Warning: Useless Terrorism Alert! (Good News Week 16/6/08: monologue)

The Australian government is considering changing its terror alert system to one which is specific to particular locations or industries. High-risk industries for terrorism might include transport and politics, and low-risk industries include latex wholesalers, worm-farms and terrorist training schools. / aged care, garbage collection and pig farming.

The terrorism alert level has been set at medium since 2002, meaning that while a terrorist attack can occur, there is no known direct threat. Yep, sure sounds like we need to break that down further.

The government says that while they don’t know of any threat, they DO know who the unknown threat is threatening. / they DO know roughly who is threatened. Not that anyone is being threatened. / they’re pretty sure someone’s being threatened, somewhere, by someone. And that’s just mean.

At the moment, our terror-level of “Medium” means that “a terrorist attack could occur, but there’s no known direct threat”. So, basically, they’re saying we exist.

Clearly, a terror-level of “Low” would mean that a terrorist attack is totally impossible. And a terror-level of “None” is when the terrorists are actually giving us all flowers. / taking us out to dinner. / giving us backrubs. / helping us unpack the car. / feeding our pets while we’re away.

So if a threat level of “Medium” means no specific threat, presumably a threat level of “Low” means the War on Terror is won and we no longer need terror threat levels. Or the terrorists have won and no longer need to attack us.

So if a threat level of “Medium” means no specific threat, presumably a threat level of “Low” means the War on Terror is won and we no longer need terror threat levels. And a level of “High” means Parliament House is on fire.

We might as well be on medium-level killer meteorite warning too – I mean, it could happen. / It’s like having a “medium-level” plague-warning – I mean, it could happen.

It’s kinda like the weather-report saying “a storm could be coming, but there’s no known clouds.” / no known stormfront.” / but there’s no specific rain, no direct thunder, no known lightning, and no actual clouds.”

It’s kinda like being told to watch out for crocodiles. In Hobart.

Since being introduced in 2002, the terrorism threat level has remained at “medium”. Also known as “dunno”.

By that same token, we’re also on “medium-level” alerts for falling planes, being eaten by bears, tripping down stairs, being hit by trains, losing a finger, being caught in a shredder, spilling hot coffee, and being crushed by a falling piano. It could happen…

Attorney General Robert McClelland said that while there haven’t actually been any terrorist threats, he had a pretty good idea who wasn’t being threatened.

Attorney General Robert McClelland said that while there haven’t actually been any terrorist threats, he’s sure that they’re secretly plotting one, and that they’ve been tapping his phone, and that they’re creating robots that abduct him at night and there’s a radio in his ears and they tell him to burn things.

Attorney General Robert McClelland said that while there haven’t actually been any terrorist threats, the terrorists are most definitely out there. And once we find the right cave, they’re all done for!

Attorney General Robert McClelland said that while there haven’t actually been any terrorist threats, they’re just around the corner. And when it happens, as we’re burning to death in the rubble, we’ll be thankful we were on a localised warning system, and not a country-wide one, you mark his words. / And when it happens, we’ll be thankful we were on a localised warning system, and not a country-wide one, as we’re burning to death in the rubble of our ruined cities.

So while there have been no actual terrorist threats in the six years since the alerts were introduced, introducing many more alerts would be sure to justify an increase in their budget.

But surely if they know the detailed specifics of an impending terrorist attack, it perhaps might be better to attempt to stop it from happening?

Since 2002, Australia’s been on a terror alert of “medium”. What kind of pissy little alert is that? What we should have is terror alert symbols – like a skull and crossbones, or a biohazard symbol, or just a picture of two planes crashing into a building.

Rather than a single national level which indicates the lack of a specific terrorist threat, the scheme proposes hundreds of detailed lack of threats.

It’s a genius policy! Wipe out terrorism by red tape!

The idea is that if we introduce loads of different terrorism alert levels, we might confuse the terrorists into giving up.

Warnings will get very specific. “Terrorism threat aisle seven, terrorist threat aisle seven…”

To clear up the confusion, terrorist levels will now range between “Small Yellow Triangle Smiley Face” and “Big Black Octagon Squid Unicycle”.

Not only is the government terror-level still medium, but there’s plenty of bridges if you’re looking to buy one. / but they’ve still got plenty of elephant-repellent in stock.

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