As we continue to wage war against terrorism, the United States is starting to face some of the repercussions.
As of Feb.7, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security informed Americans of a heightened state of alert, moving the country from a “Code Yellow” (elevated) into “Code Orange” (high).
The government began prepping Americans for a potential terrorist attack involving biological, chemical or radiological weapons.
Officials warned the public of the use of “dirty bombs,” which are bombs that spread radioactive material, as al-Qaeda attempts to strike back during the time of the Islamic religion pilgrimage to Mecca, the hajj.
The government has responded by releasing a list of items that households should carry in case Americans are caught in chemical warfare.
Each household should have at least a gallon of water per day for every resident, a battery powered radio with extra batteries, non-perishable food, over the counter and prescription medication, flashlights, a non-electric can opener, a wrench, copies of important documents, duct tape and plastic sheeting.
“I think that nobody can completely prepare for anything that might happen, and they can’t step up security’forever,” said Temple student Greg Conant.
When Temple University studente were asked abou these security measures, they mostly agreed that they don’t feel very threatened or on edge, especially since things have calmed since Sept. 11.
“I think a lot of people around campus have been joking around that they’re going to get plastic sheets because Philly isn’t a real target,” said Temple junior Riccardo Olivieri.
“I don’t know what it’s like to be in New York or D.C. and have a big target on you.”
The government’s suggestions seem to have been taken with a grain of salt.
Twenty-one-year-old Maggie Castellano paralleled the techniques to the “duck and cover” techniques from the World War II era.
Castellano said she divides the nation into two: those that mock the latest tactics and those that have already covered their windows, praying that nothing will happen.
American studies major Jennie Greytak falls into the first category.
“The government is no more sure of [a terrorist attack] right now than they are at any other time,” said Graytak.
“If they throw out a severe warning every once in a while, then the people feel as though the government is doing something and they know something.”
Whether the government is valid in its suggestions or not, the media distribution of this information has been limited.
A few articles published in the newspapers and some airtime on the local news is the extent of the spread of the information.
Many students are not aware of the government warnings.
Others have heard bits and pieces, yet cannot elaborate on the topic.
Is this broken information detrimental?
“Sometimes I believe that these alerts from the government are only scaring people more than anything, mainly because they are so vague,” said journalism major Megan Nolan.
“I’d probably be more cautious if I knew what exactly was going to happen.”
There are some that are prepared to take the government’s warnings to heart, while others laugh it off.
Others just see this as the consequence to a problem the United States continues to face as it enforces its right as a world superpower.
“This country should stop making much of the rest of the world hate it, partly by not messing around with all these countries in the first place,” said Conant.
“The only way to be completely safe is to not do anything that might warrant an attack.”
Pooja Shah can be reached at Pshah004@temple.edu.