Even prank threats warrant some coverage

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Tuesday’s News-Herald contained a front page story about a caller threatening children in a local school. The caller, apparently was not specific about how he or she intended to harm the children.

The threat turned out to be an empty one, at least as far as anyone being in danger.

Nonetheless, the threat forced the disruption of classes and caused police, firefighters and rescue personnel to waste valuable time and resources responding to what amounted to a crank call.


Email newsletter signup

We think that’s news. Particularly at a time when our nation is under assault by terrorists and snipers and people are being thrown into jail for even joking in airports.

We bring this up because some officials are of the opinion that publicity regarding such incidents does nothing but increases the likelihood of copycat cases.

That’s debatable. Our obligation, however, is to report what’s going on in schools and the threat of an attack on one of our public schools should be taken as seriously, if not more so, than a rumor of an attack on, say, bridges. Not reporting such incidents implies that they are commonplace. If that’s true, then we’re in real trouble.

Further, in this time of war, anyone who perpetrates such a threat is as much an enemy of the state as any of the war captives being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Perhaps they should be treated the same.

When the perpetrator is apprehended, we look forward to providing equal coverage and editorializing for his or her swift and severe punishment.