August 11th, 2006


Living with terrorists: London 1975

I was just thinking back to when I was in England, during what I called "the Second Blitz" in fall of 1975. The IRA was blowing up the place right and left. And you know what? The British, with typical aplomb, just dealt with it. And we all just fell into a pattern of dealing with it, along with them.

I admit, I was mightily annoyed that there were no baggage lockers, so I had to haul my luggage with me constantly, when changing accomodations. It made me very grouchy. But in that case, there was a good reason: people had put bombs in baggage lockers. Sherm kidded me about my resemblence to the "Bomb Girl" who was front page news, and we wondered if I'd be detained for questioning at any checkpoints. (I never was. I guess the lack of Irish accent made me less suspect.)

While we were in London, they blew up the lobby of one of the major hotels. I think it was two or three people who died. We were quite happy to be staying at the low-budget fourth-floor walk-up in Chelsea, at that point. We were evacuated from Madame Tussade's due to a bomb threat, though no bomb was found. But everyone accepted that terrorists were out there, and something could happen, but why get upset? And everything was dealt with sensibly and straightforewardly, with realistic precautions, rather than symbolic ones. But then, the Brits had been dealing with this stuff for a while. After all, these were the guys cited in that one guy's response to the London Tube bombing: "I've been blown up by better terrorists than you lot!"
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
sparky Jilara

Plane bombings: the details start to emerge

According to an amalgam I have done of a couple news stories, we can put together this bomb scenario, so far:

The explosive is peroxide-based.
The compound is colored red and sealed inside the false bottom of a sports drink bottle. The bottle has a false bottom so that the terrorists can swig a drink out of it with impunity.
The detonator is to be the flash of a disposable camera.

"Hey, Ahmed, I have watched many American thriller movies, and have a plan..."

Once again, I have the sense of living in a comic-book universe...

Update: it looks like it was probably methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, which is the (slightly) more stable variation on acetone peroxide, what the Evil Terrorists used on the London train bombings. I've read speculation that it was acetone peroxide, but that's a solid, not a liquid. And apparently makes nitroglycerine look stable. At least these guys are predictable: stick with what you know. Would have been interesting to see how far they got, though, as this stuff is also apparently sensitive to shock. Why even bother with a detonator? Just shake it up...

Oh, and just notice this: what was I saying about powders? How come no one was confiscating powders? Well, actually, would YOU want to be taking possession of something that was so unstable that very modest amounts of shock or friction could make it blow up? I didn't think so.
  • Current Mood
    curious bemused