The Los Angeles City school district, the second-largest public school system in the United States, shut down over 1,000 schools early Tuesday morning after school board members received an email threatening an attack on multiple school locations with assault rifles and bombs in backpacks. By the afternoon, the email had been determined to be a hoax.
Some 643,000 students were told at the last minute not to show up at school, undoubtedly forcing many thousands of parents to miss work and disrupting the lives of millions in the city.
The school district said it would conduct a full search of all school facilities before reopening, or some 21,000 buildings spread over 720 square miles.
According to Brian Levin, a professor at California State University, such an expansive search would involve looking in classrooms, closets, lockers, using bomb-sniffing dogs, and setting up surrounding perimeter areas. The sheer scale of the search undertaken immediately demonstrated its absurdity.
According to Reuters, a law enforcement source said that Los Angeles authorities ordered the closure and search without consulting with the FBI, the lead federal agency tasked with investigating potential terrorism.
Although federal officials concluded early on that the threat was a hoax, as of 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, the school district had not indicated when it would reopen schools.
The person who sent the email claimed to be a devout Muslim who would launch attacks with “32 jihadist friends” using bombs, nerve gas and rifles because he had been “bullied” at a Los Angeles high school. The number of attackers and nerve gas claim immediately cast the credibility of the email in doubt, as did the writer’s failure to capitalize the word “Allah” at least once.
A similar threat was emailed earlier to the New York City school district. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a press conference that the threat was “so generic and outlandish” that it could not be taken seriously. The FBI agreed “that there was nothing credible about the threat,” he said.
The shutdown of the LA school district comes less than two weeks after a married couple, allegedly inspired by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in San Bernardino, about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles. Los Angeles City superintendent of schools Ramon Cortines cited the San Bernardino shootings as justification for the mass shutdown.
Like the Paris bombings, the tragedy in San Bernardino created a wildly overblown media response. The aim has been to traumatize and confuse the public.
The ultimate goal of this incessant propaganda is to condition the population to the routine imposition of police state measures and the intensification of war abroad, particularly in the Middle East.
The Los Angeles events yesterday show this hysteria is spilling over to local government, in this case on to a major public school district. The result was disruption of a core public function, not to mention the disruption of the lives for millions of workers and students.