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Crime Education News

"Credible" Bomb Threat Closes, Evacuates All Los Angeles Public Schools 241

The Washington Post reports that all Los Angeles public schools have been closed for the day after a "'credible threat' of violence to students at numerous schools in the sprawling district, and a schools official confirmed that it was a bomb threat to the school district." According to the Houston Chronicle, a law enforcement official speaking anonymously with the Associated Press said that the threat "was emailed to a school board member and appeared to come from overseas. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation. The official says the threat was sent late Monday. Superintendent Ramon Cortines says the threat was made against students at many of the district's schools." The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school system in the U.S., is no picnic to close; the New York Times notes that the closure throws into disarray "the lives of millions of Angelenos — students, parents, teachers and other school staff members."
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"Credible" Bomb Threat Closes, Evacuates All Los Angeles Public Schools

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  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @12:49PM (#51122507)

    I'm not sure how this is being spun where you are, but think for a minute. 650,000 students are being sent home because of a "credible" threat. I might be convinced that a school was threatened, but the complete district of LA is bullsh$*. Someone is attempting to change the definition of the word "credible" here.

    Before you "but the children", give me the percentage of terrorist activities or even bombings where someone gave warning.

    No matter what though, you can bet your ass this will be used as propaganda to argue for more government and more freedom loss to the same.

    • Before you "but the children", give me the percentage of terrorist activities or even bombings where someone gave warning.

      ISIS, unlike other groups, has the reputation that allows them to alternate between threats and actual acts of violence. Either way, their goals are advanced. So long as they have enough actual acts of violence to keep up their reputation, the mere threat of ISIS mobilizing is enough to scare the shit out of people for good reason, and ISIS knows that.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:06PM (#51122705) Homepage

      This isn't the first time it's happened in the last couple of months either. Quebec had 71 schools threatened with bomb threats and shootings in November [www.cbc.ca] a few weeks prior to that several schools in Ottawa were threatened as well. It almost seems like someone/group is doing this because they know that people will overreact, and of course if something did happen people would be screaming bloody murder because they didn't overreact.

      • It almost seems like someone/group is doing this because they know that people will overreact, and of course if something did happen people would be screaming bloody murder because they didn't overreact.

        Duh. Anyone who remembers 9/11 probably knows someone whose business was interrupted by a random bomb threat or something. They were "a dime a dozen" back then. The vast majority of them were likely somebody either playing a prank or (more likely) somebody just trying to get some time off of work (or school, as in this case).

        But the thing is -- they worked in keeping people scared. I had some friends back then who stayed away from any place large numbers of people might congregate for a while -- even

        • by mwehle ( 2491950 )

          It almost seems like someone/group is doing this because they know that people will overreact, and of course if something did happen people would be screaming bloody murder because they didn't overreact.

          Duh. Anyone who remembers 9/11 probably knows someone whose business was interrupted by a random bomb threat or something. They were "a dime a dozen" back then. The vast majority of them were likely somebody either playing a prank or (more likely) somebody just trying to get some time off of work (or school, as in this case).

          But the thing is -- they worked in keeping people scared. I had some friends back then who stayed away from any place large numbers of people might congregate for a while -- even things like shopping malls. They had heard so many random bomb threats that they assumed there must be terrorists everywhere. Same thing's going on now.

          Absolutely! That went on for years. I grew up outside Philadelphia and for years after September 2001 a sister-in-law talked of being frightened to travel into the city for fear of terrorist attack. There is no publically available indication the Quebec and LA threats are related.

    • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:16PM (#51122803) Homepage Journal

      Before you "but the children", give me the percentage of terrorist activities or even bombings where someone gave warning.

      I can't give you a lot of digits of precision, but here's the number I came up with: more than 0%. The warning is the terrorism. You don't have to murder anyone to be a terrorist (though it sure helps).

      How to be a terrorist: Do something scary, preferably targeting a society of cowards. Did you scare people into overreacting? Yes: mission accomplished, you're a good terrorist. No: You're a bad terrorist, so don't quit your engineering day job.

      They probably didn't scare any students ("yay, day off!") but the parents were hit. As for how successful it was, I'll wait for the media to tell me. Everyone, please remember to FREAK OUT, so that we can guarantee a repeat of this cheap tactic. I know I can count on Republican candidates to join the terrorists on this, but let's all please try to remember to include the progressives too: kids need more days off like this! All that pot isn't going to smoke itself!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Which is why it's bullshit when that school claimed that kid made a bomb hoax and punished him for it.

        1) The kid claimed it was a clock all the time.
        2) Nobody seriously thought it was a bomb. If the school and cops really thought it was a bomb they should have evacuated the schools as they did for this incident. Not have people be around it for hours.

        Yes most of us suspect the kid is being a smart ass or trolling the school. But that never used to require getting the US cops involved, you just have the teac

      • You obviously didn't spend any time this morning telling your kids why their school's closed. Saying this didn't scare any students is pure ignorance.
      • So called "lone wolf" asshole terrorist (klebold/Harris/etc...) usually warn in advance because they want the attention that is true. But usually those warning are specific, not "the whole LA basin" or whatever. Organisation on the other hand like islamist terrorist claim afterward because they want the operation to be sucessful. Thus for the flight downed in Egypt claims came afterward (claiming beforehand would make it more believable but far harder to pull off)- As such I would really really like to see
      • by MikeMo ( 521697 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @02:39PM (#51123575)
        This. ISIS doesn't phone in warnings, they kill people. If they had a bomb in the schools, they wouldn't say a thing. Now, all they have to do is phone it in from time to time in various states and they've succeeded.
      • They probably didn't scare very many parents either. Most of them are now so used to false alarms that they are numb to it. Sure inconvenienced a lot of people though.
    • Who needs to bother making a real bomb, a threat is enough to disrupt everything...

    • by njnnja ( 2833511 )

      New York [cbslocal.com] also received a threat but didn't deem it "credible" and therefore didn't act on it. My guess is that on any given day, any or all of New York, LA, and Chicago schools probably deal with some kind of threat.

      So for LA to close the schools there is likely some other intelligence that they are acting on. Considering that authorities in that area are still getting information [latimes.com] about recent terrorist activity in the area, I think the first knee jerk reaction to closing the schools should be "Hmm I wo

    • I wonder where the odds are, that they'd need to draw the line. What if a hypothetical threat was targeted at "A school in California", or even the entire USA? Or perhaps, what if there was a threat to bomb a non-specific LAUSD campus, some time in the next 30 days? in the next year? in the next 10 years?

    • by modecx ( 130548 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:50PM (#51123107)

      Just imagine the alternative: You're the superintendent, and it was discovered that your received a somewhat credible threat, after something actually happened--no matter how trifling in the grand scheme. You know full well that you'd be publicly crucified by the entire nation's media, maybe you'd even be inquisitioned by Congress. You'd almost certianly lose your six figure job, and become unemployable to that standard ever again. You probably lose everything you worked your entire life for, and it would probably break up your family as well.

      If you throw up the red flag, none of this happens, except people raise an eyebrow, and some kids get to take the day off, some tax dollars get wasted and the SWAT guys get to go play Rambo in a bunch of empty schools.

      Which path do you chose?

      If I was in his/her shoes, I'd sure as fuck play the CYA card too.

      • by jfengel ( 409917 )

        You do get to play the CYA card, but only a finite number of times. Eventually, people get tired of it. The threats won't end before you run out of cards, so eventually you've got to figure out how to take a risk. Having demonstrated an abundance of caution will not save you from criticism should one of those attacks finally materialize. Nor, of course, will it save you from the attack.

        Which is what counts in the end. I'm not sure that the CYA really saves his job, one way or the other. George W. Bush didn'

      • You're the superintendent, and it was discovered that your received a somewhat credible threat, after something actually happened--no matter how trifling in the grand scheme.

        Indeed, trifling is when it happens to other people, not when it happens to you.

      • by neminem ( 561346 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <menimen>> on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @05:50PM (#51125295) Homepage

        If I were an awful terrorist that really wanted to make the whole country go crazy, I'd *absolutely* call in "credible" bomb threats like this. I'd keep doing them randomly until someone told the superintendent that he *cannot* keep closing schools like this, it's making everyones' jobs impossible and losing millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

        *Then* I'd blow up a school.

        Luckily, I'm not a terrorist.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          This is what happens when you create an asymmetric war. We prefer to fight from the safety and comfort of an air conditioned office using our drones, rather than on the ground. It's safer for the troops but means that they are basically impossible to harm, so IS and other groups go after civilians instead.

          If the West wants to get involved, it needs to get involved instead of launching missiles from thousands of kilometres away.

    • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @06:40PM (#51125725) Homepage
      Because there was a warning and no bombs were found, I suspect that it was a test to see how L.A. would react and what their resources were. The real attack will come without warning.

      The next time might involve bombs designed to go off when the schools are being searched so as to endanger the people looking for them.

      The enemy is not stupid and they know exactly what they're doing; they've had so much experience at spreading terror.
      • The next time might involve bombs designed to go off when the schools are being searched so as to endanger the people looking for them.

        This was one of the reasons the PIRA during the Troubles liked to give some sort of bomb warning: it meant that they got to kill some police or Army personnel rather than random civilians, which was in theory better from a public relations point of view.

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @12:50PM (#51122513)
    A threat that led to the closing and search of every public school? They should send some police over to the LA branch of the Federal Reserve, just in case.
    • Absolutely right. One of the problems with mass surveillance, especially combined with some kind of automated processing and threat prediction, is that it sensitizes you to diversionary tactics.
  • Nuttatology 2.0 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @12:51PM (#51122535) Journal

    Unfortunately, extremists are learning they can create lots of chaos withOUT the grandiose 9/11-style plans, which often leave too many clues to hide. Many had speculated on this shift before, but it looks like it's now happening.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Unfortunately, extremists are learning they can create lots of chaos withOUT the grandiose 9/11-style plans, which often leave too many clues to hide. Many had speculated on this shift before, but it looks like it's now happening.

      I'm going to bet this was done by bored kids or idiots rather than real extremists.

      This kind of shit has been done for decades and I highly doubt it's increased in frequency since then.

  • Terrorists win (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @12:53PM (#51122549)

    An emailed bomb threat from overseas evacuates the entire school district of one of the biggest cities in the United States. When did Americans become such cowards?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      "An email from a law enforcement member who prefers to remain anonymous" -- this sounds like laundering of spy information in a way suitable for public consumption, which needs a reason, however executive 35,000 foot level.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 )

      It's not as bad as when a student chews a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. Then it's, "Call in SWAT!"

  • I wonder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @12:53PM (#51122553) Journal

    During the six years of World War 2 were all the schools in Europe closed down? This is the ultimate in generating as much hysteria as possible. Next is a complete lockdown, anyone seen outside their house will be summarily shot, and as the cliche goes, survivors will be shot again.

  • by sehlat ( 180760 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @12:55PM (#51122581)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Wasp is a 1957 science fiction novel by English author Eric Frank Russell. Terry Pratchett (author of the Discworld series of fantasy books) stated that he "can't imagine a funnier terrorists' handbook." Wasp is generally considered Russell's best novel.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @12:55PM (#51122593)
    Sending in an email is much easier than pulling the fire alarm.
    • Authorities in New York City said they received the same threat but quickly concluded that it was a hoax. [ap.org]

      Really? Every time some punk sends a stupid email, you're going to shut down an entire city?

      First, there is no reason to take this stuff seriously. US deaths by terrorism is still in the ballpark of people dying of lightning strikes. If you insist on taking it seriously, give a 10% annual bonus to any teacher with a concealed carry license plus appropriate training. Problem solved.

      • by mwehle ( 2491950 )

        Really? Every time some punk sends a stupid email, you're going to shut down an entire city?

        First, there is no reason to take this stuff seriously. US deaths by terrorism is still in the ballpark of people dying of lightning strikes. If you insist on taking it seriously, give a 10% annual bonus to any teacher with a concealed carry license plus appropriate training. Problem solved.

        How does a CCW assist in finding and defusing a bomb?

      • by KlomDark ( 6370 )

        So they can shoot the bomb? What??

  • How do we stop it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ravaldy ( 2621787 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @12:59PM (#51122615)

    Are we overreacting? Has this been happening more since the ISIS scares in Paris?

    Can we stop or control this better?

    I know many call these "isolated incidents" but these incidents still cause major disruptions to the population. This incident alone is probably affecting hundreds of thousands of people if you include students, parents and businesses.

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      We are overreacting.

      I don't believe it was wrong to evacuate the threatened school. You do have to take a direct threat seriously. I do believe it was wrong to evacuate *every* school.

      Also, this stuff is going to continue to happen while the news media shines a laser-like focus on these incidents. We're always going to have this sort of thing, but media attention is actually encouraging this activity.

      Although I understand the need for a free press, I wish these media outlets would develop some ethics wit

      • Although I understand the need for a free press, I wish these media outlets would develop some ethics without some form of compulsion

        Regulate the press :)

        On a serious note, the only people that can make free press better is the readers. If the content is too "soap like" then move your attention to a different outlet or take the time to criticize the one in question. Unfortunately I see little hope for any change in viewer/reader behavior when I still see people follow the kardasians (not worth spelling properly).

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          I sometimes wonder if there is value in regulating the press. It's not clear to me if that is worse than letting it do what it is doing now.

          Ultimately, school shootings or other random mass killings (as opposed to organized crime killings) are a relatively rare, albeit extremely emotionally charged scenario. If we are looking at the situation in a very cold-blooded way, these are still very rare occurrences that, based on impact to society, should not be driving a national debate.

          If you have 900 schools i

  • so, great success. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:02PM (#51122649) Homepage
    After the San Bernadino shooting that killed 14 people, we have shut down more than 900 public schools in the second largest city in america. terrorism isnt about killing people, or maiming them, or destroying property. terrorism is about undermining the authority of a target nations government. Its about making its populus too frightened to send their children to school, too worried to board a plane without massive security theatre, and too scared to accept immigrants into a nation that was founded and championed by immigrants. Today is a dark day not because of lives lost, but because we have effectively agreed to the premise of terrorism.
    • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:32PM (#51122943)

      Its about making its populus too frightened to send their children to school, too worried to board a plane without massive security theatre, and too scared to accept immigrants

      One of these is not like the others. Making the populace too frightened to send their kids to school or to board and airplane really undermines the ability of a society to function at a basic level, because education and transportation are critical to a society's continued operation as well as long-term success. Immigration (particularly from middle eastern nations) is NOT necessary for a society's survival or prosperity. You can argue that it enriches a country to some extent, or that it's a humanitarian thing that's good for humanity at large, but how is it necessary for a particular nation? It's not. And it if were, there's no reason that western nations couldn't cut off immigration of middle easterners altogether and then increase the numbers of immigrants it allows from China, India, southeast Asia, eastern Europe, South America, and sub-Saharan Africa. It's not like we desperately need masses of people from the middle east for our nations to function, the way we need schools and travel.

      • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @02:00PM (#51123203) Homepage
        I would argue to the contrary as youre assuming a short term definition. While not strictly necesary in the short term, an outright ban on middle eastern nations has a significant long term impact on our ability to understand, react to and interact with these cultures. shunning these immigrants would beget demonizing the region and cultures and, much as demonizing communists/reds/russians in the sixties, would lead to strategic and tactical disadvantages as we supplant knowledge for rhetoric. A prime example lies in the Tupolev bomber, which was consistently outclassing our best range and capability assessments as they were founded on a fundamental predicate of soviet 'inadequacy.' We based much of our political interaction with russians on the rhetoric of politicians and social scientists who, without direct access to a communist russian, simply assumed that due to their atheism they were untrustworthy scoundrels.

        considering society as an organism, diversity in organisms enhances their survival capabilities while enhancing a monoculture causes increased succeptibility to its environment. Becoming less adaptive and diverse would naturally be in a nations least interest.
        • And how exactly did having little contact with the Russians hurt the American economy? The main problem was that there was a Cold War, and the two powers were roughly equal technologically (note "roughly"), and both interested in geopolitical dominance, so this naturally created a lot of tension and possibility for war. However, the American economy was also doing quite well at this time, and suffering horribly because of its lack of access to Russian immigrants (or technology; the Russians in fact copied

          • by nimbius ( 983462 )

            And how exactly did having little contact with the Russians hurt the American economy?

            I apologise if im not following completely, but our isolationist standoff with the USSR cost us two buildings during the terrorist attack of 9/11 and it plunged us into deep recession. How? one of our many proxy wars with the former soviet union was in Afghanistan in which we backed the Mujahadeen in their efforts to resist occupation by Soviet forces. we provided arms and advanced training, and in doing so helped create the Taliban. we fought these wars in a continued push to isolate and contain the US

      • One of these is not like the others. Making the populace too frightened to send their kids to school or to board and airplane really undermines the ability of a society to function at a basic level, because education and transportation are critical to a society's continued operation as well as long-term success. Immigration (particularly from middle eastern nations) is NOT necessary for a society's survival or prosperity. You can argue that it enriches a country to some extent, or that it's a humanitarian thing that's good for humanity at large, but how is it necessary for a particular nation? It's not.

        Necessary for what?

        Nothing is "necessary" except obeying the laws of physics. It's not "necessary" that any Americans continue to have a pulse, even. It's not "necessary" to maintain public education or public roads -- there was a time when these things didn't exist, and the universe didn't collapse into some internally-contradictory nonexistence. Using words like "necessary" without any further details is a great rhetorical device, as it allows one to make ridiculous claims that logically can't be argued

        • Japan seems to get along just fine with an advanced, industrialized economy without resorting to large-scale immigration. You can argue that it'll bite them in the ass in 50 years or so, but that hasn't happened yet.

          And honestly, the way you pitch it, it sounds like exploitation. How exactly is immigration helping the places these people come from, and the people still stuck there? If anything, it seems to make them worse off.

          • Japan seems to get along just fine

            I don't know of many economists that would describe it that way (though, granted, there are other issues at play besides the demographic catastrophe).

            And honestly, the way you pitch it, it sounds like exploitation.

            It probably is, but I try not to make value judgements.

            I wasn't arguing in favor of immigration any more than I was arguing against it. I was just trying to inject some points that you seem to have omitted in the hope that people would have more of a complete picture to draw their own conclusions from.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        You have to look at the deep cultural background of the countries that are falling over themselves to take in refugees.

        You might notice that it is only countries with a strong Christian background who are doing so.

        This is because Western Christianity (as contrasted with Eastern Christianity) is descended from the religion of the slaves of Rome. Consequently its strongest values are things which were important to the slaves of Rome and this has profoundly affected the psychology of the societies of Europe an

  • Silly oversight...they made them gun-free zones, but not bomb-free! Someone needs to put up some signs, then this will all go away.
  • The Latest: NYC officials: We got same threat, call it hoax

    Why are these NYC officials talking like a Native American stereotype?

  • by 31415926535897 ( 702314 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:19PM (#51122839) Journal

    I believe the only proper response to this threat is to introduce common sense bomb control legislation.

  • many many to come (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:30PM (#51122925)

    As soon as it is realized by students in our anti-education culture that by bouncing a forged email through the right patch of overseas re-mailer geography, they can enforce a district-wide day off, then these will become a daily and national occurrence. I wonder if this is the kill-button for high-school in the US.

    • While I agree with your analysis of the outcomes, I'm not so sure I agree with pinning it on the "anti-education" culture or at least anything I would see elsewhere discussed as anti-education culture. The anti-education culture of the students stems from being forced to participate in education at the time they are most resistant to authority. It has very little to do with any philosophical stance against the educational material or process.
  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:42PM (#51123029)

    Why shouldn't L.A. kids get jihad days off?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @01:43PM (#51123049)

    Every time I see a fearful reaction like this I think back to what I heard one newscaster said near the end of live broadcasts of 9/11. I can't remember the exact wording of the quote and I haven't been able to find it posted online anywhere, but the meaning of the message is still clear in my mind. He said that the goal of terrorists is to change the lives of the population. To undermine our freedom and our ways of life using fear. Violence, destruction and killing are not the goal but rather just tools to reach their goal via fear. He said that we should not change how we go about our lives due to fear. If we do the terrorists have won.

    Every time I see a reaction such as this I know that we did not take his message to heart. The patriot act, the TSA, mass surveillance, locking down and closing schools, push for increase gun control, freedom-stripping legislation, threats and discrimination against particular races/religions creeping towards the levels of WWII with Jews (and others) by the Nazis and Japanese/Germans/Italians by the US, and so much more. Knee-jerk reactions to everything, and reduction of freedoms throughout all out of fear. If we don't start to realize what is happening and take back our lives then the terrorists have officially won.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Every time I see a fearful reaction like this I think back to what I heard one newscaster said near the end of live broadcasts of 9/11. I can't remember the exact wording of the quote and I haven't been able to find it posted online anywhere, but the meaning of the message is still clear in my mind. He said that the goal of terrorists is to change the lives of the population. To undermine our freedom and our ways of life using fear. Violence, destruction and killing are not the goal but rather just tools to

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @02:16PM (#51123359) Homepage Journal

    Shutting down schools because officials receive Nigerian Prince scam. *And* they give the scammer their bank account details, because after all, 20 Million is on it's way!

    Can't you wait until they get the calls telling them their windows machine has a virus, and ONLY the tech support dude with the indian accent can fix it?

  • by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @03:30PM (#51124149)

    See.... the issue here is they don't have their spam filter turned up high enough.

    No e-mail, no problem

  • "Parents/Guardians please bring proper ID when picking up your child at school. They will be required."
    — LA School Police (@LASchoolPolice) December 15, 2015

    But, but, ... that's racist!

  • The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school system in the U.S., is no picnic to close; the New York Times notes that the closure throws into disarray "the lives of millions of Angelenos — students, parents, teachers and other school staff members."

    So, are there protocols that make an exceptional event like this any easier to manage? Considering the nation's terrorism alert concerns, don't these incidentially function as 'duck and cover' terrorism drills?

  • LAUSD used to be much better prepared for attacks http://www.latimes.com/local/l... [latimes.com]
  • Do real bombers phone in the time and location of the bombs they plant? Has anyone ever in the history of the universe ever planted a bomb in a school, and then told the authorities that they have done so?

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