Mar 12, 2006

Bomber On The Loose In Perrysburg?


Left: Crude bomb found in Perrysburg; photo courtesy of WTVG-13.

(Toledo, OH) WTVG reported today the discovery of yet another explosive device in Perrysburg.

At approximately 5 pm Saturday a homeowner was working in his yard when he noticed something suspicious near the edge of his lawn.

Bomb experts defused the device, and Perrysburg police continue their investigation.

Perrysburg police have also found several Drano bombs in recent months, which typically use 2-liter bottles and a combination of chemicals (sorry, thugs, you have to look the process up elsewhere - historymike is not going to be demolitions enabler).

While likely the work of teenaged miscreants, the presence of these devices must be disturbing to Perrysburg residents. As amateur bombmakers these unknown individuals pose a danger to themselves and local residents.

We also saw in the Alabama church burnings that youthful "pranks" can have extraordinarily destructive outcomes. On the off chance that the guilty bombmakers read this, knock it off before you injure someone.


Anonymous said...


Peahippo said...

It doesn't take but a few minutes to surf the web and find some pretty detailed information on making explosives like ANFO and TATP. Both can be made from some pretty common or obtainable materials. Wiki has enough information on both to get anyone started. Hell, all anyone needs to do is type "explosives" into Wiki and you're on your way to a rather thorough education in explosives.

Note that you shouldn't make TATP since it's very likely to explode in your face. It's a highly sensitive explosive, and can be set off very easily by heat, friction, etc. Really, if you try to make it, you're literally begging to be maimed. The military doesn't use it since it can afford explosives that are both much safer to handle and more useful besides. So, please do not make TATP.

ANFO is much safer to handle. The acronym should be familiar to some folks, since the Oklahoma City bombing was accomplished with a truckload of ANFO. Basically it's just fertilizer and fuel oil. Any rube can mix those up. The name alone tells you the components: Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil.

In college I hooked up a little system for making ferric oxide (i.e. rusted iron), which can be used as 1 of 2 main components for thermite (note: not an explosive). All it took was a beaker, a DC power supply from any consumer appliance, some wires and a piece of iron. It was easy, very safe and could generate as much as I wanted. I still have the vial of ferric oxide around here somewhere; since thermite burns at about 5000 degrees I really didn't have much opportunity to test it out.

What I'm trying to say here is that we cannot practice "security by obscurity". In the past, materials were a bit easier to get, but the information was less easy to obtain. Today, this has flipped somewhat, where the Internet is bulging with data on all kinds of dangerous items. Who doesn't know that mixing bleach and ammonia creates chlorine gas? (NOTE: Do NOT do this! Chlorine gas in an enclosed area can actually KILL you, and if it doesn't kill you, it will certainly damage your lungs permanently.)

Our youth need our GUIDANCE, not draconian means of restricting their information sources (which largely cannot work, anyway). We have to promote the same morals that allowed us to give young boys their first .22 rifles.

We should return to having gun clubs in the high schools to demystify guns. Equally so, we should encourage children to understand things like chemistry, and to practice handling chemicals. Remember the chemistry sets of old? We survived our childhoods with chemicals, rifles, BB guns, Jarts{tm}, and even aiming roman candles at each other.

I'm left wondering now if the increasing "safety-izing" of America has produced the increasing percentage of completely ignorant people when it comes to the very infrastrcture of our civilization. I had to explain 3-wire electricity to a 37-yr-old guy just the other day. The man's a cop, and has owned 2 houses now. How on earth did he end up not knowing how to handle basic home electrical wiring? I can only speculate it's our culture of safetyization. We guide people away from even basic knowledge of "stuff", on the basis of "need to know".

Anyway, for those of you appalled and worried about what I've said here ... RELAX. The big problem of making bombs is the method of detonating them and doing that safely. Detonators are actually quite a bit more difficult to make that the basic components of the main charge. This is why cops tend to find many bombs just sitting in places. Kids get instructions about mixing up something like ANFO, but they have little idea about how to set it off. Many explosives use OTHER explosives to detonate them. (Detonator cord is a good method ... but that's a controlled item.) Many explosives also require electrical detonation, and that takes some skill with electronics. And the ones what take flame often take a good application of fire, and as you may imagine, a kid naturally doesn't want to sit there with his pipe bomb and put a match to it. For example, my intended thermite mixture could not be set off with a match or even a blowtorch. Thermite requires a VERY hot igniter. You can google for thermite and find out all about it. (Just don't make any and set it off in your basement, since it'll burn through your concrete floor.)

Dariush said...

Excellent post, peahippo.

Your point about youth needing guidance vs. repression of information is well taken.

Stephanie said...


Totally off the point, but...

"How on earth did he end up not knowing how to handle basic home electrical wiring?"

That might be, because in many states if a certified electrician doesn't do it and it starts a fire, your insurance won't cover it. Since most people cannot replace a house that burns down by themselves, most people who understand that technicality don't take the risk.

As per teaching children how to make explosives...I'd much rather teach my kids NOT to make explosives. Making a topic hush-hush is a bad idea, but telling them why NOT to make it seems a much more sound way to handle it than to say, here's how to make it, but don't do it because it's dangerous. Also...guns are legal, bombs are not.

Hooda Thunkit said...

It's all indicative of the times that we live in.

Children (and, for the most part, they ARE only children) are bored, and mischievous, as they have always been.

However, in these hi-tech times, the world in much more dangerous than it used to be...