There were 10 packages as of press time.
Suspicious packages containing potentially explosive devices were sent to several prominent Democrats on Wednesday — first to financier George Soros, then the Clintons, the Obamas, California Rep. Maxine Waters and former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. A package also went to former CIA Director John Brennan via CNN and then, on Thursday one arrived at the business residence of actor Robert De Niro and two were addressed to former Vice President Joseph Biden.
Federal law enforcers launched a manhunt for the sender(s) of the packages, and people are on edge.
Amid the unfolding national news, a threat posed to Quaker Ridge School led to a lockout and evacuation, rattling parents already nervous about school security. Emergency procedures, recently reviewed and refined by the district’s new director of security, reportedly went according to plan, the threat was deemed unfounded and the school children were swiftly reunited with their families through early dismissal.
It may seem rash to tie the Quaker Ridge incident to the high profile threats that made headlines this week. But the spate of unsettling incidents makes one think how unfortunate it is that some people feel compelled to resort to terrorism or disruption.
They must feel they have no other means of dialogue.
But in fact they do.
Those means include the right to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6, and the right to freedom of expression, with a guarantee of a vigorous free press, which encompasses all the news media that aim to hold political or business leaders accountable.
The current climate of discord makes it more important to support the mechanisms in this country that allow peaceful expression and resolution of conflict.
Rather than resort to derision and insults — or worse — it is much more important that we encourage and participate in means of civil expression.
Officials said they don’t know if there will be more pipe bombs found, nor do they yet know the purpose of the bombs.
Were they meant to intimidate? Were they intended to foment discord in political discourse or create trepidation on the eve of an important congressional election?
Out of an abundance of caution, Gov. Andrew Cuomo deployed more than 100 additional National Guard soldiers and directed state law enforcement to double security at vital assets across New York.
Yet those defensive maneuvers were tempered with words of courage as Gov. Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio urged New Yorkers not to let fearmongers and bombmakers win. Rather, everyone should go about his or her daily business.
We should remember America has navigated and thrived on political plurality since Day One. As a nation founded on freedom and respect for diversity, we should express strong opinions and we should encourage political debate — without rancor or threats of violence.
“People know that at the end of the day we’re not Democrats or Republicans, we’re Americans,” the governor said. “We’re not red or blue. We’re red, white and blue.”