Several years ago, I was at a political Party’s State Convention, when the local authorities reported that they had received a phoned bomb threat. They stated that they felt it was a hoax, but they still recommended that we recess and all leave the Convention Center for an hour or two so they could search the building. (It was about 4:45, and the caller claimed that the bomb was set to go off at 5:00.)
Some delegate made a motion to recess, someone else moved to substitute adjourn for the day, and the body started debating. The debate went on and on. Finally the Chair pointed out that it was now 10 minutes after the claimed time for the bomb to go off, so the debate was rather moot, and suggested moving on with the Convention’s agenda.
So this political convention continued their work, despite the alleged risk to their lives from a supposed bomb threat. (No actual bomb was ever found. Later, it was found that the threatning phone call had come from a pay phone near the headquarters of the opposing party.)
To give some more explanation:
- many people, including the police and Fire Marshall, felt that the bomb threat was a hoax.
- it was late on Saturday afternoon, and there were many events (partys!) scheduled for that evening. Had the Convention recessed for several hours, it’s likely that many people would not have come back that evening. Possibly not even a quorum.
- pushing this till the next day would have made the Convention run longer, on the last day when people wanted to get done and go home.
- the Convention was in the middle of an endorsement contest. On Sunday, the Convention usually ends by mid-afternoon. Many delegates go home Saturday night, and leave their Alternates to vote on Sunday. The Alternates may vote differently than the delegates. Also, campaigns often have less knowledge of who the Alternates are supporting. So leaving this till Sunday would have meant that a different set of people would be voting, and people whom the campaigns were much less sure of their positions. So the candidate campaigns preferred to keep voting that day, rather than recessing till the next day.
So there were a lot of reasons people didn’t want to leave. But it did seem odd to be debating while supposedly a bomb was ticking away!