Just as the Sept. 11 terror attacks brought out the best in patriotic pride and spiritual renewal, so did the historic disaster uncover the worst among us.
The scattered tales of price-gouging, on everything from American flags to gasoline, are bad enough. The cheap-shot attacks on anyone who even remotely looks foreign is worse. (What kind of gutless worm sneaks up to a sign in the dead of night and spray-paints coward on it, as someone did to the Islamic Center in Martinez?)
But perhaps the lowest misery merchants may have been the anonymous jerks who phoned in phony bomb threats after the attacks. Evans High School, the Columbia County Government Complex, the county Probate Court in Appling and the old courthouse all were evacuated in the days after the terror attacks as a result of separate telephoned threats.
Some parents, understandably, have been upset that their children werent allowed to call home during their evacuation from Evans High. Some of those moms and dads also have railed at the school system and emergency officials for not notifying them during the scare.
Calm, rational thought may be difficult to ask for when the sometimes-irrational parent-child relationship is in play, but lets be realistic: The point of an evacuation during a bomb threat is to take the occupants of the building out of harms way. Once removed from the school, those children were in no danger. Though uncomfortable and thirsty while standing in the sun, those students were kept safe while deputies searched the school and confirmed the call was a malicious hoax.
So even if practical to call every parent - which it isnt - what would be the point? It would needlessly alarm the parents, and cause many of them to race for the school without heed for caution. When you have 1,700 kids quickly evacuating and 1,700 panicked parents come running to the school to fetch their children, a real disaster can occur, warns Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker.
The best policy is the one thats already in place. It minimizes disruption of the school day and allows trained professionals make sure the kids are safe.
The creeps who call in these phony alarms must be pursued with all the technology the Sheriffs Office has at its disposal, and they should get the book thrown at them in court. But in the meantime, the punks shouldnt be rewarded with not only disrupting school, but with terrorizing parents, too.
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