Posted by: thescoundrel | December 15, 2007

High School Explosive Threat Déjà Vu

I was in the process of slinky thinking (sitting around juggling a slinky is a relaxing way to ponder events) about the baseball steroid scandal Friday morning, when I was distracted by a story on QCOnline about a shameful hoax committed at a Quad City regional school. It was not an authentic act of blood soaked school violence like several of those we have been exposed to over the last few years. But it was an act that was designed to create fear. The details printed were few but the Erie School System was the recipient of a threatening message written on a wall this week, which temporarily shut down their school for the day as they searched the building for explosive devices. Erie is a small school system where the whole High School population is not as large as some of the graduating classes of the large metro Quad City schools. The whole village is listed at less than 1600 residents in the 2000 census and is the embodiment of a Midwestern farm community. The Erie school system was one of several school systems I attended and it was the one I graduated from high school. Though I am no longer a resident I still make occasional trips to the village and I am still friends with many of the residents. The town backdrop paints a picture similar to Grant Woods American Gothic; and does not conjure up thoughts of planted high school explosive devices. Yet, this scare was kind of a déjà vu moment for myself as I was reading the article. I am not sure how often these types of events occur, but I do know I went through a similar “bomb threat” experience when I was attending Erie High School. We were all marched out of class an into the nearby (at that time) elementary school gymnasium while they checked the high school for the non-existent explosives. I can still remember the teachers talking and milling around the gym with we students during the search. It has been a few years and my memory is no longer 100% clear on the entire event, but I seem to remember actually returning to school and finishing the day afterwards. After the culprit was caught it turned out to be a family friend (in a town like Erie you are either an acquaintance, close friend or relative, everybody knows everyone else) from one of the many nice (are there any other kind in smalltown America?) families in the town. For some reason the guilty individual was looking for attention and sought it through this event. It is a great place to live and attend school (though I am sure more than one my former teachers would love to put some knots on my head, especially Mr. Ludwig for all my past, current and future destruction of the English language through grammar/spelling gaffs) so it saddens me to see the town go through this type of event once again.


  1. When I was in high school, I used to blow stuff up all of the time. Being a chemistry kind of kid, I was into making rather exotic explosives. I used to get called down to the principals office everytime someone shot off a firecracker. When I learned how to make a decent time fuse, I never got blamed again. The stuff I made was loud (Think M-80 loud) but not really powerful.


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