Reports of explosions at 2013 Boston Marathon

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by JoeZhang, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been officially charged with using a WMD. I'm not questioning whether Dzhokhar here perpetrated the bombings, but a pressure cooker bomb is a WMD?

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/137391129/Criminal-Complaint-Tsarnaev

    In the link above there is the official criminal complaint, in the second page in point 3, it clearly says that Dzhokhar used a WMD against persons and property.

    Now I've done some checking and a WMD is a weapon which belong to the CBRNE class (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (high yield)). But does a home-made pressure cooker bomb count as a high yield explosive? We're not talking about weapons which produce dozens or hundreds of casualties, but thousands or tens of thousands of casualties or higher.

    This is blatant fear-mongering and sensationalism to plant the idea that a WMD was used in the Boston terror attacks. Those were terrible attacks but since when have IEDS been considered WMDs?

    There's something very rotten going on here...
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Seems pretty clear to me. Bombs are a weapon. They are intended to cause mass destruction. Therefore they are a weapon of mass destruction. What part of this is unclear?
     
  3. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Working the Pole Moderator

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    It's certainly a sensationalist use of terminology, and I find calling it a WMD ridiculous, but there's no intent to fool anyone into thinking this was a nuclear/biological/chemical attack or that the bomb was more powerful than it was. The public is abundantly clear at this point on what kind of weapon was used and the scope of its damage thanks to the nonstop media coverage this past week.

    However, you've now moved on from your previous baseless conspiracy theories about the brothers possibly being framed to trying to insinuate that a poor choice of words indicates some kind of grand scheme to fool the public or cover something up. Just give it up already. It's really coming off as foolish at this point.

    Because the meaning of the term weapons of mass destruction is well established as primarily concerning N/B/C weapons and not low yield IEDs. The fact that they caused a lot of damage and chaos doesn't change how the term has traditionally been used. When that elderly man plowed through the Santa Monica Farmer's Market in his car killing ten and injuring 63 they didn't start calling his car a weapon of mass destruction (though I'll grant it's not designed to be a weapon, unlike an IED, but that's still not how we've used the term WMDs).
     
  4. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's a deliberate misinterpretation which the US media will bandy about until everyone starts believing that Boston was attacked with a WMD. It implies that suicide bombers and car bombers (and all those bombings you hear about in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere) have been setting off not just explosives but 'WMDs'.

    I mean when you think of a WMD, you think of deadly toxins, nerve gas, nuclear weapons and now... pressure cooker bombs? Just how far do extend the definition of a WMD? C4, Semtex, grenades or even guns? After all guns have killed just as many, if not more, people as explosives have. Where do you draw the line? Maybe the Second Amendment should read like this-

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear weapons of mass destruction shall not be infringed.

    Anyway I'm side-tracking here, so my point is this. Terrorism is one incredibly sensitive and polarizing subject in the US, saying that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonated a WMD will only make things worse and will only give the US government more leverage to expand its anti-terror laws. Already the House of Representatives has passed CISPA (and after the Boston attack it was all everyone could talk about, so there was no chance for an online petition to form), and the Senate will soon vote upon it, so already US politicians are taking advantage of this terrorist attack.

    The attack on the Boston Marathon was a terrible thing, but saying that a WMD went off is a misrepresentation of what happened. I'm saying let's stick to the facts here; two pressure cook bombs (IEDs) were detonated (while five more explosive devices were diffused) and saying that these IEDs were WMDs is misconstruing the truth.
     
  5. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Working the Pole Moderator

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    The House passed a more comprehensive version of it last year too, without any terror attack to "take advantage of," and it died in the Senate. Between the Democratically-controlled Senate and President Obama's threat to veto it, it might just die this time too, even in its revised form.

    If your goal is to challenge sensationalistic rhetoric, you're going about it in entirely the wrong way by imagining that everything is interconnected and part of some elaborate plot. The CISPA vote would likely have proceeded the same way regardless if there had been an attack in Boston or not.
     
  6. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Okay, I got the basic thrust of that gist.
     
  7. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Now this is going to seem strnage but bear with me. I seem to remember some mysterious booms reported late at night over the last year or so. Now most of these are mine bursts, trains coupling on rail-yards, etc.

    Now I seem to remember how folks who study sprites and blue jets actually used a computer program that some ufologist concocted, so it shows how even the oddball element may be useful.

    I can't help but think some booms across the country might be dry runs of similar two man cells. A plot to bomb trains in Canada was foiled recently, so I cannot help but wonder.

    Infrasound arrays would tell the difference between IEDs train cars and mine bursts.

    I did say IEDs right, a recent talk radio caller kept calling them IUDs.

    Yeah, those are nasty--I took a Dalkon shield right to the face once when...oh never mind :)
     
  8. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    I'll tell you where the line is.

    A couple of years ago a University of Kentucky football player was arrested for detonating WMD in an apartment complex near me. The local news of course ran with the shocking story, the players name joining a pantheon with Ted Kaczynski and Timothy McVeigh. Thankfully the charges were fairly quickly dropped because the WMDs were cleverly constructed out of 2-Liter PET plastic screw-top casings (of the usual variety), Diet Coke, and Mentos.

    On the bright side, the new definition completely vindicates our invasion of Iraq. Saddam had stockpiles of Diet Coke and we couldn't control Mento smuggling across his border with Jordan.
     
  9. Whoa Nellie

    Whoa Nellie Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sorry, no scary conspiracy here. We're not talking about a military definition. We're talking about a legal definition. It is simply the way the Federal law happens to be written.

    http://swampland.time.com/2013/04/2...ber-is-charged-with-wmd-use/?iid=sl-main-lead

    Whoa Nellie
    [/LEFT]
     
  10. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The WMD charge is not some sort of grand scheme as you might suggest or some kind of cover-up. It's not part of any conspiracy either.

    As for the above mentioned conspiracy theories I'm guilty as charged, all I can say is that I consider both side's arguments (the governments and the conspiracy peoples) but when I find glaring inconsistencies in the government's version of events or hushing up of certain compromising facts, then I consider the government's version the conspiracy.

    But not all people who believe in conspiracy theories, or alternative explanations about the workings of the worlds, are mad or are lonesome people glued to a computer screen with no life. A lot about how the economy, money itself and the government works is not commonly know or has been falsely taught. There's a lot of information out there (from extraterrestrial visitors, the power of the human mind, the optimal currency system, to evolution and more) and you have to cherry pick it and sort out the legitimate from the crazy, the illogical from the reasonable. Which is made all the more harder as you fight off ones cognitive bias in a search for the truth.

    You can call me a crazy tin-foil wearing nutter, whatever you will I don't really mind you know, if you want to ban me fine. IDIC and all of that really does exist, and there is a logic and reason for nearly everyone of the woes and problems afflicting this planet, plus an answer out there already (multiple answers for humanities eventual evolution from this prison we've imposed upon ourselves). A fraction of the conspiracy theories out there give you a glimpse to that answer...
     
  11. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Working the Pole Moderator

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    I "suggested" nothing. You said "there's something very rotten going on here" and suggested that calling it a WMD was an attempt at convincing people that these were more than IEDs and that they might have had chemical or biological warheads. You were the one implying some concerted effort to fool people by calling it a WMD.

    But that's the problem. You're not finding anything glaring. You're trying to connect the dots between a bunch of vaguely formed ideas and exaggerations without a shred of evidence, and then when each one gets shot down you simply move on to something new without skipping a beat.

    See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. I never called you a name. The worst I said was that your arguments were coming off as foolish. And then you make the completely out of nowhere leap of logic that you're in danger of being banned. WTF, man? We're just having a conversation. You're not going to get banned, for Christ's sake.
     
  12. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Holder called it a WMD in the charge papers instead of an IED in an effort to exaggerate the severity of the crime and invoke certain emotional responses from the media and, ergo, the public. It invokes vile visions of NBC weaponry, as opposed to the simple but effective claymore that it really is. The intent is to ultimately lead to increasing the chances of conviction and resulting in a stiffer sentence. Lawyers do it all the time. It's called puffery, and Holder is the top lawyer of the country right now. I don't think there's any conspiracy going on here other than an over-indulgent use of a thesaurus.
     
  13. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    The results of the bombs definitely amount to mass injuries. Does ''mass destruction'' have to be on a more fatal level? (Since mass murder at least in terms of shootings is defined as four or more victims.)
     
  14. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Working the Pole Moderator

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    No one is disputing that the bombs caused a great deal of damage, injury, and death. It's just that when you use the term WMD it evokes a certain image based on its traditional usage, and that is of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons that have the potential for wide area destruction and casualties measures in the thousands or more, as opposed to low yield explosives with a relatively minor blast radius.

    However, while it all sounds a bit sensationalistic, I don't believe there's any intent to fool anyone, and it wouldn't work for the vast majority of the public who knows what kind of bomb was used anyway thanks to all the media coverage. The only people who might be fooled are those relative few who confuse Chechnya with the Czech Republic. ;)

    Also, there's a longstanding legal definition of WMD that is being used in the charge here (and has been used before, such as after the Oklahoma City Bombing with Tim McVeigh) that is separate from the popular usage of the term WMD.
     
  15. bluedana

    bluedana Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In a criminal charge, it really doesn't matter what the popular definition of WMD is, anymore that it matters what the normal usage of "relevant" or "hearsay" is in the context of a trial.

    According to the statute, 18 USC 2332a includes a "destructive device," and using the definition cross-referenced in 18 USC 921 (the firearms statute), that means: "any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas -- (i) bomb, (ii) grenade, (iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than 4 ounces, (iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than 1/4 ounce, (v) mine, or (vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses."

    It does not include any device that is not designed or re-designed for use as a weapon.

    So, any incendiary device -- including whatever kind of bomb you can make -- is a destructive device under section 921, and is considered a WMD if it has a capability of injuring, maiming, and/or killing a large number of people at detonation. It does not include a car (which isn't designed or re-designed to be a weapon, even if you use it to mow down 30 people), unless you pack it with explosives and detonate it, or a firearm (no matter how many rounds it carries), which is defined separately in the same statute.
     
  16. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Working the Pole Moderator

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    I'm aware of that:

    We were talking about the distinction between the legal charge and the popular meaning.
     
  17. bluedana

    bluedana Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes, I get that. And I was responding as well to foxhot and 137th Gebirg regarding that fact.
     
  18. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    He detonated two bombs in the middle of a crowd at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and maiming dozens, executed an MIT cop, ran over and killed his brother, wounded another cop, engaged in multiple shootouts with various law enforcement agencies and threw bombs at people. There's no need to exaggerate charges. Nobody's worried about getting a conviction.
     
  19. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Right. But what does matter is the sentence following inevitable conviction. Now that they are going after the death penalty, they need to make sure the language they use is as extreme as possible to ensure the maximum penalty for the obvious crime
     
  20. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Well, I don't like it when we take one already loosely defined term from one sphere and write it even more sloppily into domestic law. WMD used to denote the type of weapons we tried to avoid using in conventional, violent warfare, to distinguish from the usual artillery, napalm, and 2000-lb bombs dropping like rain.

    There are many definitions of "genocide", and some of them refer to the targeting killing of a distinct group of people. If we did something similar to our domestic WMD definition, the "distinct group of people" could refer to the two clerks at the Quicky-Mart and "genocide" would join WMD as a nearly useless, throwaway word when used in criminal charges.