Before Sept. 11, 2001, the thought of a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil was nothing more than an afterthought for the American people. Today, the climate is very different.
Many say another attack is certain.
President Bush shares the opinion, or at least seeks to err on the side of caution. He has allocated $37.7 billion to homeland security in 2003, $18.2 billon more than in 2002.
The form in which these attacks could come, however, is less certain.
Potential options for terrorist attack range from biological or chemical agents to nuclear weapons.
Cindy Gallardo, a junior computer information systems and finance major, thinks the attacks may come in the form of bioterrorism. However, she said it will mostly be “people playing jokes.”
Throughout the country, emphasis has been placed on the importance of every American to remain alert and aware of suspicious objects, people or actions.
“If 280 million Americans are on alert it will be quite a help,” said Bob Lawrence, a political science professor.
In an attempt to coordinate alertness between all levels of the government, the Office of Homeland Security has implemented a color-coded warning system. The system consists of different colored security levels.
In the color system green indicates a low chance of a terrorist attack and the alerts move up through blue, yellow, orange and red, which indicates a severe risk of a terrorist attack. President Bush up changed the alert from yellow to orange on Tuesday, the highest level alert has been since its inception. The alert was still orange at deadline.
“(Americans) need to know (their) government at the federal level, and government at the state and local level are doing everything we can to protect the American people,” Bush said at a speech in Milwaukee, Wis.
Colorado has a federally funded program called The Terrorism Consequences Management Program Assistance. This program has been used by14 communities throughout Colorado in order to help develop terrorism response annexes.
The armed services in United States have also increased alertness and security in preparation of an attack.
Rusty Quinlan, a sophomore wildlife biology and music major, came to CSU after four years of service in the Navy. According to Quinlan, the terrorist attacks inspired higher security measures for Naval bases.
Education on why the attacks occurred and future threats to the country has also been a priority in both the armed services and at universities like CSU.
“I put more effort into school (because of Sept. 11),” Quinlan. Said.
According to Lawrence, terrorists would like to shake American confidence.
“If [terrorists] can attack, they will,” he said.