If You See Something, Think Twice About Saying Something
The Travis County Criminal Justice Center was closed for most of the day on Friday, May 14, after a man reported that a “suspicious package” had been left in the building. The court complex was evacuated, and the APD Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit was called in for a look-see. The package in question, a backpack, contained paperwork but no explosive device. The building reopened at 1:40pm. The man who reported the suspicious package, Douglas Scott Hoopes, was arrested and charged with making a false report and booked into the jail. The charge is a felony punishable by up to two years in jail.
I don’t think we can have it both ways. We expect people to report anything suspicious—even dumb things—and now we want to press charges if they report something that isn’t an actual threat. Truth is, if you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get amateur security.
I think this excerpt from a poem by Rick Moranis says it best:
If you see something,
If you say something,
If you mean something,
You may have to prove something.
If you can’t prove something,
You may regret saying something.
EDITED TO ADD (5/26): Seems like he left the package himself, and then called it in. So there’s ample reason to arrest him. Never mind.