Notes: Americans are being warned nearly weekly that the Al Qaeda monster is going to crawl out from underneath the bed and rip out our throats. Moreover, since 9/11 is absolute proof that we must perceive them as a serious threat, it's hard to ignore the warnings. Still, the purpose of terror is to create fear. I'm sure most of us have wondered if at least some of the information gained through interrogation Al Qaeda prisoners isn't given with the purpose of creating more fear in America ... wondered if some recent Al Qaeda threats haven't been for the same purpose.

Yet, with all of the warnings, we remain at the same state of alert as we were on when the alert system began several months ago -- yellow. You'd think if all the warnings were true, the state of alert would have been raised.

While I want our leaders and media to give us the truth about the dangers, they both strike me as breeding fear in Americans instead of simply being informative. Unfortunately, politicians will use times like these to enhance their stature with the American public. And the media will sensationalize to increase its audience. I think it's a time for both politicians and the media to act responsibly in telling us what the danger really is in a calm manner that doesn't inflame our reactions to the information. I'd like to know, for example, how seriously I should take the Dirty Bomber, Jose Padilla? How capable was he of carrying out a dirty bombing? When I hear that terrorist scuba divers may attack, I also want to know what the likelihood is -- 95% or 1%; the chance of lightning striking or the chance of stubbing your toe. Cool heads should prevail so as not to help Al Qaeda in their terror mission to create fear.