Bomb Threats Revisited

When I was in high school, a relatively uncommon but not unknown phenomenon were bomb threats called in to my Jewish school. We dutifully evacuated the building while the police searched the premises. I remember feeling more delight at a break in routine than concern. Had the student body been polled I think more of us would have guessed that the threat originated with a fellow student trying to avoid an algebra exam rather than with a terrorist. 

Fast forward to the past few weeks where Jewish schools and community centers have been targeted with warning phone calls. Things look rather different from an adult perspective. I doubt they are signaling a serious physical threat. Terrorists of the past two decades such as those who orchestrated 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing or Fort Hood have not politely telephoned warnings of their intentions allowing lives to be saved.

Nevertheless, we must treat the calls seriously. I now realize that as a teenager I did not understand the economic and social impact of disrupting lives.  Unfortunately, over the past few years, adults in positions of responsibility and authority have failed to understand that as well. Or perhaps, they understood it perfectly well but for reasons of their own condoned the activities. 

It is, sadly, not unusual to see traffic blocked, storefront windows shattered and police threatened by protesters. Back in 2011, Occupy Wall Street obstructed streets in various cities, stopping ordinary citizens from running their businesses and going about their lives. ‘Outraged’ college students have stopped traffic on freeways causing missed flights, missed family suppers and missed appointments. Through it all, the news media regularly seemed to celebrate this ‘freedom of speech’ while local governments acted as if this behavior was fine as long as no one was severely injured or killed.

Protests that illegally stop law-abiding residents from going about their way are not examples of free speech. Stopping commerce by blocking the entryway to businesses is not an example of a First Amendment right. Overturning police cars and smashing storefronts is not ‘petty crime.’ 

And yes, calling in a bomb threat causing pre-schools, exercise classes and communal events to cease while rushing everyone outdoors is not just a nuisance. All of the above are threats to a functioning society and must be treated seriously. Municipalities and government officials that minimize those activities invite more serious breaches of law. The proper authorities, whether local police, the FBI or the Justice Department need to respond forcefully. 

However, I am disturbed by the Jewish alphabet organizations and those who anoint themselves to speak for the Jewish community. Now they indignantly protest disruptions against Jewish institutions. Did they speak out during prior interruptions of daily activity when the protestors were easily identifiable as politically left-leaning? Whether it is National Public Radio or other media outlets sympathetic to the Left, I keep hearing the assumption that whoever is behind the recent phone calls, as well as the desecration of cemeteries is a card-carrying Steve Bannon acolyte. Actually, we have no idea yet who is responsible. It could just as well be college students who have been radicalized by the Palestinian propaganda being preached on today’s college campuses. There are any number of other possibilities. 

Why are the cries for President Trump to condemn these activities and solve this, admittedly real, problem exponentially louder and more public than the cries asking President Obama to condemn the bullying, harassment and intimidation of Jewish students on college campuses that increased greatly during his administration? Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that if it turns out that the latest round of disturbances emanate from individuals who cannot be linked, however circuitously, to the Trump White House, the media and liberal Jewish organizations will drop this story like the proverbial hot potato?

23 thoughts on “Bomb Threats Revisited”

    1. Yes, Tal. This is why a small number of bad people can disrupt a society of overwhelmingly good people.

  1. Carl from South Carolina

    I live across the street from a temple, and watch diligently for any physical harm to come to them, and thank GOD for the courage to stop anything that starts……

    1. Carl, I’m sure that’s appreciated, but remember that the Church is threatened as well.

    2. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Carl
      thanks for your vigilance and with spring arriving I hope you have some safe motorcycling planned.

  2. Listening to the radio in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.. I heard a very disturbing aside to the bomb threat reporting this morning. The announcer said ( read?) there was some evidence that the people calling in these bomb threats were watching the evacuations, so they would know – for future use – the evacuation routes and time- frames of the buildings/people responding to the threats. This falls into the category of what I call “TMI ” or too- much-information getting into the public airwaves by the media. If the callers hadn’t thought of this nefarious reason – now they will! Even if they had , a direct call to each school and synagogue affected would have been safer and more productive. Why does the news media feel it HAS to get every and all information to the public eye/ear, even if it means compromising our national security?

    1. I completely agree. Also, raising people’s anxiety levels is a problem. But the entire industry is increasingly built on ‘how can we grab people’s attention?’ rather than providing a service by providing news.

  3. NEW YORK, March 3 (Reuters) – Prosecutors in New York charged a 31-year-old man in Missouri on Friday with making at least eight bomb threats against, officials said.

    Juan Thompson was arrested on Friday morning in St. Louis and is due to appear there in court later in the day, prosecutors said in a statement. He was charged with cyberstalking an ex-girlfriend, whose name he is accused of using to make the threats, the statement said. (Reporting by Joseph Ax; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

    1. Oh my! I’m looking this up right now and am seeing it all over the headlines. Thanks, Bob.

      1. It seems Mr. Juan worked for Hillary’s campaign. It will be a safe bet, (if I were a betting person) that we will hear little about Mr. Juan from today forward.

        1. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to show the alternative universe of headlines that we both believe would have been plastered all over had he been a Trump supporter? While he isn’t the main source behind the bomb threats (and probably unrelated to the cemetery desecrations), I don’t think we can expect to hear Nancy Pelosi apologize for contributing to a culture of hate.

  4. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg (edited out). He wants to allow open borders so he can hire CHEAP LABOR foreignesr from India and China that he pays 1/2 the salary he pays America citizen computer hi tech experts . Most of silicon valley does the same including Yahoo, Google ,Intel , Twitter etc .

    Ex president Obama was a classic anti-Semite who insulted the Prime Minister of Israel , Netanyahu and his anti Israel stand along with another Jew, Secretary of State John Kerry , married another rich jew, from the Heinz Ketchup family .

    Speaking of anti semiticism on America college campuses. San Francisco State University , is a far leftist liberal campus When students actively support Israel on campus , the pro Palestinians attack the students and the President of the University does and said nothing, Nada,zilch ZERO !!

    The Jews in America do it to themselves They support all minority groups and die for them as Jews were killed marching with, MLK, Martin Luther King and yet it is the CHRISTAIN EVANGELICALS THAT SUPPORT ISRAEL NOT JEWS FROM AMERICA !!! I THINK the Jews in America are a re incarnation of the Jews waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain with the 10 commandments and prayed to the golden calf !

    1. Harry – I did edit out one of your comments, and, quite frankly, your tone is at the cutting edge of what we won’t publish (and I believe that the Heinz family may descend from a Jewish root but they haven’t considered themselves Jewish for a long time), but you are making the point my husband made in his very first book, America’s Real War (out of print now) when he answered the question that we were frequently asked, “Why are Jews so liberal?” It ties into only 20% of Jews leaving Egypt – most preferred to side with the Egyptians.

      1. Is there any chance that, “America’s Real War” can be purchased anywhere? Sounds like it would be pertinent to today. Would love to read it.

        1. You could try finding a used copy. We have been talking about updating it and issuing it again.

          1. Found it! Ordered it! But hope you will continue to contemplate updating it! A lot has happened, obviously, since it was written but still, the war remains the same doesn’t it.

  5. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

    Yes, Mark–
    very few fully grasp the perfidy of the J-Street groups. And Mr Z has as much feeling for Jews and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as a savage barbarian has for Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor.
    We’ve written extensively on how we are indeed witnessing a crusade against Bible based western civilization being conducted by the unholy alliance of Secular Fundamentalism and Islamic radicalism. Strange bedfellows indeed.

  6. We were just discussing this very thing at our dinner table. I won’t have a FaceBook account because Mr. Zuckerberg allows Fatah terrorists to write defamatory commentaries Israel which encourage acts of violence against Israeli Jews and elsewhere in the world. J-Street is anything but a Jewish organization offering praise to Palestinian Jihadists and denigrating Israel at every opportunity. We are witnessing an ideological war against the Judaeo-Christian based western civilization. It’s the best time ever to make biblical truths foundational to families and home life.

  7. A good friend teaches young children at the JCC in Rockville MD. Her children were directly impacted the first time bomb threats were called in. She shared about leading the little ones across the street on a very cold winter day and comforting their fears in the situation. It was the break in routine that made them afraid. Fortunately, most did not realize the full potential danger, but their parents did. I haven’t heard from my friend about the second bomb threat, but I believe it was directed more specifically to the school where the older children go. In any case, the fact that so many places are affected at the same time is very troublesome regardless of whether actual bombings are intended. These actions are intended by the perpetrators to sow fear. We need plans to combat these terrorists, both through effective training not to respond to the fear but also action plans to limit the disruptions on our lives. It would be good to see what the Israelis could teach us on these matters.

    1. Joyce, yes they are intended to sow fear and do need to be dealt with promptly and firmly. Israel doesn’t get bomb threats; they get real attacks. What they do after an attack is resume normal life as quickly as possible and do a LOT of intelligence work to stop them from happening in the first place.

  8. I appreciate your excellent comment. Where we live, in San Diego, it seems that people of every faith are treated with respect on college campuses. I thank God for that, and pray that people everywhere can demonstrate mutual caring and respect.

    1. That’s nice to hear, Martha. Just north of you in Orange County, Jewish students faced severe harassment.

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