Recent bomb threats at Pitt damaging to education
It is difficult to write an opinion piece about the recent bomb threats at the University of Pittsburgh, because the perpetrator has given us no discernible reason for the bomb threats. His or her incoherent action gives this editorial board nothing to argue for or against, damaging not only our sense of security, but also general public discourse at a place where it should be most celebrated.
Although Pitt is treating the bomb threats as terrorist acts, the anonymity of the threats shares much in common with road rage and internet flame wars on chat rooms. Without a clue as to motive or purpose, the bomb threats are not statements, but only inarticulate expressions of aggression. Why is this person mad? We don’t know. Who is this person? We don’t know. What does he or she want? We don’t know. Is it possible to sympathize with or address him or her? Not at all.
This silence is baffling, unfortunate, and counterproductive. While road rage and flame wars are typically acts of passion, the meticulous planning and execution of any one of the recent bomb threats could only have been done with a cool head and a clear and compelling reason in the perpetrator’s mind. Even if the threats are just pleas for attention, it would benefit both the perpetrator and the public to know, and be able to respond to, his or her reasons.
It is a shame that these bomb threats had to happen in one of the most prominent university towns in our nation, a place where we, among other things, endeavor to channel natural aggression and passion into argument and discourse. The bomb threats not only frighten students and professors away from interacting with each other on campus, but their success at provoking reactions and remaining anonymous popularize and encourage others to use bomb threats as outlets for aggression over other, more articulate, forms of communication.