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  • #91
    Re: Boston Versus ATHF

    Originally posted by Thorn View Post
    A question for those of you who think the police actions were uncalled for: Have any of you ever actually dealt with a possible explosive device? Just to be clear, I'm not talking about fireworks or something equally trivial; I'm talking about something that will severely injure or kill a person within a 10 to 20 ft. radius and cause injury within 100 ft. or more. If you have not, then I would submit that you're not in any position to judge how the actions are carried out.

    Before the anyone asks: Yes, I've done it. Once. It was scary. I was in over my head, and I knew it. When the bomb squad took command of the scene, it was fine with me. Then when they destroyed the device and it was proven to be an actual IED, I was very happy that I had called them in and not made a stupid and possibly deadly choice that it "wasn't real."
    Having been in virtually identical situations I agree with you 100%. I think we're in the minority here.
    "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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    • #92
      Re: Boston Versus ATHF

      Originally posted by Vyrus View Post
      i would be inclined to see your side of the coin, if it wernt for the fact that all the devices were the same.

      they were up for 3 weeks, and the local population said they looked "harmless". even if they WERE devices involved in an attack, the official that located the first one would have called in the bomb squad (which was done eventually <_<) and they would have identified it as harmless, END of story.
      The devices being the same doesn't diminish the impact, and may even elevate it. As far as being up there for three weeks, and that people saying they looked "harmless" doesn't seem to have been known by anyone making the decisions until well after the fact. It's not exactly an unknown phenomenon that people will not supply information like that until after the event. Usually they do it via the local TV media for a chance to see themselves on the news.

      Obviously somebody thought they didn't look harmless and called them in as bombs.

      Originally posted by Vyrus View Post
      the problem is that like a bad south park episode, once the discovery was made that there was nothing to be afraid of, the situation spiraled WILDLY out of control, so badly that the common people of the nation felt the need to point and laugh.

      in short, the problem is AFTER the paranoia ended, nobody wanted to be seen pressing the stop button. and the point is, that kind of recklessness can do as much damage as a REAL terrorist attack -_-
      I'm not sure why you think it spiraled out of control _after_ the devices were found to be harmless or that the situation wasn't stopped appropriately. The impression I received was that things were stabilized until the police determined what they were dealing with. Once the had made the determination that the devices weren't explosive, that the squads then stood down, the remaining devices were collected as potential evidence, and traffic was restored. The "stop button" was pressed when they had enough information to make the decision.

      Unless of course, you're referring to the prosecution of the terrorist charges. At this time, that seems completely unsupported, and I'm not sure why the Mass AG's office is continuing with it. The only possibility that I can think of that might support the terror crimes would be that the defendants themselves called in the devices as bombs to get publicity. So far, I haven't seen any information in that regard, so I'm at a loss as to why the prosecution is continuing to push the charges under the terror statutes. We should see more on that portion of it in the weeks and months ahead.

      Originally posted by renderman View Post
      Where's the threshold?
      The threshold is based on a any number of things, and many are subjective: First up, what was it reported as and how was it done? "Hi, there's an unauthorized sign on the bridge" (the dispatcher yawns and suppresses the idea of taking a nap before sending a squad car) will get you a whole different response than "THERE"S A BIG FREAKIN' BOMB ON THE BRIDGE AND ITS GONNA BLOW! WE"RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" (the dispatcher puckers and starts hitting a lot of buttons.)

      Second, What does the device look like to the first patrol cops on the scene? Is it just a cardboard box that looks like it blew off someone's trash and ended up down the street? Or is it something that looks really out of place? Physical attachment to a structure verses random placement escalates or deescalates. Other indicators can be the presence (or lack) of things such as electronics/wiring which may indicate timing devices, or electrical or duct tape holding the whole thing together. A lot of this will depend on the street cops' training and experience.

      Finally, what information do the cops on the scene have both initially and as the situation evolves? If five people come forward and say "It's any advertisement for a movie", then that may help reduce suspicions about the device. On the other hand, if the highway dept. says they don't know what thing is on the bridge, and it isn't supposed to be there, then that raises suspicions. Where it's located (government buildings, banks, infrastructure would be indicators for an increased threat level), and who is the potential target all play into it. Potential victims such as big corporations with a certain reputation in a given situation, government officials, or foreign officials might increase the perceived threat as opposed to Mom and Pop's Corner Store when they have no known enemies, which would probably decrease it.

      All in all, it is a judgment based on a lot of different criteria, and it's continuously changing,

      Originally posted by theprez98 View Post
      Having been in virtually identical situations I agree with you 100%. I think we're in the minority here.
      Yeah, you were the one I was thinking would be saying "Been there, done that!"
      Last edited by Thorn; February 9, 2007, 21:57.
      Thorn
      "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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      • #93
        Re: Boston Versus ATHF

        Originally posted by Thorn View Post
        A question for those of you who think the police actions were uncalled for: Have any of you ever actually dealt with a possible explosive device? Just to be clear, I'm not talking about fireworks or something equally trivial; I'm talking about something that will severely injure or kill a person within a 10 to 20 ft. radius and cause injury within 100 ft. or more. If you have not, then I would submit that you're not in any position to judge how the actions are carried out.
        That's not true. Anyone has the potential to know how to handle explosives without actually having done so. Also, anyone can quickly find out how the city bomb squads are trained for situations such as these by doing a Google search.

        Before the anyone asks: Yes, I've done it. Once. It was scary. I was in over my head, and I knew it. When the bomb squad took command of the scene, it was fine with me. Then when they destroyed the device and it was proven to be an actual IED, I was very happy that I had called them in and not made a stupid and possibly deadly choice that it "wasn't real."
        That sounds scary.

        Sure, the ATHF signs were relatively small, and only had small containers on the front. However, so called "plastic" explosives (or even plain old black powder) can be placed in a container of almost any shape, and relatively small quantities can injure or kill. It can be very difficult to determine exactly the device is, sort of opening the device and running the risk of setting it off if it is real. Some of you may or not recall the "letter bombs" that Ted Kaczynski (the "Unabomber") used in the 1970s to the 1990s. Some of Kaczynski's devices were contained in standard mailing envelopes, yet he still managed to kill three and injure twenty-three people in computer and tech industries.
        Kaczynski also mailed copies of his manifesto, "Industrial Society and Its Future", to several newspapers demanding that they print it in order to spread a global message about the dangers of modern technology, which tipped off law enforcement. There was nothing of this sort for the ATHF signs. Nor anything that would lead us to believe that they were placed there for a purpose.

        We cannot just go around assuming that every single ambiguous thing is a potential bomb.

        In retrospect, the situation in Boston was unwarranted, but hindsight is always 20/20. The nature of dealing with reported explosives means that you proceed with all possible caution, and you never assume that a device is safe until it is rendered safe or proven not to be an explosive.
        I agree. But I think that it is ok for people to have already drawn this conclusion beforehand.
        "The world cannot live at the level of its great men." -Mamoru Oshii

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        • #94
          Re: Boston Versus ATHF

          Douglas Adams summed it up the best in The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy:

          Originally posted by Zaphod Beeblebrox
          Ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking...
          This was a fantastic idea right up until the point where sensitive locations in Boston were used. As much as I'm a fan of guerrilla art, there's a time and a place for everything. Having said that:

          - Prosecuting the artists (dipshits though they may be) is entirely the wrong thing to do. While I can't completely buy into the 'they were only following orders' argument...

          - Firing the people at Turner Broadcasting and the ad agency responsible who thought that this was a good idea would be the appropriate thing to do.

          - City of Boston: yeah, it was a non-threat. Bill the $750,000 response fee to Turner and be done with it. But given that the 'device' cleverly featured a character that typically less than a million people know about and was positioned on what could be considered valuable targets - see above quote. But this doesn't make the concern of the agencies involved any less legitimate.

          Playing devil's advocate here for a minute, let's say you're a terrorist. Think anyone's going to notice a Bart Simpson-shaped bomb? Now apply the same thinking to the above situation. The potential's very much the same - and as much as I dislike jumping to conclusions, it is incredibly negligent in this context to not look at the way the responses were related to the actions that brought them about.

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          • #95
            Re: Boston Versus ATHF

            Originally posted by steampunk View Post
            That's not true. Anyone has the potential to know how to handle explosives without actually having done so. Also, anyone can quickly find out how the city bomb squads are trained for situations such as these by doing a Google search.
            Assuming that isn't hyperbole on your part, I hope you don't really believe that you can understand it merely from reading on the Internet. You cannot know how to handle explosives merely by reading about it. To think otherwise is extremely dangerous. That's like claiming that even though you're a virgin, you know all about sex because you watched a pr0n flick; the experience and the book knowledge are worlds apart!

            Originally posted by steampunk View Post
            That sounds scary.
            It was scary, but prior training, experience, and knowing my limitations in the situation made all the difference.

            Originally posted by steampunk View Post
            Kaczynski also mailed copies of his manifesto, "Industrial Society and Its Future", to several newspapers demanding that they print it in order to spread a global message about the dangers of modern technology, which tipped off law enforcement. There was nothing of this sort for the ATHF signs. Nor anything that would lead us to believe that they were placed there for a purpose.
            Law Enforcement knew about Kaczynski for years before he demanded the manifesto be printed. Several of his early bombs had been linked by Modus Operandi and forensically. The manifesto helped quite a bit in narrowing it down to him. However, I understand what you are saying. The point that I was trying to make is that the size and shape of the devices isn't really a consideration. A common document envelope can carry enough explosive to kill or maim as proven by Kaczynski and countless other who have used that technique. (He was merely a good example, as people in this community have probably heard of him due to his anti-computer/anti-tech stance.) Prior posts have indicated that several people believe that the devices could have been quickly and easily determined to not be IEDs, and it's my contention that is isn't that easy, based merely on size and appearance.

            Originally posted by steampunk View Post
            We cannot just go around assuming that every single ambiguous thing is a potential bomb.
            No, of course not. But if something is reported as a bomb, you treat it as a bomb until that theory is disproved.

            Originally posted by steampunk View Post
            I agree. But I think that it is ok for people to have already drawn this conclusion beforehand.
            Before the event is complete? That would indicate that they are making conclusions based on insufficient information.
            Thorn
            "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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            • #96
              Re: Boston Versus ATHF

              Originally posted by Thorn View Post
              Assuming that isn't hyperbole on your part, I hope you don't really believe that you can understand it merely from reading on the Internet. You cannot know how to handle explosives merely by reading about it. To think otherwise is extremely dangerous. That's like claiming that even though you're a virgin, you know all about sex because you watched a pr0n flick; the experience and the book knowledge are worlds apart!
              No hyperbole intended :)
              I just think that it's totally possible for someone to understand that situation without having experience in diffusing bombs. Or in your example, the virgin could most likely tell if the person was not having sex based on his pr0n-looking (btw, awesome analogy *rofl*).

              Law Enforcement knew about Kaczynski for years before he demanded the manifesto be printed. Several of his early bombs had been linked by Modus Operandi and forensically. The manifesto helped quite a bit in narrowing it down to him. However, I understand what you are saying. The point that I was trying to make is that the size and shape of the devices isn't really a consideration. A common document envelope can carry enough explosive to kill or maim as proven by Kaczynski and countless other who have used that technique. (He was merely a good example, as people in this community have probably heard of him due to his anti-computer/anti-tech stance.) Prior posts have indicated that several people believe that the devices could have been quickly and easily determined to not be IEDs, and it's my contention that is isn't that easy, based merely on size and appearance.
              I see what you mean. It is definitely possible that the battery encasing could have housed concentrated RDX in some form or another.

              No, of course not. But if something is reported as a bomb, you treat it as a bomb until that theory is disproved.
              This basically comes down to what I mentioned earlier in the thread that the bomb squads are in most cases reliant upon citizens for that information. And unfortunately, most of them are itching to cry "wolf" (or in this case, "omg terrorist bomb!").

              Before the event is complete? That would indicate that they are making conclusions based on insufficient information.
              Truthiness, my friend! BwAHAHAHA Naw, I'm just kidding (I'm red-bull-crashing right now, so excuse the silliness). But seriously, I think that a lot of people really knew deep down that this was ridiculous. Especially those who had seen the displays weeks prior.
              "The world cannot live at the level of its great men." -Mamoru Oshii

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              • #97
                Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                I'm going to play devil's advocate to all the people who said Boston over reacted, and all i'm going to do is site this one story.

                http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/robots/to...ial-234860.php
                There is nothing more dangerous than people with a little knowledge. Which means society is mostly safe.

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                • #98
                  Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                  Originally posted by Rance View Post
                  I'm going to play devil's advocate to all the people who said Boston over reacted, and all i'm going to do is site this one story.

                  http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/robots/to...ial-234860.php
                  That's a pretty amazing way to deliver a bomb. But I wouldn't discourage anyone from buying robo-puppies. I'm afraid that anti-technologists and reactionaries are scaring people away from totally useful technology. And dammit, I want to see flying cars and cyborgs before I die! :)
                  "The world cannot live at the level of its great men." -Mamoru Oshii

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                  • #99
                    Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                    Originally posted by steampunk View Post
                    That's not true. Anyone has the potential to know how to handle explosives without actually having done so. Also, anyone can quickly find out how the city bomb squads are trained for situations such as these by doing a Google search.
                    I *really* hope you're not serious.
                    "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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                    • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                      I've legally handled PETN, and AP before. I'm not sure if that qualifies my opinion(most likely not,) but I figure it gives me some credible insight seeing as they're more powerful than dynamite, or C4 compositions.

                      In any case all petty arguing aside ballistics freaks with cartoon fixations are rare. I'd hate to see a kid prosecuted for taking a toy to school all because pretentious people in suburbia are shaking there tail feathers over what should be laughed at.

                      They need to build brick walls around there houses, and leave the rest of the world alone.

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                      • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                        Originally posted by VAX_to_PBX View Post
                        I've legally handled PETN, and AP before. I'm not sure if that qualifies my opinion(most likely not,) but I figure it gives me some credible insight seeing as they're more powerful than dynamite, or C4 compositions.
                        10 kilos of "c" - group alike high explosive (it is more dangerous, because less stable) can be obtained in 10 hours in EVERY garage, especially in winter. the difference between handmade and industrial explosive is in plasticizer agent.
                        The only problem is obtainig highly purified nitric acid. And what does it mean ?
                        NOTHING.
                        The situatuon was just the same 20 years ago. The problem is in generated tension. This is a problem of personal attitude. Are you afraid? I am not. Somebody does. Fear is an instrument of terror. If you are afraid - terror succeeded at your place.

                        PGP Key ID:0x6113CBE6
                        PGP Fingerprint:92AE C7A5 26B6 DD99 5688 84AD 5524 D919 6113 CBE6

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                        • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                          Originally posted by theprez98 View Post
                          I *really* hope you're not serious.
                          Well, I am. So there.
                          "The world cannot live at the level of its great men." -Mamoru Oshii

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                          • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                            Originally posted by tr1gger65RUS View Post
                            10 kilos of "c" - group alike high explosive (it is more dangerous, because less stable) can be obtained in 10 hours in EVERY garage, especially in winter. the difference between handmade and industrial explosive is in plasticizer agent.
                            The only problem is obtainig highly purified nitric acid. And what does it mean ?
                            NOTHING.
                            The situatuon was just the same 20 years ago. The problem is in generated tension. This is a problem of personal attitude. Are you afraid? I am not. Somebody does. Fear is an instrument of terror. If you are afraid - terror succeeded at your place.
                            Being so paranoid about explosives no matter the case is pointless. The truth is just about any explosive composition known can be produced with a pot of boiling water, and things as simple as a loaf of bread, or any other standard grocery item. There are inefficient guerrilla style methods to manufacture military grade explosives compared to producing the composition from suspicious obscure chemicals, and acids.

                            I have little to no experience with blowing things up, or researching ways to do it. Yet I know enough chemistry to extract elements from foods, and chemicals to produce the compositions. It's really grade school chemistry level stuff, and most real threats aren't gonna care about the physics part.

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                            • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                              Originally posted by theprez98 View Post
                              Having been in virtually identical situations I agree with you 100%. I think we're in the minority here.
                              Yes, based on the head count and the post, I would say there are damn few of us that have had to deal up close and personal with things that go "boom" in a serious way.
                              DaKahuna
                              ___________________
                              Will Hack for Bandwidth

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                              • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                                Originally posted by VAX_to_PBX View Post
                                Being so paranoid about explosives no matter the case is pointless. The truth is just about any explosive composition known can be produced with a pot of boiling water, and things as simple as a loaf of bread, or any other standard grocery item. There are inefficient guerrilla style methods to manufacture military grade explosives compared to producing the composition from suspicious obscure chemicals, and acids.

                                I have little to no experience with blowing things up, or researching ways to do it. Yet I know enough chemistry to extract elements from foods, and chemicals to produce the compositions. It's really grade school chemistry level stuff, and most real threats aren't gonna care about the physics part.
                                you're quite right, but just theoretically.
                                and for applied chemistry it's nothing.
                                in chemistry you have no 100% guarantee to obtain predicted result even in laboratory, i mean theoretical possibility doesn't provide outcome you focused on.
                                i'm not "so paranoid about explosives", i have a degree here )
                                sometimes it's a pity that i'm not some kind of paraniod .. it's more easy to live being slight insane.
                                explosives made by "inefficient guerrilla style methods" contributes 70% of this kind of stuff majority of criminals deal with.

                                in fact, this wasn't i want to express with previous post.
                                let me repeat once again.
                                Fear is an instrument of terror. If you are afraid - terror succeeded at your place.
                                Time flies. explosives will be changed to cyberattacks, mental attacks, or even else. target will remain. Creation atmosphere of fear.

                                PGP Key ID:0x6113CBE6
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