Terror alerts cause panic in citizens

An announcement from President George W. Bush raised the country’s terror alert from yellow, an elevated threat, to orange, the second highest, indicating a high risk of attack. The color-coded alert system was introduced after Sept. 11 so that Americans would know how threatened they should feel, but so far, the system has created nothing but fear and panic.

Since most of the nation has been on alert since the terrorist attacks, the announcement of a higher level of threat just results in fear. This is especially true because officials say they have no idea when, where, or how an attack will take place. They suggest that events not be canceled but say families should prepare for an emergency. How is anyone supposed to prepare for something if they don’t know where or when it’s going to occur?

It could be handled in the same way families make plans in case of a fire: Everyone stay low, find the nearest exit and meet at the oak tree across the street. Other than that, there’s no way for people to prepare for a terrorist attack.FBI Director Robert Mueller asked Americans who “observe suspicious activity” to report it to their local FBI office or police department.

Soon, like before, panicked people will be calling with reports of suspicious individuals — most likely those with dark skin — who are probably doing nothing wrong.

One such report after the attacks even led police on a chase around Florida for people who a woman said she overheard talking about terrorism plans.

The terror alert system seems to be President Bush’s way of making sure what happened on Sept. 11 doesn’t occur again, especially since reports came in that he had prior warning. Now, no one can say they weren’t warned, because today Americans are on a constant state of alert.

The alert system is well-intentioned. However, President Bush and his administration should use the warning to do all they can to prevent an attack.