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Bomb threat shuts Brandeis, one day after bomb threat shut the Waltham library

UPDATED, 7 p.m.

An e-mailed bomb threat forced Brandeis University to evacuate the campus today, on the eve of most students returning to campus.

The bomb threat came just a day after the Waltham Public Library on Main Street was also shut by a bomb threat.

In both cases, no actual bombs were found after extensive searches. And in both cases, the threats came in early in the morning.

Students already on campus at Brandeis were at first evacuated to college athletic fields; they were later moved to "a safe indoor location" where they were given food and drinks.

Campus police went door to door to evacuate anybody left behind and then to check buildings for bombs.

At 4:50 p.m., the university announced the all clear.

In a message to students and staff, Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz wrote:

Now that the “all-clear” has been sounded, residence halls have been reopened and we will resume full campus operations tomorrow. Orientation for new students and returning student programs will continue as planned. An active investigation is underway, and police will continue to be visible on campus.

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Comments

I don't know how to post the following without presenting myself as a completely sarcastic asshole, but I'll try. And hey, I'm comfortable in my own skin.

This incident brings to mind a similar threat posed to Brandeis a few years ago, when the threatening emails were traced to the Newton Public Library. Authorities were dispatched to the library in an effort to track down the offender, but were denied entry because they didn't have a warrant. That's right, there was an imminent threat that bombs were going to be set off at Brandeis, and the staff, supported by the mayor at the time, barred the door and harbored the perpetrator. During the time needed to get the warrant, really bad things could have happened. Then the mayor & company patted themselves on the back and declared it "Newton's Finest Hour" as Churchill rolled over in his grave.

Fortunately, the there was nothing to the threat that time. It ended up being a hoax perpetrated by a nutcase.

The above is how I remember it happening. Do I recall correctly?

In that incident, people could have been killed while the suspect was protected, but hey, priorities.

In the years since, we've experienced way too many incidents of terrorism worldwide, and Newton has elected a different mayor, not that there's a Newton connection this time around. I hope everything turns out okay once again.

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Likely formulated with assistance from the city attorney.

I know you right wing types hate librarians, but there are rules to this and legal obligations that you can't possibly understand.

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those rules regarding people's privacy in a public library; but, an emergency involving potential serious violence mitigate those regulations.

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Okay there Jack Bauer

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Threaten to bomb, shoot, stab, people and/or an institution like a school, then absolutely, library authorities should have no issue giving law enforcement relavant data in order to avoid a tragedy.

Likewise, if someone is holding someone hostage, abusing them and threatening to murder them, and they use public library internet access to convey what's going.on, of course, library authorities should immediately give law enforcement relavant data and not wait for a court order if the clock is rapidly ticking down.

Other examples would be someone using public library internet access to view and distribute child porn.

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Threaten to bomb, shoot, stab, people and/or an institution like a school, then absolutely, library authorities should have no issue giving law enforcement relavant data in order to avoid a tragedy.

Likewise, if someone is holding someone hostage, abusing them and threatening to murder them, and they use public library internet access to convey what's going.on, of course, library authorities should immediately give law enforcement relavant data and not wait for a court order if the clock is rapidly ticking down.

Other examples would be someone using public library internet access to view and distribute child porn.

I believe your argument goes roughly like this:

"Rather than having laws and policies in place, we should leave it up to the discretion of each individual library staff member whether to allow warrantless searches etc."

I will leave the exposition of that particular slippery slope as an exercise for the reader.

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there are rules to this and legal obligations that you can't possibly understand.

You are correct about this. I do not understand how the safety of innocents in danger of a potential bomb detonation is less important than the rights of the person potentially responsible for setting off the bomb.

I know you right wing types hate librarians

I don't consider myself a right winger. But then again I don't march in lockstep with the masses in Mass. or the masses at mass, for that matter. I've been called worse, but if you knew my stances on all the standard issues that affect politically ideology, you would not call me a right winger. If you are a reasonable person, that is.

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Allowing those in authority to come in and take whatever patron information they want from a library is a VERY slippery slope, especially in the political climate that we are in.

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Any good librarian would do this. Many libraries have computers that wipe data after a user logs off, and why would someone who posted a threat stay on any longer than they needed to?

American Library Association Privacy Information

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Many libraries have computers that wipe data after a user logs off, and why would someone who posted a threat stay on any longer than they needed to?

This is exactly why it's urgent that the police be allowed to find the suspect.

So first I'm told (above) that I hate librarians. I don't. I have a good friend who has made a lifelong career as a librarian. She studied hard, loves her job, and has some stories to tell.

Now I hear that obstructing the work of the police during an emergency situation is what any good librarian would do. To me, a good librarian knows the catalog, knows the reference department, and knows how to get people to shut the heck up in the designated quiet areas.

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I take it you didn't read anything in the link above.

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To me, a good librarian knows the catalog, knows the reference department, and knows how to get people to shut the heck up in the designated quiet areas.

Don't you think that it's also part of the librarian's job to keep unauthorized people out of the library's internal computer systems and databases?

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This is exactly why it's urgent that the police be allowed to find the suspect.

How do you propose the librarian determine whether or not the threat is real, and of a sufficiently urgent nature, to allow the police to perform a warrantless search?

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Do you want cops-- or people passing themselves off as cops-- to trace all of your activities, interactions, and communications without a warrant? Isn't that what the 4th Amendment protects us from?

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Are bomb threats ever representative of a real bomb? Or are they just plot devices from movies?

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The IRA used to call in warnings before bombings so that people could evacuate. Here's one example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Manchester_bombing#Discovery

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They called in code words in Omagh, but messed up the address, and the police evacuated the people into the path of the bomb.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omagh_bombing

Reportedly one of the code words they used to use is the name of a very delicious Irish butter which I cannot name here owing to the fact that I don't want to get sued for it.

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Parkay?

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just a guess

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in Las Palmas (one of which exploded) and forced all flights to divert to Los Rodeos Airport in Tenerife, which resulted in the worst aviation disaster in history when two 747s collided on the runway at Los Rodeos, were called in beforehand.

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To attribute the accident at Los Rodeos to a bomb threat is about as farfetched as blaming it on the 747 captain's parents having had sex 30 years previously.

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Tenerifie crash. However, most of those factors (especially the KLM crew's impatience to depart) were the result of the diversion of the flights from Grand Canarie Airport. If the terrorists hadn't planted bombs at Grand Canarie - one of which exploded, none of those factors would have come into play.

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The result was that Las Palmas was so overloaded with jets that they had to taxi up the runway used for landing.

It also meant overworked staff using equipment not meant for such a crowd and very garbled communications with the tower.

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Nor are they anything to write off. This kind of a prank, however, can result in the death of somebody; a person could drop dead of a heart attack, a stroke, or even an asthma attack (if s/he's predisposed to the latter.), for example.

Very seldom, if ever, is a real bomb been found. The people who commit these crimes (and I call bomb threats/scares crimes, because that's exactly what they are.) should immediately be arrested, tried for and charged with their crimes, and brought to justice before the law.

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The Waltham Public Library was closed because of a bomb threat yesterday. Who's mad at Waltham??

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The Swiss are still trying to rub it in after all these years.

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This joke will go way over the heads of a lot of people and tick them off.

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It's still called Watch City

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Elgin-erate a few laughs among us cuckoos.

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Unless you want to be associated with the movement. You need not have a hand in it!

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that attracts bomb threats.

Now, what could it possibly be?

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As a Brooklyn-born Jewish graduate of the place, I'm particularly sensitive to such stuff. But the fact that the bomb threat there comes the day after a similar bomb threat at the Waltham Public Library - an institution not particularly noted for its religious affiliation - suggests we need to maybe consider that we're dealing with a local crazy, not some organized hate group. Yes, the net effect is the same (both places were shut for the day), but before we start worrying about Nazis marching down Moody Street, maybe we should wait to see where the investigation goes.

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in waltham? that shouldn't be tough to figure out. let's start on the common??

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is Winchester High School. It's like an annual thing over there.

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and finals weeks no doubt.

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back in the winter of 1967, when I was a high school Sophomore. It started out like a regular fire drill, which we all thought it was, but we were herded into our high school gymnasium to be informed of what had really gone on. It was a bomb scare, so the entire high school was evacuated so that the police and fire departments could search the high school for a possible bomb. Simply sending everybody home was out of the question, since that would've increased the chance of a recurrence. We were all sent out of the high school and made to stay on our respective school buses for afew hours while the fire and police departments searched the school for a possible bomb. No bomb was found and we all went back to classes.

Not long afterwards, the perpetrator of the bomb scare, a 14 or 15 year old Freshman at the high school was apprehended, tried in Juvenile Court, and charged with his crime. He spent the better part of that year at the Billerica house of Correction, since he was a juvenile delinquent.

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Hey, Adam Gaffin, just saw that this is reported by you! Kudos. xo Stay safe in that hotbed of craziness, Waltham. ;)

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But I've been safely ensconced in the Universal Hub News Cave up in the mountains along the Roslindale/Hyde Park frontier all day (well, except for that trip to Star Market). Fortunately, it's still possible to do some reporting even from there.

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Someday somebody is going to figure out that spamming the world with bomb threats is an efficient way to DDoS the man. Afterwards, we'll all start being spammed with bomb threat emails. Maybe then, we'll get to the point where we all ignore bomb threats the same way we ignore Nigerian price emails.

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that bomb scares really can't be ignored, especially nowadays.

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