The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 12, 2013

False alarms

Bomb threat perpetrators’ actions are selfish behavior

— It’s frustrating. It’s dangerous for several reasons. It’s pointless.

And it’s stupid.

We are talking about bomb threats. Perpetrators may think it’s quite a joke to see patrons and employees scurrying from a store or restaurant when a threat is phoned it.

But in reality, no one is laughing.

In the past week, three separate threats have disrupted the daily lives of hundreds of innocent people.

Last Thursday, it was the Beaver McDonald’s. Sunday, it was KFC in Beaver. Wednesday, Beckley Walmart.

We know the people who pull these stupid pranks are mostly seeking attention. Frankly, we hate to give it to them by printing stories in the paper about them.

But we are a newspaper and it’s news, so we do.

Businesses that are the victim of threats face disruption that can bring revenue losses, lost time for employees and other difficulties.

People who make these threats are selfish — they take away emergency manpower that may be needed elsewhere to save a life, put out a fire, catch a thief in the act, sending them chasing their tails.

All for the threat-maker’s amusement.

Those responders know they are more than likely on a wild goose chase.

But such threats cannot be ignored. Because maybe, one day, maybe, it won’t be a farce.

It could be all too real.

And maybe everyone’s guard is down a little because of all of the false alarms. And then ... .

There are too many what-ifs.

One of the charges such a caller can face is making a terrorist threat. Who wants to go through life with that label attached to their name?

Today’s technology is amazing in many ways. It is our hope that law enforcement uses it in every way possible to find the person — or people — who have made these threats.

Find them. Put that label on them. Charge them to the fullest extent possible. No plea bargains — Do. The. Time.

Perhaps making an example of one or two of these foolish folk will serve as a deterrent to others who would have such a lapse in judgment.