Thursday, February 05, 2009

History repeats itself, is even stupider the second time.

Back in 2007 I would sometimes write posts for Hello Fitchburg. Then one day I stopped because I am lazy, and Mr. Lincoln over there does just fine without me scuzzing the place up.

Anyway, one of those posts was entitled Scary Loud Pop Terrorizes Fitchburg.

I recommend you read it before continuing with this post, but the gist of it was that the Sentinel reported on a "tinfoil bomb" that made a loud noise and scared some people.

There's also a video over there where you can see how similar "bombs" work, and see for yourself that they're considerably less dangerous than say, dropping a glass in your kitchen.

Of course, 2007 was a simpler time. We were all scared of scary terrorists scaring us. Surely some overreaction was to be expected!

Now it's 2009, and what do we find in today's Sentinel?

Fitchburg Police: Bottle explodes near cruiser!!!!!!!!

Well, at least they're not calling it a "bomb" anymore. That's progress. Let's see what the article has to say:
A small explosion caused the State Police Bomb Squad to respond to a Myrtle Avenue incident Wednesday night, according to Deputy Fire Chief Robert Haley.
Holy fuck they called out the bomb squad! That totally negates the "not calling it a bomb" progress, plus some! This must have been bad!
Haley said police responded to a call of a disturbance on Myrtle Avenue shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday night. He said when police arrived on scene, a small explosion occurred near a police cruiser.

"The officer on scene said the noise and percussion was quite great," he said.
Okay, that headline was sort of misleading. It doesn't sound like someone was trying to blow up a police cruiser with soda-bottle-based terror, the cruiser just parked near someone's toy at a bad time and the cop had apparently had too much coffee or something.

It gets worse:
Haley said police and fire on scene found another similar looking bottle in the street. He said they were filled with some sort of liquid and aluminum foil, which reacts, builds up pressure in a two-liter soda bottle and eventually explodes.

Fitchburg officials called in the State Police Bomb Squad from Devens to handle the second bottle they found.

"We didn't know what's in it, so, as a precaution, we call in the experts," Haley said.
Umm... you just said what was in it...

The liquid was probably Drano, by the way. Which is icky, but hardly a substance that requires the bomb squad. It probably would have been cheaper and quicker to call a plumber.

Two-liter soda bottles are also not known for causing particularly bad shrapnel. Unless you're handling the thing naked when it goes off, you're probably pretty safe.

This part makes me giggle:
State Police officials arrived around 8 p.m. and used a computerized robot to maneuver around the street. The robot traveled over to a green bottle sitting near some trash barrels to examine it. State Police controlled the robot from the back of a pickup truck using cameras mounted on the robot.
Yes, they used a bomb disposal robot (base cost: about $25,000, more with addons like cameras) to handle an old soda bottle with a piece of aluminum foil in it. Your tax dollars are well-spent!

Onward, dumb article!
The bottle did not immediately explode upon being agitated by the robot. Haley said State Police troopers and an officer from the State Fire Marshal's office eventually deactivated the second bottle to keep it from exploding by releasing pressure built up in the bottle.
Yes, they "deactivated" the second bottle. In other words, they unscrewed the cap.

Not that they actually needed to even do that. If the thing didn't explode during the whole arrive on scene, call bomb squad, wait for bomb squad to arrive, play with funny robot sequence, there was no way it was ever going to build up enough pressure to blow. Especially on such a cold night.

But, umm... TERROR!

Oh, here's a video of a similar device. Totally terrifying!

Man, did you see what that bottle-bomb did to that pile of leaves? It slightly messed them up! Also, I think those guys were foreigners due to their crazy pronunciation of "aluminum." Al Qaeda? Perhaps!

One last bit of the article:
He said Fitchburg Police and the State Fire Marshal are investigating the incident and where the bottles came from.
Thank god! Someone needs to protect us from these terrorists!

I want to see bomb squads at every science fair (vinegar & baking soda volcano = terror!)! I want robots picking up my recycling just in case one of the bottles is a secret IED! I want Pop Rocks outlawed! If someone overinflates his bicycle tire so it explodes, he should be sent to prison!

Now is the time, people! We must be vigilant against teenagers making loud noises that couldn't possibly hurt anybody! Otherwise Al Qaeda wins!