Police Blow Up Envelope, Cylinder

Janitors discovered an envelope and a “cylinder” at Henley and Brownsville this morning, the middle school and elementary school separated by a parking lot in Crozet, across from the street from WAHS. (Which is confusing. Were they in the parking lot between the two? Was the envelope at one school and the cylinder at another?) They contacted police, who got the bomb squad and the FBI involved. Parents were asked to keep students at home, and those kids who had already showed up were ushered over to WAHS. Late this morning the bomb squad did what comes naturally to them: they blew up said envelope and cylinder.

No doubt Jim Camblos is preparing to press charges against some poor kid for the crime of leaving a thank you note and a tin of cookies at her principal’s door.

13 thoughts on “Police Blow Up Envelope, Cylinder”

  1. Well… let’s hope it wasn’t an airborne biological agent. If it was then they’d have spread it all over the place…

    Personally, I feel it’s far more likely that some kid just wanted to see if he could get a day off of school with a bomb scare. I think Terrorists could really care less about Charlottesville.

  2. As a freshman at WAHS, some moron in my Spanish class routinely called in bomb threats in order to get out of class. (It only became clear in retrospect that it was him each time.) This kid had a room-temperature IQ — the kind of guy who beseeches the teacher to let him go to the bathroom and them doesn’t return for the rest of the class…every day. He was calling in the threat from the pay phone in the lobby, across from the office. He was caught and expelled. I suspect he’s in prison by now.

    Anyhow, more on topic, yeah, if there was a threat associated with this, responding like this makes sense. It’s when you have a threat without a potential weapon or a potential weapon without a threat, all at a zero-value target, that responses like this are clearly over the top.

  3. Well, I have to say that the envelope and cylinder sound slightly more potentially dangerous than what I was speculating this morning, which was that some poor kid had simply forgotten his lunchbox the day before and a school admin thought it was a bomb.

    I kind of have mixed feelings about this one…people tend to roll their eyes over threats like this, but if something ever really did happen the consequences would be much, much worse and everyone would want to know why they let the kids stay in school when there was a “suspicious package.” On the other hand, when school gets cancelled over an envelope and a cylinder, stupid kids like Waldo’s classmate learn that it really is that easy just to cancel school. And whatever happened to the media’s policy of not covering bomb threats?

    To me, what’s worse is the way this situation was handled as far as notifying parents…at 8 a.m., kids who show up early at Western Albemarle are told to go home, no reason given. When parents call Western, nobody answers. Rumors begin circulating that Brownsville and Henley are sending kids to Western, but nobody can find out what’s really going on. Finally, at 9:30, NBC29 reports that parents are being told not to send their kids to school for the day if they haven’t already. Why in the world would kids still be at home? By that time, the parents have all sent them to school and are at work. So, either they have to take off work to head back to Crozet and make childcare arrangements for the day, or their kids have to spend the day sitting in a school gym eating snacks.

    And yet we are constantly reminded of the importance of kids passing SOLs…but this is how they’re spending their time.

    My understanding is that they finally did dismiss the kids early. Was anything done to ensure that each one made it home to a parent, or did kids whose parents weren’t able to make arrangements in advance just have to sit on their front porches all afternoon? It’s entirely possible that a parent who could not listen to the news or check e-mail while at work would have no way of knowing that this was all happening.

  4. I kind of have mixed feelings about this oneā€¦people tend to roll their eyes over threats like this, but if something ever really did happen the consequences would be much, much worse and everyone would want to know why they let the kids stay in school when there was a “suspicious package.”

    I look forward to finding out what the two items looked like. If it was an envelope from Publisher’s Clearing House, I’m not impressed. But if it had a threat written on it, oily stains, wires sticking out and smelled funny, that’s a different story. Was the cylinder a can of Coke? A partially-sliced cucumber? Or a stick of dynamite?

    Until the public is given this information, we should be forgiven for being highly skeptical. We all remember the truth of the last “bomb plot.”

  5. I am concerned that we are sending a message to people (probably kids) that this is an effective way to get lots of attention. This type of story used to be buried in the back of the Progress if it made the news at all.

  6. I would guess that what makes this more newsworthy is that it was an elementary school and middle school… all of the bomb threats I had ever experienced were in high school. It’s a little scarier when it’s tiny kids — many of whom probably have no idea that you could disrupt school by doing this — who are potentially in harm’s way.

  7. Spidermush,
    I think you are right about elementary schools in this area but there certainly have been other bomb threats at middle schools. I think it is very important to comunicate with parents about their children but am concerned that some of the drama is counter productive. Bored kids crave attention and I think it is unwise to reward bad behavior with a high level of attention.

  8. I’m getting very tired of these. I suppose the cops make a big fuss so they can get more of that delicious anti-terrorism funding?

    (Waldo, check the first link.)

  9. Gail –

    I will say this about the “news-worthiness” of these – there were two bomb threats last week; one at Western and one at Henley. Both were in the afternoon and amounted to nothing more than a relatively minor inconvenience for a short period of time.

    This time, they apparently actually found something, so it probably warranted more of a response. That said, this was probably a bit much:

    Throughout the course of the day, they have had 65 officers, 2 bomb squads, 2 robots, and 17 canines (who were training at the Pentagon and brought down!)

  10. With those kind of numbers, this should have been one hell of a cylinder. I want to see pictures of the “hoax explosive devices,” as they’ll surely come to be known, regardless of whether or not there was any such hoax. Was there no reporter there with a telephoto lens?

  11. RE: media attention–I did NOT hear of the two threats last week, and I pay pretty close attention to local news. My conclusion is that the local media maybe DID exercise some restraint in covering those threats last week, like they’re supposed to. Yay!

    It’s hard to blame the media, though, for covering the dismissal of two schools full of children and the neutralizing (Teixeira said they didn’t blow it up–shot a water cannon at it?!?) of a “suspicious package” on school grounds. That story seems big enough to be newsworthy.

    Hmm, I just said more or less exactly what Jim said above…

  12. The DP has a story up now with some photos… that looks more serious than I would have expected, to be honest…..

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