Handling of LA schools shutdown offers a civics lesson
A Congressman’s Step-By-Step Guide to the Perfect Terrorist Hoax.
On Tuesday morning, as the nation’s second-largest school district was shutting down in response to a suspected terrorist threat, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took the microphone at a news conference led by L.A.The conventional wisdom coming out of Tuesday night’s debate has it that Chris Christie did nothing to either dramatically improve or terribly hurt his quest to prove that a living, breathing New Jersey stereotype can get elected president.MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Public schools in Miami-Dade County are open as usual Thursday after receiving a threat that several levels of law enforcement have deemed “less than credible,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools, officials said early today.The threatening letter that prompted the shutdown of every public school in Los Angeles earlier this week was obtained and published by local media outlets Wednesday.
While officials continue to investigate the threats that closed all Los Angeles schools, security experts agree there will be a lot of second-guessing and, what’s worse, most likely copycats. Later in the day, the city of New York revealed that it too had received a “similar” email, but did not deem it “credible,” which necessitated that officials in L.A. explain why they decided to abruptly tell some 600,000 kids to stay home. The nation’s second-largest district abruptly canceled classes Tuesday amid a “credible threat” of violence involving backpacks and packages across the city.
He unabashedly lied in the service of his self-aggrandizing narrative, which paints him as a bold anti-terrorist warrior baptized in the fire of 9/11 — behavior that, in a better world, would disqualify him from ever again showing his face in polite society. The sender threatened that “something very big” would happen, warning that he or she was a “devout Muslim” who had “teamed up with a local jihadist cell” and planted “bombs hidden in lockers at several schools.” Something big is going down.
At campuses throughout Orange County, police cranked up patrols Tuesday as neighboring Los Angeles Unified School District shut down after receiving what administrators described as a credible threat. But officials in New York who received a similar threat concluded it was a hoax. “Every situation is different and has to be taken seriously in context of the times we’re living in,” said Kathy Martinez-Prather, director of the Texas School Safety Center, which plans and trains districts on security initiatives. “If you get a phone call of a bomb threat, sometimes the best response is to not evacuate. In the world of right-wing politics, it will probably get him a few more millions in super PAC funds and a few more months of press until he folds his campaign and slinks off to spend his post-gubernatorial career in the same netherworld to which the GOP has banished that other notorious 9/11 pitchman, Rudy Giuliani. In a statement released by Miami-Dade Schools, “Miami-Dade Schools Police Department has established communications with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and at this time the threat is deemed as less than credible. He released a detailed statement—which you can read on his website—explaining the differences between the emails received by each city, and why decision makers in L.A. perceived theirs to be more serious.
We know now that at Columbine, for example, there were bombs in the parking lot, and they wanted people to go to the parking lot.” Behind the scenes, they look at the nature of a threat — how it was delivered, how specific — as well as what is happening at the school at the time, such as sporting events, testing or gang clashes. Regardless, the lesson for hoaxers here is obvious: make sure you don’t sound like a foreign nob if you’re trying to position yourself as an insider. So it’s necessary for law enforcement and school officials to talk about how to respond before any threat occurs so that everyone knows the policies and procedures in place.
Chief Craig Miller, who oversees the Dallas Independent School District’s force, said parent reaction will always be mixed no matter how police and schools respond. A day after that decision, which has drawn some criticism because the threat turned out to be a hoax, key players acknowledged that their effort could have been better coordinated. Sherman states that the email to L.A. said the hoaxer had “32 accomplices ready to strike,” while the email to New York said there were 138 accomplices. Manny Chavez, one of two dozen sworn officers of Santa Ana Unified’s force who, with 38 civilian safety officers, patrol the county’s largest school district. “The issues going on are in L.A. Regarding the credibility of these numbers, Sherman writes: To think that there would be a conspiracy in the Los Angeles involving 33 individuals, including the email author, without the federal government having at least heard enough to raise the threat level is somewhat unlikely.
Others will think it’s not being taken seriously enough and will withdraw their children from school, which can cause further disruptions on a campus. Garcetti said one lesson of Tuesday’s school shutdown was that officials of different agencies should try to coordinate more closely during future city emergencies.
Think about the effect that that’s going to have on those children when they go back to school tomorrow wondering filled with anxiety to whether they’re really going to be safe. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department does not have one single way of dealing with threats made to schools in its coverage areas, and instead develops action plans on a case-by-case basis. “At the end of the day, we’ll evaluate every threat on its own merit on the information we have,” Lt. The Sheriff’s Department, for example, reacted in two ways after threats were made to an Aliso Viejo elementary and a private school in separate September 2014 incidents. Meanwhile, some critics say the false alarm has laid bare potential shortcomings in officials’ capacity to handle future crises, both in the nuts and bolts of coordination among government agencies and in the less quantifiable ability to reassure the public. To Brad Sherman’s credit, he didn’t specify the exact number of accomplices that seems most credible, but you can basically figure it out. 15? 20?
Would-be pranksters have seen the attention given to those events and how the public is on edge because of them, said Robert Taylor, a terrorism and police expert at the University of Texas at Dallas. When another threat was made Sept. 25 at Oak Grove Elementary School, also in Aliso Viejo, officials locked down the school and searched it for dangerous explosives rather than cancel classes. But had the mayor chosen to take a more assertive role, Schnur said, he might have been vulnerable to accusations that he was playing politics with the safety of schoolchildren by trying to influence Cortines’ deliberations. No, what sets the teeth on edge while watching Christie’s statement is his wrapping himself in clichéd “Oh won’t someone please think of the children” talk on the day after the three-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut.
If you’re going to play off of America’s generalized Islamaphobia, be diligent in your proofreading and make sure all references to “Allah” are properly stylized. Natalie Davis, a parent with children in Gilbert Elementary in Garden Grove, briefly considered keeping her son and daughter home from school: “It’s pretty scary.” Jon Hultman, the PTSA president at Oxford Academy in Cypress, said he was concerned for his two children when he first heard of the threat. Asked why he had explicitly stated several times on Tuesday that he did not make the call to close the district, Garcetti said he wanted to “simply sort out confusion.” With the “national coverage” of the event by media organizations, he said, many people might not be aware that as mayor he is not in charge of the schools. Because over the last decade and a half, America has seen many, many more school shootings by disaffected, angry American teenagers with easy access to semi-automatic weapons than it has seen jihadi terrorist bombings, of schools or anywhere else. At least three teens were arrested in these incidents. “Police are working on a video to put out to our students that these threats are taken serious and you could face severe consequences,” Johnston said.
Yet efforts that Barack Obama and gun-control advocates have made to limit access to such weapons have been fought by, among others, Chris Christie, when he found it politically advantageous to do so. According to Sherman, “no devout Muslim, nor a Muslim extremist claiming to be devout, would use” an email service that had the word “cock” in it, so while “cock” is admittedly a very funny word, you should ultimately remember that hoaxing is serious business. It is tough to accurately measure Christie’s views on gun control, since he opportunistically shifts them based on which way the political winds are blowing. In 2013, months after Sandy Hook, he signed a few gun-control measures that, among other things, prevented people on the federal terrorism watch list from buying guns.
But he also last year vetoed bills that would have outlawed possession of magazines that hold over 10 rounds and civilian ownership of a .50 caliber sniper rifle used by the military. However, “If this is sufficient that closing down the district is even an option … they should be brought in immediately at that point.” Much remains unknown about what took place between about 10 p.m. It was during the process of vetoing the magazine bill that Christie refused to meet with the parents of a couple of the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook, who had lobbied for the bill and gathered more than 55,000 signatures on a petition supporting it.
Political observers suggested the governor was plotting a run for the White House and didn’t want to have to explain to the gun-friendly voters of New Hampshire and Iowa why a less rural state like New Jersey might find gun-control measures desirable, even if he was being responsive to the desires of his constituents. If you cancel classes, the bombings will take place regardless, and we will bring our guns to the streets and offices of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and San Diego.
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