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Survival of the Terrorism Alert System: Threat Level Red
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Jim survived 9/11, but his life did not. Follow one man's journey through post-traumatic stress as he attempts to rediscover what once made life worth living.
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I heard a very disturbing bit of news this morning. It seems the United States is going to do away with the color-coded threat level alert system that was established in the days after 9-11.

Now, this is, once again, Obama harming our country. Why? Simple. I heard from somebody, who knows someone that once read a book about a guy that spoke to the sister of an Al Qaeda operative that they have Chrysophobia. See, while all of you cynics stood around mocking the vagueness and pointlessness of this program, the geniuses that run our government kept us safe by playing off the enemy's fears of the color orange. And Obama? He's just going to take it all away. Now what's to stop them from another massive wave of attacks? Not the color orange, that's for sure.

Now, the colors weren't quite as vague as you think. Let's take a look at what the original posters said:

Green - Doesn't require a definition since it would never be used, but they say it means "Low".

Blue - "Guarded" or, "We really don't feel there's a threat but we can't put green!" Safe enough to walk around a major city without bomb-sniffing dogs, but you may want to bring a change of underwear just in case anything unexpected happens.

Yellow - "Elevated" or, shortly after 9/11 we figured this would be the level at which people would begin to pee their pants, hence the color. We then realized that this was probably the lowest level the system would ever reach. If something happens, we can no longer call it 'unexpected'.

Orange - "High" or, "It doesn't get any worse than this!" Grab your children and hide in a hole. Attacks are expected. Change of underwear readily available for all members of family. Please use proper hide-in-a-hole etiquette if you find yourself sharing one with someone else.

Red - Worse than "It doesn't get any worse than this!" Bombs are falling. No need for instruction, you're probably dead.

Needless to say, they had to cut the additional commentary from the posters for the sake of saving space, thus the vagueness of the system was born. Oh, that and the fact that there was nothing in particular you were told to do as citizens based on the color of the threat level. Whether green or red, it was supposed to remain business as usual.

Now, I would like to take a moment to point out that I have not mentioned either Bastille Day or The French, in repentance for my behavior last year at this time. Nope, not one crack at those cheeky little bastards. I am reformed.

Back to the alert system, I will be upset that many jokes will be lost from American culture. Such gems as: "Hey, here comes your ex! Threat level Orange!" and "Whoa, baby made a ripe one! Threat level Red on that diaper!" or "Hey the herpes isn't so bad today, threat level Blue!" will no longer be uttered, other than among older Americans in the know. This beautiful piece of defense will be lost on the younger generations.

When our children are coloring their terrorism coloring books, they won't know which color to put in which rectangle. They won't watch CNN's news ticker for hours on end, waiting for the threat level to scroll back around every few minutes to ensure it hasn't changed. They won't know, like every American does now that Blue means...um...sorry, had to look back in the post..."Guarded." We are witnessing, folks, the end of an era.

So, on a day when our national budget defecit has crossed $1 Trillion for the first time, debates are beginning to rage over whether school aged children are going to be forced to take a swine flu vaccine that will have a very brief test period, a monkey controlled a robotic arm based on brain power alone, and Judge Sotomayor is about to face questioning about her seemingly racist statements, nothing touches the death of the terrorism alert system.

If only there had been a color-coded alert system on the viability of the color-coded alert system, we could have seen this coming...

J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. Jim survived 9/11, but his life did not. Follow one man's journey through post-traumatic stress as he tries to rediscover what once made life worth living. 10% of profits will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.