'Closing argument': On hurricanes and terror

/ Source: msnbc.com

Both involve potentially catastrophic damage, and yet when we’re properly prepared for a hurricane the damage is significantly minimized, as was the case with Hurricane Isabel.

Yes, there was damage. Yes, there were deaths, but considering the strength of the winds and the fury of water, the damage was far less severe than it might have been.

In a way, we now have to treat the threat of terror like a possible hurricane. We have to get as much intelligence as possible to get a sense of where and when it may hit. And then we have to know how to act.

When it comes to hurricanes, we have a firm system in place-warnings, preparations, evacuations. Israel, for example, has that sort of system in place for terror. It doesn’t mean they escape unscathed, but they sure save a lot of lives. It hit me as I watched the orderly preparations for Isabel that we need a better, more specific system in place to warn of possible terror. The color-coded system means almost nothing.

Most people have come to ignore the distinction between orange, a high risk, and yellow or elevated. There are going to be times terror hits without warning like some tornadoes. But other times, there will have been warnings and like an oncoming hurricane, we need to better understand what to do with that information.