Tahlequah Daily Press


April 10, 2013

Threats are no laughing matter

TAHLEQUAH — The as-yet-unidentified man who called in the bomb threat to the Cherokee County Courthouse March 27 may have been angry that he had to pay some fines. The source of the menacing letter containing a powdery substance, discovered April 2 in a judge’s office, may have been acting on similar frustrations.

As far as the miscreant who left the note about a bomb threat Monday at Tahlequah High School, it was likely a kid who thought it was funny, or a way to get out of school or homework for a few days.

But whatever the impetus behind these actions, they could be viewed through a certain lens as low-grade, homegrown terrorism – and the community should not stand for it.

There’s nothing amusing about the fear-based disruption of the lives of other human beings. And leveling threats against innocent fellow citizens is no way to settle a score with those who have issued traffic tickets or levied fines against the aggressor. Even with the presumption of “innocent until proved guilty,” chances are good that anyone summoned to court, or handed a citation, did something to warrant it. And even if not, the soapbox of a courtroom is the place to send a return volley – with the help of a defense attorney rather than a weapon.

Even 12-1/2 years after that fateful day, few Americans can think of 9/11 without a sense of outrage, or at least deep sadness. In our collective minds, there’s no way to justify the heinous plan that led 19 hijackers to snuff out the lives of nearly 3,000 people just to send a “message” to our government. But it’s clear to even the youngest schoolchild that the attack on the World Trade Center was a terrorist attack – not so much because of how many lives were lost, but because it came from a hostile foreign source.

Yet the bombing in Oklahoma City of the Murrah Federal Building, on April 19, 1995, was also a terrorist plot. Initial reports suggested a foreign source for this tragedy, so when it turned out to be a couple of homegrown criminals who did the deed, the “terrorism” label wasn’t applied quite so liberally.

But “terrorism” it was – and though it may seem an exercise in hysterics to use the word, it could apply to Tahlequah’s recent rash of threats, as well.

Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as the “systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.” Certainly the threats at the courthouse struck fear in the hearts of employees and people with business in those corridors. And the angst must have been even worse for parents of THS students until they safely retrieved their kids.

Was there a “political” motive? That might depend on how one defines “political.” But it’s not much of a stretch to suggest such threats are designed to bend the wills of other people to one’s own, and the line between political agenda and personal grievance can sometimes be very nebulous indeed. Even the prankster out to get some laughs from a rude shock knows his action will cause “terror” for many of his victims.

Taxpayers have every reason to decry these acts and demand that they be punished. Bringing in bomb squads, explosives-sniffing dogs, an array of emergency services personnel, and a crew of investigators, is a costly endeavor.

Temporary shutdowns of facilities and the peripheral movement of people also requires expenditure of time and money. Both the funds, and the time, can be put to better use in this tough economy.

We believe we can speak for the entire community in saying we hope the perpetrators are caught, and subjected to the harshest punishment allowable under the law – regardless of who they know, or what families they were born into.

Threats are no laughing matter, whether they be in New York City, Oklahoma City, or Tahlequah.

Text Only
  • Community cleanups a good way to ensure our collective success

    This is our community – and it’s no better than what we make it. Let’s make it look great.

    April 16, 2014

  • Attack at school in Pennsylvania: Mental illness root of problem

    Washington’s crusade against guns was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday. No, it wasn’t the Supreme Court curtailment of the Second Amendment right of all Americans to own firearms. It wasn’t an executive order handed down by the administration. It was the brutal assault by a high school student in Pennsylvania against his fellow students – with a knife.

    April 14, 2014

  • People with faulty zippers should be booted from office

    We may forgive, but we shouldn’t forget, because there’s serious work to do in Washington. That work will never be accomplished as long as flawed zippers - literally or figurately – are a pervasive problem.

    April 11, 2014

  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

    April 9, 2014

  • NSA head lies to Congress, and seems to get away with it

    Is there an obvious pattern of criminality within these governmental agencies? If so, why isn’t the Judicial Department investigating?

    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

  • Tribal compacts should mean state has money to perform its functions

    Oklahoma should be rolling in the dough. The statistics bear that out. Thirty-three American Indian tribes operate 117 casinos in this state. Thanks to “compacts,” these tribes have been sharing the wealth with the state of Oklahoma. And thanks to the casinos, that wealth is substantial.

    March 28, 2014

  • It’s time to turn in your candidate announcements

    If you are running for a political office for which Cherokee County voters can cast ballots, it’s time to turn in your announcement. We’ve already run a few, and expect several more. The primary elections are Tuesday, June 24, with the registration period to vote in this election closing Thursday, May 30.

    March 24, 2014

  • Mom responsible for watching kid; restaurant’s not

    If you allowed your child to drink a bottle of drain cleaner, would you feign surprise when he fell to the floor, twitching and foaming at the mouth? If you left your curling iron within reach of your baby and she pulled it off the vanity and burned her hand, would you plan revenge on the store that sold you the appliance?
    You just might, if you’re among the litigious Americans who have abdicated parental responsibility to either sloth or the hope of a better tomorrow through a cash settlement.

    March 19, 2014


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing