Fear, loathing and victimhood

Active shooter, Multiple Victims.’ It’s a horribly recurrent headline, spreading disruptive fears of victimisation by random violence. Less than two weeks after the December 2015 San Bernardino attack, the Los Angeles school system shut down in response to a bomb threat. Students were sent home or turned back on their way to school in a paroxysm of fear affecting millions of people, served by the nation’s second largest school system. New York’s public schools received essentially the same threat and deemed it not credible. It was ‘so generic, so outlandish’, New York mayor Bill de Blasio remarked. Police commissioner Bill Bratton compared the threat to a story line from the TV series Homeland and characterised the Los Angeles school shutdown as a ‘significant overreaction’.