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August 06, 2007

AP Claim: SC Fireworks Boys Carrying "Pipe Bombs," But...

I actually think that's wrong and hyped up. I know, AP -- hard to believe. At least it's hard to believe them getting it wrong from the other direction.

I may be wrong, but pipe bombs are made with steel pipes because the steel provides the needed fragmentation for shrapnel. These "bombs" (not sure that's what they are) are made with fireworks-level explosives and PVC pipes were found in the car. I'm not sure if the explosive was loaded into the PVC.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and maybe PVC can be an effective shrapnel producer. Melting plastic propelled at high velocities could do some damage.

But I've not heard of this sort of thing being called a "pipe bomb." At this point I'm thinking model rockets, and that's all.

There is some red meat here though: CAIR is complaining about the arrest, naturally. They feel the cops had no reason to be suspicious of male Muslim engineering students from Middle Eastern countries (Egypt, Kuwait) with a trunk full of explosives and detonators traveling towards a US Naval base.

CAIR should just admit it's flacking to give the next Mohammad Atta as much operating room as possible and be done with it.

Your Precognitive News Source: I did before say "fireworks level explovies" and "pipe bombs," earlier today.

A guess, sure, but a decent one. Seemed to explain all the ambiguity about the situation.

See-Dub of Junkyard Blog reminds me that a plastic pipe filled with nails is all the shrapnel you need. I guess that's true. I'm just having a hard time believing that fireworks explosives can be all that deadly in small amounts. Otherwise, why don't terrorists just buy fireworks explosives for a year instead of going to the trouble of fertilizer/fuel bombs?

Dan Riehl writes back,

I don't so much disagree with you - but as you're discussing it remember, it was a liquid chemical explosive: - think malatov cocktail, not shrapnel. I'll link your discussion - this is a weird story.
"In the vehicle, investigators say they found potassium chlorate and sugar, which when combined with a catalyst create what has been dubbed "instant fire" releasing heat, flames and smoke in a spectacular fashion."

I guess, but I'm bothered by the "spectacular fashion" claim. This sounds like it creates a spectacular firework effect -- super-bright sparks -- rather than a spectacular explosive effect.

Can an hot, rapidly burning incendiary device kill someone? Sure. It could be a bomb of some kind.

But it seems the more information we get the more it suggests "rocket" and not "bomb."


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posted by Ace at 06:55 PM

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