasspastor at 4:37 AM on February 8, 2003


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