In this age, we have to take any threat or perceived threat of mass violence very seriously. Especially if that threat appears to be targeted at a school campus. A note was found on a law school campus that totally freaked out the school’s administration.
It turned out to be nothing. Funny even. But man, in these times, even after finding the truth, the most I can do is muster nervous laughter….
The William and Mary School of Law campus was put on red alert after this message from the administration:
Yesterday a law student contacted the law school administration to report that she had heard something on Saturday that had caused her concern.
She reported: “I was speaking with some of my fellow 1Ls when one of them mentioned a sheet of paper that had been found in the Law School library. The paper was apparently printed with the words: ‘Plan A: Kill 400 people.’ I don’t know if it said anything else. Rather than report what they found, the students who found the ‘threat’ put it in someone’s locker as a joke. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of this information. The student who told me about this heard it from someone who overheard the students who found the piece of paper.”
Upon receiving this email, the Law School administration reported the matter to campus police who spent much of yesterday investigating the incident. They spoke with the student who reported the incident, and with other students, but could not find anyone who had actually seen the piece of paper in question, or who could verify its existence. The police continue to investigate.
If you have seen this note, or have any information about it, please contact the William & Mary police immediately at 221-4596. In the alternative, please contact Dean Jackson at [redacted].
At the present time, we do not believe that this is a credible threat, but we are continuing to investigate. This type of incident is always taken seriously and, in this day and age, cannot be considered a joking matter.
When I first saw the email, I thought, “Well, that would pretty much be the worst April Fool’s joke ever.”
I don’t see how the law school or the university had any choice but to take this as a real thing and inform the students. Given that, I can’t really fault the administration, even though they were forced to send this next email just ten minutes later:
Dear Law School Community:
Thank you for reading your emails so promptly. The issue has been resolved. The paper belonged to a mediation exercise that actually stated “400 people in town will die.” The rumor changed the language a bit.
I appreciate that the issue was brought to our attention. The safety of our community is paramount.
A “mediation” that involves 400 people dying? I guess that’s a Biglaw version of mediation.
We reached out to the school for more information. Dean Jackson put the issue in context:
I have spoken with the student who made the copies and saw what was copied and I have the article from which the classroom mediation exercise was based. The article is about how people make choices and poses four different scenarios from which groups of people were asked to choose one. For example, America is preparing for an outbreak of a deadly disease, which is expected to kill 600 people. If program A is adopted, 200 people will be saved; if program B is adopted there is a 33% probability that 600 people will be saved; if program C is adopted 400 people will die; if program D is adopted there is a 33% probability that no one will die.
Certainly, in this day and age, we cannot take as innocent anything that appears to be a threat without investigating the veracity of the rumor.
Ha. Haha… Phew.
The students, after being terror stricken for ten minutes, were able to laugh about it. Said one tipster:
Well, we were freaked out after the first email. But then it became hilarious when we found out it was a lost mediation assignment.
Honestly, I’m just so happy that everybody is safe. If you see something, say something. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is vigilance.