Chemist on the implausibility of the chemical bomb

I knew an analysis like this one would come along sooner or later — a chemist examines the implausibility of taking a chemical bomb on board an airplane and actually having a “successful” event with it. He believes it’s pretty implausible — for a liquid substance especially, because of the instabilities of the liquids. But he does throw out some examples of other types of “bombs” that could be constructed, including clothing bombs, to illustrated why restricting these things are examples of security, but rather “security theater” — acting like there’s a security procedure to either calm fears, or more likely, to keep people in a state of panic.
My point from the very first message I posted about the current terrorist “plot” was that the first things they should be providing us is real detail about what the incident is, so that we can decide on our own how to react to it. Tell us who the target was, what they plot was, and what weapons they were using, rather than having government officials say things like “mass murder on an unimaginable scale.” (Yes, that came from the government, not the media. Although the media was irresponsible enough to repeat as a headline in 30 or 40 outlets.)
Some local folks cited the recent examples of “chemical bombs” found in Fishers as examples of why this is a legitimate threat — but I discounted that early on. The teenagers who built them had a lab of some sort to do it in; they weren’t mixing the bomb on location where it would be unstable. And the power of the bombs wasn’t large enough. They could hurt someone, but they couldn’t even blow apart a mailbox, so they’d hardly take down a plane.
While I don’t think the teenagers should be encouraged to do that sort of thing, I don’t think calling the Department of Homeland Security on them is appropriate either. I can imagine some of our antics as teenagers in the current day — we had some backyard ballistics back then that would have caused a SWAT Team to show up nowadays, and we had nothing but benign intentions for them.

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One comment on “Chemist on the implausibility of the chemical bomb
  1. Given that they’ve found more instances of the local “chemical bombs” in Hamilton County, my chalking it up to a teenage prank is a wrong conclusion. It might be teenagers, but that’s more than a prank, and should be treated quite seriously.

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