It is outrageous that the threat of gun violence — even the rumor of a threat — can paralyze one of the world's great centers of learning for hours. But such is the fear in a state where a school massacre was almost unthinkable a year ago.
A midmorning call to New Haven police by a man who said his roommate was headed to campus to shoot up the place plunged Yale and its surroundings into suspended animation. Although the call may well have been a hoax — for which any sick perpetrator should be severely punished — authorities had no choice but to react.
Streets near the Ivy League university's old campus were blocked off. Frightened Yale students were advised to "shelter in place." Armed police in tactical gear conducted a room-to-room search.
Coincidentally, the threat came on the same day a state report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings was issued. That dreadful incident took two dozen lives nearly a year ago in a place that was also supposed to be a safe sanctuary of learning, not a madman's target.
The threat at Yale follows an incident at Central Connecticut State University in which a thoughtless now-former student wearing a military-style Halloween costume one recent night scared that institution into a lockdown.
Gun violence is far too prevalent in this country for hoaxes, if that's what happened in New Haven Monday — malicious or not.