William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Thursday, 7, April, 2011

If Your Neighbor is a Bomb-Maker

Filed under: Forensics,Links to Greatness — williamthecoroner @ 11:30

<a href=”http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20110406-how-tell-if-your-neighbor-bombmaker”>How to Tell if Your Neighbor is a Bombmaker</a> is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

As a guy who collects scientific stuff (you should see my slide rule collection sometime) I HAVE beakers and laboratory glassware in the house.  I use them as drinking glasses (and yes, I cleaned them before I used them)

There is concern that this information might make bad guys more careful.  Perhaps.  But receipts for drug making are also commonly available (q.v.  The Vaults of Erowid) and anyone with any brains will take steps to avoid detection.  The major problem is the smart one’s aren’t caught.  Prisons aren’t think-tanks people.  Their inhabitants, as a rule, are impulsive and dumb.  Not a good combination, particularly with poor foresight.


  1. And another generation of budding scientists and engineers is scared into sticking to boring Nerfworld stuff, losing interest, and wandering off into less productive fields.
    Back when I was in college, more years ago than I’d care to admit, I had an alarming variety of chemicals, glassware, books, and electronics in my apartment… and, yes, I did dabble in explosives, in tiny quantities (I value my fingers). In high school, I knew several guys who were into recreational pipe bombs (I kept a safe distance until they grew out of that phase, surprisingly without injuries).
    I always get bothered when I read of some bomb-factory bust, run down the list of terroristic materials confiscated, and check off the ones that I keep around the house with hardly a thought… and then ponder the terrorist potential of some of the things I have but the accused bomb makers apparently don’t. (Really, none of them have considered the wonderful things you can do with small, cheap microcontrollers?)
    If we’re going to treat anyone who dabbles in energetic chemistry as a hard-core terrorist, well, it just takes all the fun out of it!

    Comment by Eric Wilner — Saturday, 9, April, 2011 @ 11:10 | Reply

  2. See, most of my friends did make pipe bombs and the like. But we would go out in the sticks to set them up and fire them off, so no one thought anything of it. And we did make some minor explosions in chem class.

    We had GUNS, too. That our PARENTS had bought.

    Come to think of it, it’s a bit surprising we aren’t all revolutionaries instead of the boring middle-aged upright citizens we are today (over half of whom have done post-grad work, go figure).

    And on a side note, I am not drinking out of any labware from your house. I don’t know where it’s been, FFS.

    Comment by oleandertea — Saturday, 9, April, 2011 @ 20:24 | Reply

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