The Diocese of Covington was evacuated Wednesday after reports of suspicious packages prompted a major response from authorities. WLWT 5 reported:
The intersections of 11th and 12th streets and Madison Avenue were closed near the Diocese of Covington, as investigators swarmed the area after people in the building called 911 to report packages they were not expecting had arrived at their office.
The situation prompted Covington police, fire, Kenton County Emergency Management and Cincinnati Fire’s Special Operations and bomb squad to head to the scene.
The packages were examined and determined not to be harmful. You may wonder what is driving such a major response from local authorities and the answer is the large number of threats stemming from the Covington High story that erupted on social media last week (h/t Mollie Hemingway)
As classes resumed Wednesday at Covington Catholic High School for the first time since a nationwide firestorm of controversy erupted, the investigation into alleged death threats against students and the school started in earnest.
Detectives from Erlanger began the work of securing subpoenas and warrants for online records Wednesday afternoon…
They started by pulling some of the many alleged threats from the internet.
There is no precise count yet, but Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders estimated this week there could be hundreds of such threats…
Calling the power of social media “staggering and scary,” he spoke of how a sense of security can be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
“Even people that had nothing to do with this incident that are now getting death threats because somebody misidentified the face that they saw on the video,” Sanders said.
The threats continued through the weekend and apparently peaked Monday. Prosecutors say most of the threats they’re seeing online now aren’t new but merely retweets of previous threats. It’s frightening to imagine how much worse this might have been if the story the media promoted initially hadn’t turned out to be garbage. As it was, lots of people obviously hadn’t gotten the message as of Monday.
This whole situation is reminiscent of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Despite being pure garbage, that story had potentially dangerous, real-life consequences. But the Covington High story is equally absurd (smirking teen leads violent lynch mob) and the media gave it far more legitimacy and attention in a day than Pizzagate ever had. Some on the left are still defending the initial conclusions that the teens were the villains in this drama. Like Pizzagate, this partisan nonsense is potentially dangerous. No one has shown up with a rifle thus far, but the threats are still having real-world consequences not just for a handful of innocent people in a pizza shop but for an entire high school and the extended community of people that sends its children there.
Covington High reopened Wednesday but the school’s principal, Bob Rowe, issued a statement to parents saying, “If you as a parent do not feel comfortable sending your son to CCH tomorrow or for subsequent days, please know that we understand this viewpoint during this difficult time period.” That shouldn’t be necessary but thanks to the people who jumped all over this story it is.