Photo courtesy of Rusdy Seng/Flickr.com
The recent terrorist threats emailed to Los Angeles, New York City, and two other school districts from a German IP address this week, while debunked quickly enough, surely do give us pause. Anyone with a child attending school in New York City might question the seemingly rapid determination made by NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio that the email was a hoax. On the other hand, it cost the LA school district $29 million to close the schools for one day before the FBI ruled out a credible threat – and that’s a lot of No. 2 pencils.
Okay, so we’re not pushing for our schools to be shut down every time some kook sends a wacky email, and we realize, also, that we probably didn’t get the full story on why there was deemed no credible threat. But if the main reason, as ABC News and others have reported, for the email to have been classified as “phony” by the law enforcement entities that checked it out was that “Allah” wasn’t capitalized…well, might we point out that good Christians use a lowercase “g” for “God” with disturbing frequency? Especially in emails, which, in case no one has noticed, people seem to think aren’t worthy of grammatical correctness.
Another reason that we were given was that the writer of the email’s English was too good. We’re not sure how to interpret that. Does the NYPD think that there aren’t any people in Germany that speak or write English well? Or that jihadists don’t speak English? We beg to differ on either possibility.
Frankly, we’d prefer to be kept in the dark about the reasons the email wasn’t legit, not only because these reasons aren’t cutting it for us, but also because they could be used as terrorist tools. Who’s to say an ISIS operative won’t send an email with a lowercase “Allah” next time?
Mayor de Blasio called the email “outlandish,” yet it was likely identical to the one sent to the Los Angeles district. This spurred a bit of a war between the two cities: did Los Angeles decide to shut its schools too quickly, wasting millions of dollars over an “outlandish” email from someone who has merely watched too many episodes of Homeland? (And by the way, wouldn’t it NOT be the first time criminal behavior mimicked art, Hollywood, or other criminal behavior?) Or, even if so far this week our schools weren’t targeted, did New York jump the gun on deciding that the email was a crock?
As the old saying goes, “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” Congratulations, Mayor de Blasio and New York. You seem to have been right this time. But what about next? You only have to be wrong once. Doesn’t protecting our children seems worth a few million?
We have only recent history to go on, along with a choking fear that our own children will be victims, but in any case, might we make a small suggestion? No one seems to deny that there are other, possibly imminent threats lurking in the United States. Schools have been horrific crime scenes before, as we know all too well. So, while it may be impossible to search all the lockers and buses and people entering the schools every single day, wouldn’t it be worth it to put additional security measures – like terrorist-specific drills, for example — in place at every one of our NYC schools now, before we get another, less outlandish email – or no warning at all?