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#705048 - 03/13/02 01:04 AM Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Its true. Just today the department for Homeland defense came out with new plans for a color coated system to warn of terrorism. The colors are: Green: little to no threat; Blue: Guarded ; yellow: moderate ; Orange: High ; Red: Serious. Currently, it is said that we stand in the yellow section. This system was pointed out to be horrible on a show on CNN today. The argument was that the terrorists will "play with the system". Somehow get us up into the red, let nothing happen for a long while, then as we start to loose our guard and slip down into the blue and green sections, begin their attacks. And there do seem to be flaws to this system. It seems to me as though its just going to cause a big panic sooner or later. And, what different do you do when levels get high? We can't possibly be on a much higher alert as citizens than we already are. Plots have been foiled thanks to our United States Citizens since 9/11. Potential Hijackers have taken down, people reporting unusual activity that got potential terrorists arrested, etc. I see no real need for this color system, in my opinion.
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#705049 - 03/13/02 02:13 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
Shadorunnr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 125
Loc: Oklahoma City
Actually, Amerian already has a "progressive" system for danger. As an example, a "tornado alert" simply states that conditions are favorable for a tornado to develope. A "tornado warning" states that a tornado has actually touched down and people should take shelter. By giving various degrees of danger we are able to take correct action. We don't have to hide underground every time a storm cloud passes by, but we know we should have the tv on or a weather radio close by during an "alert". The severity of the tornado is also "progressive". An F1 tornado you can hide in an interior room of your house, whereas a F5 tornado you MUST be underground to survive, and since few homes in Oklahoma have basements, an F5 tornado means RUN AND RUN FAST!!!!! I believe a national "progressive" system for danger is in our best interest. With the old system we didn't know whether to "be alert" or run and hide. Terrorists can, of course, "abuse" the system for their amusement. However, I for one, would prefer to know how dangerous a situation may be.
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#705050 - 03/13/02 10:57 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
I really wouldn't know what to do if a red alert was issued. Perhaps if I worked in a big city it would be different. I highly doubt my employer, in my current location, would tell everyone to stay home if such an alert were issued. After 9-11 anyone entering the grounds had to have a badge. But the badge check was eliminated on Monday of this week.

Nevertheless, I don't think it's a bad idea to have some sort of system. And I believe that inspite of recent blunders, the CIA and FBI are much smarter than any terrorist; especially now.

But I do have a problem with this 'color' scheme. Who is going to remember the difference between yellow and orange over time? Why don't they simply have a numbering system? 1 being the highest, 5 the lowest.

Derick
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#705051 - 03/13/02 06:41 PM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
I am well aware for the storm warnings and have been for many years. But for terrorism, it just doesn't seem right. As where you can accuratley predict a storm and its path, a terrorist attack can't be. Terrorists are just going to play with this system. Storms can't play with it, they can't just get us on a high warning and then stop and laugh at us and wait for our gaurd to slip before comeing. Terrorists, however, can. They'll be able to get us in the orange or even the red, let nothing happen, then wait for us to slip back down into lower levels and then attack once our gaurd has been let down a little more. Its just going to be all too easy for them to do if they wanted to.
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#705052 - 03/14/02 02:55 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
Shadorunnr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 125
Loc: Oklahoma City
Mother nature can and does "play" with the system. Here in tornado alley, we never know for sure when and where a tornado will strike. We only have "probablity" in an area. We do not know the exact direction of a storm as they often change directions suddenly, or drop a new tornado off the the side somewhere. Sometimes we have little advance warning at all. Since WWII and the cold war we have had "blackouts" and nuke drills. Both were revelent (although less progressive) warnings to the public. If terrorists "play" with the system, they will tip their hand as to where they are. Computer virus' are a good example. No matter where they started, the government, both here and abroad, usually find where they started. It is very hard to do anything without leaving some kind of trail. I say let them play with the system. We will catch them before they do any actual damage. If they wait till the level is low, then hit us hard, as in NYC, it will not be the fault of the system. No system is perfect, but a progressive system is better than no system. Just having a system puts us on alert. Before April 19, 1995, terrorism on American soil, especially here in the heartland, was unthinkable. If there was a yellow alert on government buildings in the midwest, then perhaps some parents wouldn't have taken their children to the day care center located on the second floor of the Murrah Building. Perhaps 19 children wouldn't have died. Would Timothy McVey play with the system? Who knows. But if someone had leaked information that there was a madman in Oklahoma City, the death toll may have been less than 168 innocent people. The first attact on the WTC was a wake up call. On September 11, because of the first failed attempt to level the building, people knew to get out quickly, and because of that, 99% of all WTC workers under the impact zone survived. (excluding New York's Finest) The workers in WTC, were in an "alert" mode, (subconsiencely) it had happened before, it could happen again. When it did, there was no panic, just orderly evacuation. We are at war. Every war has had alerts to possible danger. Sometimes nothing happens, but it is better to be prepared. Oklahoma City was not prepared April 19, 1995. The results were devistating. While OKC's disaster pales in comparison to NYC, it established a system for disaster. While not a public system, it did nonetheless help save the lives of countless New Yorkers. Perhaps if there had been a public system as well, more lives could have been saved.
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#705053 - 03/15/02 12:19 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Shadorunnr:
Before April 19, 1995, terrorism on American soil, especially here in the heartland, was unthinkable.[/b]


Might I remind you of the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center? A bomb set off in its parking garage created a large crator that was many feet (and stories) deep. It failed to knock down the buildings as intended, but it did kill and cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
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#705054 - 03/15/02 03:29 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
Shadorunnr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 125
Loc: Oklahoma City
In my post I refered to the 1993 WTC attack, "the first attack" I did not remember the year but that was the intent of that comment. Secondly Oklahoma is the last place one would expect an act of terrorism. New York, yes, several times in fact. For centurys the coastal areas of our country, especially the eastern seaboard were targets...Boston Tea Party comes to mind. Washington D.C. because of its political importance has always been a target. New York City, because of it commerse is also a target. Pearl Harbor, because of its military capabilities. But Oklahoma? No major political, commercial, or military reasons to attack. No figureheads. Nothing. The last place. The safest place to be. Once upon a time. The world has changed whether we like it or not. Global terrorism. Satalite guided bombs. Instant information 24/7. Technology overload. How do we sort through all our information? We trust the "pros". If they say 'Code Yellow' I have to believe them. They have more and better information than I do. They know how reliable the information is. We trust the government to protect us. That is their job. The color system may be nothing more than a pacifier for the masses. I, at least, feel better knowing someone in our government, is trying to protect me and my family and make me feel secure. Thats what I am paying them to do. With or without a public color system, our governments job has not changed "TO SERVE AND PROTECT".
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#705055 - 03/15/02 03:50 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Shadorunnr:
In my post I refered to the 1993 WTC attack, "the first attack"[/b]


Oh. Sorry, I did not catch that the first time.
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#705056 - 03/15/02 04:12 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Who can possibley feel secure in a constant code yellow? I mean sure, there is no immeadiant danger, but sooner or later, you know that its going to happen. Its inevidable(sp?). September 11 was not the firt time that America has been attacked, and it almost certainly will not be the last. Nothing we can do in all our power can stop it. Timothy McVey sereved in the United States (army, was it? I can't remember which branch for sure). Anyway, the point is that we were attacked then by someone on the inside. He attacked his own country. Why? We may never know. Didn't he come up with some crackpot story that an angle sent by god told him to do it or something like that? Maybe that was something eles that I'm getting confused with this. Anyway, before Oklahoma City, the World Trade Center (first bombing). We have also been attacked off of American soil. Our embassies were bombed in Africa, the USS Cole had a big hole blown into its side by suicide bombers in a boat, the list just goes on. Is a color code really going to make that much difference? I think that instead of a color code to make us feel secure, we should be taking action to make us as secure as possible. We can start by making plans to properly evacuate any potential terrorist targets in a timely and efficient manner. Your right, the first attack should have been a wake-up call. But you know, they thought "they tried, they failed, these building must be secure enough to survive that" but they should have gotten evacuation plans ready instead, incase another attack comes along, which it did, that destoryed the buildings. I would rather leave home thinking: "Wow! If something goes wrong today, my chances of survial are great, thanks to these new disaster plans" instead of "Oh No! Were in the orange (or red). What am I going to do if something happens today?" Well, if I'm making any sence right now, then its a miricle. Its nearly 1:30 AM here and I'm so tired I'm nearly falling to sleep at the computer.
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#705057 - 03/16/02 02:42 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
Shadorunnr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 125
Loc: Oklahoma City
First off, the CIA, FBI, and local law enforcement will do the same thing they have always done. The color code is more for the public. Secondly, I started thinking about an offhand comment I made in my last post and realized the utter truth in it. The color system is a public pacifier. It makes us feel more secure. During the cold war, we practiced "duck and cover" nuke drills, all across the nation. Citys that the Soviets had never even heard of, let alone would waste a nuke on if they had, practiced duck and cover. Citys that were Soviet targets also practiced this, yet duck and cover would likely not work in a mutiple nuke area. We did it anyway. Why? Because by doing the drills we felt we could do SOMETHING. 99% of Americans had absolutely no control over the Soviets, but we could control our envornment by doing a mindless ritual. This brought us a small sense of security, and empowered us. These exercises also brought to our attention the reality of WWIII. Because of the everpresent danger of nuclear war, we were very careful not to let an incident escalate. The color system is public pacifier, we feel that because it is there, someone is watching out for us. We also feel as if we can control our environment by watching for suspicious activity. We cannot control the terrorists, but we feel we can have an impact on them by being aware. This years Olympics, was considered a high alert period. Thousands of people, from many countrys, in a small area, with hundreds of cameras watching. The games are not immune from terrorism, as we found out in Munich in 1972. Yet even with a high alert status, nothing happened. Did someone cry wolf? No, we just used good sense. I don't think anyone really expects terrorists to attack only on "red days", and not on "blue days". We just need a pacifier to make us feel more secure, and to remind us that there are people in the world that do not like Americans.
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#705058 - 04/18/02 08:11 PM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
Jgoo, you suggested the same color codes as used by a lot of law enforcement and combat shooting organizations when they're training to identify and respond to threats on an interpersonal level.

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#705059 - 04/21/02 01:47 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
 Quote:
Originally posted by jgoo:
Who can possibley feel secure in a constant code yellow? [/b]
Let's start with a basic definition:

White: Oblivious to surroundings as well as any possible danger. Try looking at people walking around in a shopping mall for an example of this. Aka, sitting ducks.

Yellow: Alert and watchful for a potential threat. This does not have to mean paranoid. A kitty cat is not paranoid, but just try to sneak up on one sometime.

Orange: A specific threat has been identified and preparations may be made. To use an example from law enforcement, code orange would involve an officer identifying the perpetrator, drawing their firearm, removing the safety and taking aim. But for a civilian it could mean getting the hell out of there and dialing 9-11 on your cell phone.

Red: Action is taken. In the previous example, the police officer fires their weapon.

Also discussed is code black: The officer freezes and cannot function. There are several factors that can cause this such as fear adrenaline.

 Quote:
Is a color code really going to make that much difference? I think that instead of a color code to make us feel secure, we should be taking action to make us as secure as possible. [/b]
Color codes were not designed to make people feel secure. They do not give guidelines for the use of force. They do not give rules of engagement. They do not provide guidelines for the escalation & de-escalation of force. They were, however, designed to communicate in a clear and unambigious way the level of threat being faced. This is a needed function common usage among law enforcement and military personnel. Why not use them to communicate with civilians?

T2

P.S.: Getting out of code white and into code yellow is the first basic preparation you should make.

P.P.S.: If you want to feel insecure, try hearing a change in DEFCON. That'll make these color codes seem like romper room.

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#705060 - 04/25/02 11:20 AM Re: Color Coated Warning for Terrorism?
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Interesting topic.

I'm with the camp that the color codes are generally window-dressing.

To me, having a yellow, orange or red color designation on an "unspecified threat" is actually causing more problems than it is solving.

Until the public can become more aware of specific threats (eg., the latest about financial institutions on the Eastern seaboard) then just knowing I should be cautious isn't exactly helpful.

I agree that we need to develop a more alert and inquiring attitude in public. This doesn't mean paranoid, doesn't mean curttailing your life, etc. However, it would be akin to walking out to your parked car after dark in a public parking lot-- you don't want to be oblivious to your surroundings.

I have travelled to Israel and the general sense of "head's up" awareness seen pre-intifada wasn't at all negative. In the past several years, and of course much more so now, the terrorist attacks have made life there oppressive for everyone.

Don't want to send this off into a Middle East thread, just wanted to give an example of what I meant.

Nina

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