Today is the 6th anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school by Adam Lanza. The school was in session today and planned to hold a memorial for the victims. Those plans were cut short after someone made a bomb threat came which forced the building to be evacuated and students and teachers to be sent home. From Fox 61:
Teachers and students at the school were sent home for the day after the threat was called in around 9 a.m., and police did a sweep of the building. They said they did not believe the threat was a credible. Authorities said it specifically referenced the anniversary.
“Obviously there’s a heightened level of anxiety,” police Lt. Aaron Bahamonde said. “It’s not unexpected that these anniversary dates bring out the evil in some people.”
Bahamonde said police were trying to determine who made the threat. It wasn’t immediately clear if it was related to bomb threats made nationwide Thursday.
Obviously, this is disgusting behavior by whoever is responsible. It’s hard to imagine the mind of someone who thinks this is acceptable. But is this a one-off threat or part of a trend?
The bomb threats mentioned in that last sentence happened yesterday in at least four different countries, the U.S. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Someone emailed threats claiming that bombs had already been placed and would be detonated unless the recipients paid the sender a $20,000 ransom in Bitcoin. CNN reports some cities were left responding to dozens of apparently identical threats:
In Oklahoma City, accountant Douglas Holsted told CNN affiliate KOKH he called police when his office received an email threat. He, like others, said the email demanded $20,000 in bitcoin by the end of the day. Police searched but found nothing in the building.
“I’ve never seen (an email) that said, ‘I planted a bomb in your building, I’m going to blow it up if you don’t pay me.’ That part surprised me,” Holsted said…
In California, the Riverside Sheriff’s Office had “an influx of email threats” and is taking them seriously, although no threat has been substantiated.
The San Francisco Police Department responded to reports of bomb threats at locations throughout the city.
“We have received information that several other cities across the United States have received similar threats,” police said…
The Chicago Police Department by Thursday afternoon was investigating threats at 36 locations, with “no reports of any injured people, any suspicious objects or any evacuations,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted…
The FBI has acknowledged threats across Canada, with multiple emails in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto.
Similar threats were made across Australia and at least a few cases in New Zealand. The FBI is investigating but so far if anyone knows who is responsible they aren’t saying. However, while this activity peaked yesterday, something similar has been going on for almost three months. CNN reports, “academic institutions, federal and state law enforcement agencies, gun stores, and municipal offices in more than a dozen states received threatening emails deemed hoaxes by law enforcement authorities.”
I don’t know what to make of that list of targets. It doesn’t seem to line up neatly with what one might expect from a deranged person trying to make a political point. A left-wing nut might conceivably target gun stores and law enforcement, but schools and municipal offices? It makes me wonder if these targets aren’t being chosen by someone outside the U.S. Hopefully the FBI will be able to find out before this sort of thing becomes normal.