Commentary

Lessons from San Bernardino Heeded and Ignored

By Jen Kuznicki | December 28, 2015 | 10:23am EST
A gate to Birmingham Community Charter High School is locked with a sign stating that school is closed, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Van Nuys, Calif. All schools in the vast Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest, have been ordered closed due to an electronic threat Tuesday. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

On the same day, New York and Los Angeles received an email threatening the school systems.  Los Angeles shut down their schools, and New York kept them open.  In the aftermath, and in order to explain the differing reactions, some in New York disparaged those in Los Angeles who hold the responsibility of public safety, and some in LA did the same thing.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Los Angeles), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, on the unlikeliness of a credible threat by citing the fact that the email didn’t quote the Koran, nor capitalize Allah.

Sherman said the email, “lacked ‘the feel of the way the jihadists usually write,’” and went on to say that “the roughly 350-word message did not capitalize Allah in one instance, nor did it cite a Koranic verse. He said the elements of the threatened attack also seemed unlikely, such as the claim that it would involve 32 people with nerve gas.”

This line of argument rests upon the idea that the terrorist-like email wasn’t sophisticated enough to be from Islamic terrorists, and that the shutdown of the school system then, was not a credible reaction to such a letter.

I cannot believe that the credibility of a threat on civilians in New York comes down to punctuation and citation.

So, all this time the president has been stressing that we are not at war with Islam, and that ISIS does not represent Islam, the powers that be, those who are responsible for the care and safety of our children, have told us that the threatening emails that were received were not truly Islamic in nature?

The criticism of the police and school officials in Los Angeles is completely out of whack.  In this instance, after receiving the same information, New York officials believed they were in the right to not shut down the schools. Thankfully, in the end, they were vindicated because nothing happened.  Somehow, the narrative was flipped into suggesting that LA’s cautious nature after what happened in San Bernadino is playing into the terrorists hands.

NYPD Commissioner Bratton said of the reaction by LA, “It's what they (terrorists) want, whether it's a prankster or a terrorist, they want to instill fear.” But is that fair?

Level-headed parents would look at this episode as “better safe than sorry,” rather than criticize officials for the inconvenience of getting their children out of school.  Can we please acknowledge that the LA officials did what they thought was best given the possibility that the email was credible?

What would have happened if the email in question went public and neither school shut down?  I say that parents would be furious that a letter such as that caused absolutely no reaction by the people we trust with the safety of our little ones.

What is the lesson here?  It was said, many times by federal officials after 9/11, that the terrorists only have to be successful once, and we have to be right all the time.  It seems unprofessional, at least, to criticize officials who used their best judgement to put the safety of children first.

Jen Kuznicki is a wife and mother, seamstress by trade, and American patriot who says, "Now is the time to act."

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