Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Closing the Los Angeles school system is a mistake
I said it before, at the end of November, when the University of Chicago cancelled classes after what turned out to be an empty threat, posted by some angry idiot and retracted, but not quickly enough to keep someone from sending it to the FBI.
But it merits saying again:
We over-react to these online threats at our peril. The Los Angeles public school system cancelled class Tuesday for nearly 700,000 kids.
Someone who intends to carry out a terror attack doesn't issue threats—they don't want to scare their targets away. Threats are issued by hoaxers or mopes or idiots or someone who wants to cancel something for some small personal reason and hasn't thought through the Now-I-go-to-prison part. There might be instances of threats being followed by action, but I can't think of any.
Closing down a school system like Los Angeles' doesn't just deprive hundreds of thousands of kids of a day's worth of education. It also puts the students at very real peril, because instead of being in classes they'll be at home or on the streets or somewhere they could be hurt or injured or get into some other kind of trouble. I would bet money that no true peril will be found from whoever is behind this threat. But the peril of keeping the kids home is very real, a more tangible threat than the threat that prompted authorities to close the schools in the first place.
It also represents a cowardice on our parts. When I wrote that U of C made a mistake, a number of people replied along the lines of : We must do EVERYTHING to stay safe!!!
No we must not. That is the direction of tyranny and totalitarianism and defeat. New York City received similar threats and did not shut its schools. Places that have regular random attacks know the importance of carrying on. You sweep the glass away, right the tables, mop the blood up, and re-open the next day. Otherwise we're cowering in fear, no one goes to school and whoever wants to carry out an attack will still do it.
There's an easy way to tell that this is a mistake: ask yourself, if LA gets another threat tomorrow, what will it do? Close? And the day after that? And the day after that?