Never Again!

Never again.

Since early January, over 50 JCCs have received almost 70 anonymous bomb threats, forcing the evacuation of babies, children and staff in 26 states. Proliferating anti-Semitic acts are reported on an almost daily basis, including broken synagogue windows, as well as Swastikas defacing holy places of prayer, the New York subway and private Jewish properties. In a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, a Jewish cemetery was desecrated, with more than 100 headstones knocked over or broken.

Screenshot from an AP video of the desecrated Jewish cemetery in Missouri.

Screenshot from an AP video of the desecrated Jewish cemetery in Missouri.

What is wrong with this picture? Is this our new “normal,” and are we simply to adjust to and accept this frighteningly unacceptable reality? [Read more…]

JCCs Receive Bomb Threats Twice in One Month

For Jewish community centers (JCCs) around the country, 2017 began with a series of security scares. On January 9, 16 centers in nine states received fake bomb threats, causing many evacuations and a disruption in normal operations. It was a similar scenario just nine days later when, according to the JCC Association of North America, a wave of bomb threats caused 27 JCCs in 17 states to quickly engage in security protocols to ensure the safety of their participants and facilities. [Read more…]

Save Me From Terrorists and the TSA

Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport control tower.

— by Kenneth R. Myers, Esq.

The relaxed feeling after my family vacation last month ended fast, when a bomb threat arrived, putting our plane and us in the hands of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).

Flight 770 to Philadelphia pushed back from the San Juan terminal gate precisely on time, loaded with 257 passengers and crew. The engines were started, and then stopped. The airline received a bomb threat, and a piece of checked luggage was on board with no passenger.

In a series of announcements, the captain first explained that a mysterious item of luggage was aboard, and then after a long pause, that a call had been received warning of a bomb. In a very slow procession, our airplane was towed about a mile, to a distant “isolation area” in a part of the airport with no buildings or people nearby, other than the emergency equipment called out for our arrival.  

There we sat for almost two more hours. There was no way for us to leave the plane, and we were forbidden to use cell phones, or other electronic devices. Nobody came aboard, and nobody left.

More after the jump.
The luggage compartment was opened, and the suspected item of luggage was found and towed away in a special containment vehicle, that looked like a large safe on wheels. As we sat there.

In short, the airport was saved from a threatened disaster, but we were left on the plane to await the feared explosion.

What kind of national security ignores 257 people exposed to a bomb threat? Who manages an emergency by protecting the airport, but not the passengers? This bomb turned out to be a hoax, but for us, protection from the TSA was like a hoax as well.