Originally created 05/07/02

Color-code system fails

One woman lies injured in an Iowa hospital where she's listed in fair condition. A mail carrier has shrapnel in his arm and has lost some of his hearing. Another's worker's face and left arm are injured, and part of her thumb is missing. These and three other people were hurt last week during a series of pipe bomb explosions in America's heartland.

An unfortunate aspect of life in America is the copycat criminal - usually an unstable person with some whacky ideas and a curious need for attention - just like whoever has been putting pipe bombs in the Midwest mailboxes. Already reports of copycat crimes and pranks are starting to be heard across the country.

Being alert and approaching mailboxes with care, then, makes sense even in the Central Savannah River Area because unstable and immature people are found in every corner of the country.

But all of this raises a question: Even though the bombs were exploded or found over a couple of days and in several cities, and even though postal authorities have warned stations all over the country to expect more trouble, and even though this has been called an incident of domestic terrorism, the president's Office of Homeland Security did not change its yellow "elevated" risk status in its color-coded warning system.

In fact, no official mention of the system has even been made subsequent to these attacks.

During this first documented incident of terrorism since the color-coded system was put in place, the homeland security office has been completely silent, raising questions about its responsiveness and effectiveness.


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