Phony bomb threats are not very nice. And they are illegal

I was in Hackensack, NJ in the middle of this. A phony bomb threat forced the evacuation of all three Bergen Community College campuses.

I hope they find the idiot responsible and charge them with terrorism. Phony bomb threats are stupid, and I hate stupid.

Evacuating for a false threat is simply rewarding bad behavior.

What would you suggest they do when a bomb threat is called in?

Yes, but evacuating for a real threat is the proper response. The key is to figure out which is which in a timely manner with little information. So what do you propose?

Has there ever been a real bomb that was called in to warn people about?

The IRA called in their legit bombs in order to avoid casualties. They had set up a protocol with the authorities to verify they were the real deal.

Why would they do that? Just to destroy property?

Prove what they’re capable of and that they’re willing to do it, maybe?

Before 9/11, I did some relief work at a military base’s clinic. Even then, their bomb threat protocol included asking the caller “What is your name?” and “What is your address?” because research had shown that they are usually so agitated, they will give that information before they realize what they are doing.

Yep. The “Bomb Threat” yellow card checklist was a mandatory item next to every phone in the military.

One time a kid in the school where I taught phoned in a fake bomb threat to get out of a math test. The cops were able to track down the kid, and he was charged with a felony. The students had to make up the lost half-day. Lose-lose.

My high school had a few while I was there and I know there were some there before I was a freshman. I believe at some point the school put out a statement asking people not to do it anymore and it didn’t make difference anyway since that day gets tacked on to the end of the year anyway.

When I was a freshman in college people were pulling the fire alarms once or twice a night for the first few weeks. That, was awful. Getting woken up at 3am by the RAs pounding on the doors and having to stand outside in the cold until the FD clears it. Then, having it happen again a half hour later.
I’m kinda surprised they didn’t start putting ink in the pull stations.

We had one when I worked in the library. We asked everyone to leave. The police parked down the street until the promised time had passed, and asked the staff to loo for the supposed bomb. We did not find one.

I was told that one of the investigative avenues for school bomb threats was to see who had tests that day, and who didn’t show for those tests. They were prime suspects as people unprepared for the tests were likely the ones who called it in.

They didn’t avoid casualities. A bombing campaign without casualites was of absolutely no use to them.

Let’s not give those murdering scum any veneer of respectability. They knowingly targeted, bombed and murdered men, women and children. Avoidance of casualities would have been not planting the bombs in the first place. Giving imprecise and ambiguous warnings was a neat way of ensuring that people still got killed whilst being able to still able regret the loss of life with a straight face.

Sorry Telemark, you may not have meant it to come across as a watering-down of their reputation but I can’t let it pass unchallenged or at least uncommented.


There’s no way I’d have gone back in without it being cleared by bomb disposal!

When I was in college, it was fashionable for those with a certain sense of humor to phone bomb threats in. This was long before Caller ID was a thing. I think the college started having a backup location set up for all final exams so they didn’t get delayed.

The threats were sometimes also made to dorms. I lived in a high rise dorm, that did not have any kind of fire alarm system. Supposedly it was unburnable (brick and cinderblock construction) but it still boggles me that there was no code requirement to have an alarm system. So the time we had a bomb threat, the RAs had to pound on everyone’s door to evacuate.

I’m pretty sure nobody was ever caught or prosecuted for these threads.

You ask a lot of our moderators! :smiley:

ETA also called to warn of the Hipercor bomb, but that particular supermarket chain got 4 or 5 bomb warnings every day. As they had no way of knowing this particular threat was true, they acted as they always did and ignored it. Note that this was ETA’s first attack in Catalonia, so it didn’t match known patterns.

Correction to the Wikipedia article: the deadliest terrorist attack in Spain before Hipercor had been the Liceu bombing, which killed 20 people to the 18 the wikipedia article lists.

One reason for terrorist groups to call actual bomb threats is being able to say “hey, we warned you, it’s your fault if you didn’t act on it (fast enough)”; another big one is the possibility of killing bomb squad cops rather than regular civilians. With these particular people, never attribute to gentleness what can be attributed to malice.

“Yes sir, Officer Friendly! I’m going to head on home and check my living room, just in case the bomb was placed there accidentally.”