LA Terror Scare
April 28, 2004 11:13 PM   Subscribe

Apparent terrorism threat to Los Angeles West Side. According to KNBC News 4 in LA, Federal authorities in Westwood have received a threat of terrorism against a local shopping mall somewhere on the West Side, to take place sometime tomorrow, Thursday April 29. Though unsubstantiated, the threat is being taken seriously enough that all local police forces have been notified and at least partially mobilized. I don't know about you, but I won't be shopping tomorrow.... are any other places in the US getting local threats like this, either now or recently?
posted by zoogleplex (39 comments total)
 
blah blah blah blah... terrorists have already won.. blah blah blah
posted by keswick at 11:28 PM on April 28, 2004


'Bowling for West Side LA'
posted by stbalbach at 12:52 AM on April 29, 2004


Here's why it's probably not a good idea to post allegedly apparent breaking news.
posted by planetkyoto at 1:48 AM on April 29, 2004


That wasn't meant to sound snotty. I apologize if it does.
posted by planetkyoto at 1:50 AM on April 29, 2004


Let me know when it happens.

Actually, you don't do that either, because I have a special browser that lets me visit news sites.
posted by stonerose at 7:14 AM on April 29, 2004


but I won't be shopping tomorrow...

pussy. more bullshit designed to keep americans quaking in fear and their voting fingers hovering over the bush button. hook, line, sinker.
posted by quonsar at 7:21 AM on April 29, 2004


I can't imagine anything more pointlessly exhausting than letting local TV news channels influence your behavior.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:27 AM on April 29, 2004


Dear America,

Stay home. Vote for Bush.
posted by mkultra at 7:34 AM on April 29, 2004


Be afraid. Vote for bush.
posted by specialk420 at 7:40 AM on April 29, 2004


fuck the terrorists.

and fuck bush.

... hmmmm fucking bush.....
posted by Frasermoo at 7:45 AM on April 29, 2004


I consider it every Westwood resident's patriotic duty to get out there tomorrow and buy some new Victoria's Secret skivvies and an Orange Julius. Otherwise, the terrorists have won.....
posted by spilon at 7:53 AM on April 29, 2004


pussy

Bingo.
posted by trharlan at 7:55 AM on April 29, 2004


OH CRAP NOT TEH WESTSIDE! OH NOOOOO!

If someone can think of a way nanotech goop to get rid of as many damn heathen temples of hypergluttony malls as they can without physically hurting anyone, please go to. LA has too many damn malls anyway.

On that note, perhaps there's a market for the XTREEM UBERMALL OF 2MORROW in which that to do one's shopping for totally superfluous luxury goods one is required to avoid all manner of deadly challenges. I'm thinking alligator pits, chaingun wielding killbots and really miffed Gary Coleman clones with kitten teeth. I have a feeling I'll regret posting this idea after some bright young capitalist runs off with it makes it happen. But killer Gary Coleman clones with bioengineered kitten teeth might just be worth it.

In other Los Angeles news we're being plagued by some sort of new and unknown aphid or something. See? Smog has its uses, we should have kept more of it around. I blame the AQMD, as they're obviously commie terrorists. We also haven't fallen into the ocean yet. Phoenix can bite it. Besides, Kingston or Needles is much more likely to get the beachfront property. Phoenix doesn't deserve beach front property, anyway... Not after subjecting the entire southwest to that Sky Harbor fiasco they try to pass off as an airport...
posted by loquacious at 8:03 AM on April 29, 2004


Well see, after the last attack, we weren't urged to sacrifice and conserve, but instead to run out and buy buy buy! And where do Americans buy? The mall. Why wouldn't the terrorists go where the Americans are?
posted by trondant at 8:34 AM on April 29, 2004


The first rule of terrorism is you do not advertise the next location to be hit.

k
thx
drv-thru
posted by Ynoxas at 8:48 AM on April 29, 2004


God, I'm glad I didn't turn on the local news this morning. I'm sure it would have been full of blow-dried heads with those Looks Of Concern on their faces, telling us to be brave, and that it's only a rumor, but stay tuned for TerrorismWatch2004, with our NBC4 Special Intelligence Unit!

Now, here's a picture of puppies!

Bloody awful Channel 4 News, grumble, grumble...
posted by RakDaddy at 8:49 AM on April 29, 2004


Maybe the terrorists don't hate our lifestyle, maybe they just hate The Grove .
posted by herc at 8:56 AM on April 29, 2004


Whenever I think of an LA mall, I think of Scenes from a Mall which some hate for being long, slow moving, and aggravating superficial, I think it grasped upper-class suburban culture perfectly.
posted by geoff. at 9:06 AM on April 29, 2004


As long as the Apple store in the grove is safe.
posted by birdherder at 9:23 AM on April 29, 2004




No offense taken, planetkyoto, nor from you quonsar (whom I hold in high regard from reading posts for 2 years).

Actually the real reason I'm not shopping is because I have to work today, and also at home tonight. Hadn't planned on it anyway.

The reason I posted this is more to point up the overreaction by the press to an unsubstantiated threat, and to ask if threats like this have been or are popping up more and more frequently as election time approaches. While I don't choose any of my daily activities from what the TV news tells me (and especially NOT channel 4, gah), a lot of people do. As intimated so subtly above by mkultra, specialk420 and others, I think this is just another facet in an overall effort to maximize the climate of fear in the US, so quonsar I agree completely.

I should have explained why I put it up, shouldn't I. Well I'm new at this so I can stumble a bit.

Anyway, anybody else getting this sort of thing near them? Any thoughts as to whether this will indeed get more frequent and pervasive?
posted by zoogleplex at 9:28 AM on April 29, 2004


Yeah, you can't hate The Grove because of the Apple Store. Getting into the parking lot, that's another story... great, modern lot; lousy street approach access.

I have to go there to get a new AirPort card this weekend (it's close to my home). There's a few more Apple Stores in LA so I'm not too worried... ;)

y2karl, yes exactly. Thanks.
posted by zoogleplex at 9:31 AM on April 29, 2004


Whenever I think of an LA mall, I think of Valley Girl. Of course that mall was not on the west side and, in fact, most of the Sherman Oaks Galleria has since been converted into office space, leaving a cluster of chain restaurants, a multiplex theater and Tower Records. Strange place.

Anyway, I have to think back about 15 years to the last time I was in a "Westside Mall". But all the Los Angeles TV morning news shows have been running long boring stories with field reporters standing outside mall entrances, reciting the official list of "factors that could indicate 'pre-operational targeting by terrorists.'"

* Multiple sightings of the same suspicious person, vehicle or activity at the same location;
* Individuals or activities that don't "fit" into the surrounding environment;
* Individuals sitting in a parked vehicle for an extended period of time;
* Individuals or several people sketching or taking notes, photographing or videotaping areas or buildings not normally associated with tourist activity;
* Clothing out of place for the weather, such as someone wearing a heavy coat in hot weather;
* Individuals or people carrying unusually heavy bags or backpacks;
* Vehicles -- especially vans, U-Hauls or delivery trucks -- improperly parked or parked in locations not normally associated with deliveries.

(I'll leave the obvious comments on this silly list to others)
But tomorrow would be a very good day for a terrorist attack in L.A...
Wendell's Meta Prediction #2: this prediction is for entertainment purposes only, and does not represent any endorsement of terrorist activity, and you're an asshat for suggesting otherwise.
posted by wendell at 9:49 AM on April 29, 2004


loquacious, I salute you.
posted by theora55 at 9:50 AM on April 29, 2004


* Multiple sightings of the same suspicious person, vehicle or activity at the same location;
* Individuals or activities that don't "fit" into the surrounding environment;
* Individuals sitting in a parked vehicle for an extended period of time;
* Individuals or several people sketching or taking notes, photographing or videotaping areas or buildings not normally associated with tourist activity;


Oh my god, television reporters are terrorists!
posted by ilsa at 10:11 AM on April 29, 2004


Ay yi yi. Everyone at my company just got a copy of the LAPD threat advisory in our official company email, reprinting what wendell posted just above.

*sigh* Caution or paranoia? Wonder how many innocent and harmless people will get accosted by les gendarmes today near LA shopping malls? "Sketching..." Geez, I like to go draw people from life at the Farmer's Market sometimes; are they going to question art students?

Stupid. There was no need to announce any of this to the public; just alerting the cops and security people to be more vigilant would have sufficed. With stuff like this, you get wacky people packin' weapons - not terrorists, just citizens who are more afraid than most - wandering around in public places. Definitely not a good idea.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:16 AM on April 29, 2004


An LAPD source quoted by one report I saw said that this "threat" was being treated the same way by them as dozens of previous "terrorism tips", but I believe the only reason this one became a News Story is that it was initially received by the Dept. of Homeland Security, and not local law enforcement. Just another case of Federal publicity whoring.
posted by wendell at 10:42 AM on April 29, 2004


Yeah, you can't hate The Grove because of the Apple Store.

And because I live right across the street. :-)

(Walking across the street at night to get dinner from the Farmer's Market is soooooo nice.)
posted by Asparagirl at 12:24 PM on April 29, 2004


I work one block away from Westfield Shopping Mall. My buidling seems to have a few more security personnel wandering about and I saw a few more cops patrolling the area. Other than that, no one at work seems concerned about the security threat.
posted by lola at 12:25 PM on April 29, 2004


March 2003: "The Intelligence Community believes that terrorists will attempt multiple attacks against U.S.and Coalition targets worldwide in the event of a U.S led military campaign against Saddam Hussein."

May 2003: "The United States raised the nation's terror threat level Tuesday, saying the U.S. intelligence community believes al Qaeda has entered an "operational period worldwide" and might attack within the United States."

September 2003: "Responding to unsubstantiated intelligence from North Africa about plans for a terrorist attack in Miami this week -- the second area-specific threat in the past couple of weeks -- police have boosted patrols to ''orange alert'' levels."

December 2003: "The information we have indicates that extremists abroad are anticipating near-term attacks that they believe will either rival, or exceed, the attacks that occurred in New York and the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania nearly two years ago."

February 2004: " key piece of the information leading to recent terror alerts was fabricated, according to two senior law enforcement officials in Washington and New York."

We have real and credible information that Bush, Ridge & Ashcroft are pussies who cry wolf.
posted by ed at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2004


Whoa, that's majorly unfair, ed.

How do you know that by alerting the public, stepping up patrols, tightening security, increasing the number of guards and cops on duty, checking under cars with those mirror-thingies for car bombs, increasing ID checks in public buildings, etc.--all things I've witnessed in NYC and LA as responses to threat level changes and specific alerts--that the gov't didn't prevent one of those threats from turning into the real thing, because the heat was on the bad guys too much?

I wouldn't be so quick to call bullshit on people whose necks are on the line when it comes to protecting their city's inhabitants--if something happened on their watch, they'd have a lot to answer for. That there haven't been any major attacks on US soil since 9/11 is truly amazing. Far, far better that we have a little too much vigilance and a lot of transparency to the public about possible threats, than get lax and clammed-up about threats again.

Now please take your attempts at political pandering and shove it in one of the many many other threads around here where it would be more welcome. Let's try to leave the discussions of possible threats to public safety as non-partisan as possible.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:04 PM on April 29, 2004


Asparagirl - How dare you introduce basic logic and rational thought into this thread? Don't you know that because something doesn't happen it never could have? Didn't you get issued the same hindsight glasses everyone else got? It must be that Kool-Aid you're drinking. It's messing with your mind!
posted by loquax at 3:28 PM on April 29, 2004


Ahh, so that's what those helicopters were last night...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:31 PM on April 29, 2004


Let's try to leave the discussions of possible threats to public safety as non-partisan as possible

as the Bush administration has obviously done these last 2 and half years, one supposes.
leading by example.
posted by matteo at 4:09 PM on April 29, 2004


Aspara: And how do you know that there was even a terrorist threat when searching these places in the first place? While I understand the obvious concerns, if the Department of Homeland Security was actually forthright about the "real and credible info" they presumably have at their disposal, or offered solid fact-based methodology to their madness rather than what appears to be unsubstantiated hunches or lies, then I'd be less inclined to tear into these alerts.

But since there's nothing in the examples I mentioned that suggests a solid tip, the very goal of vigilance has had exactly the opposite reaction. A color code alert system mocked by most of the populace, a department bloated on cash and power that isn't accountable to the public (easily obtainable subpoenas, who knows what records kept on the populace, throwing "suspects" into the slammer without the right to an attorney or court of law) -- in short, a mess of a system that local authorities are forced to follow through the chain of command. If erosion of due process represents the price of eternal vigilance, then one might make the case that partisan politics are inseparable from the argument.

And what's so amazing about the lack of attacks? Is there a probability ratio I don't know about which can compute this? Is this directly attributable to the efficacy of the authorities or might it have something to do with the U.S. having the world's highest incarceration rate? The problem, as you point out and that I am railing against here, is that one can only speculate about these threats, because we are not privy to the m.o. or the information presented. It is a policy which has dictated U.S. policy for too long. The population demanding some reasonable explanations at the local level might be a start.
posted by ed at 4:12 PM on April 29, 2004


quonsar (whom I hold in high regard from reading posts for 2 years).

*gapes speechlessly!*
posted by quonsar at 4:17 PM on April 29, 2004


Yes scary, isn't it quonsar? :D hahaha!

I'm getting the impression from this thread that most of us on here really aren't too frightened of having an actual attack happen. This is refreshing to me, at least.

My take on all this is that a truly well-prepared, professional set of security organizations would not need to issue such inflammatory public statements on unsubstantiated threats - they would mobilize themselves without giving out a public warning. In the event of an actual terrorist plot, that sort of warning would be most likely to send the terrorists back into hiding to attack another day. Putting out the forces without making a big deal out of it, they might just catch themselves some terrorists and be able to trumpet their capture all over the airwaves - TERRORIST PLOT FOILED! FILM AT 11! would make a lot of people feel pretty darn good, wouldn't it?

It does occur to me that making public announcements like that, and sending the terrorists back to their holes to plot for another day, could be seen as a valid strategy in the "war on terror." However, it doesn't solve the problem, it merely prolongs it, because if they are determined, they WILL be back, and they might plan better and have no leaks next time.

So, even if that's the case, the net effect of doing this would be to (a) keep the public in an elevated state of fear and (b) have the ability to maintain that state of fear because the terrorists might still be out there, plotting their next strike. Prolonging the fear, keeping people worried about things, does seem to me to be a partisan strategy - even if I give the benefit of the doubt and sayit's the news outlets being sensationalists for ratings. It still plays in a way advantageous to the incumbent administration and OHS.

I'd rather they kept relatively quiet about threats, caught some real terrorists, and actually made the world safer.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:14 PM on April 29, 2004


As of 5 O'Clock, Los Angeles time, the most terroristic thing on the local news is a 17-year-old boy shooting his girlfriend in the head at a Palm Desert abortion clinic, apparently to stop her from getting an abortion.

All's normal in Southern California.
posted by wendell at 5:31 PM on April 29, 2004


OMG that is just... horribly ugly and wrong. How sad. I... I just can't come up with anything other than "horrifyingly sad" to describe that story. I hope the young girl survives (she's in critical condition if you didn't click the link).

I'm not hungry anymore. :(
posted by zoogleplex at 5:39 PM on April 29, 2004


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