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[PUBLIC] Lowering the River - The Cover Story
October 2013
 
 
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Wed, Mar. 31st, 2010 10:01 am
[PUBLIC] Lowering the River

So today on CNN I read an article about a militia group in Michigan who was apparently planning an exercise designed to result in casualties among the Law Enforcement and the civilian population. Obviously off their collective nut, the core members of the group were arrested. So far so good. To my surprise, however, they were charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction for designing and beginning the manufacture of IED's.

I've always known there's been some question as to exactly what a Weapon of Mass Destruction was, and certain radiological and chemical weapons that operate on a very select tactical scale have always occupied a strange middle ground, but even so, conventional explosives, regardless of their size, have always been firmly in the "conventional weapons" category. So I did some digging to find out how you could be hit with a WMD charge for a roadside bomb.

It turns out that the world of US Civil Defense, the rule is:

(1) Any explosive, incendiary, poison gas, bomb, grenade, or rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces [113 g], missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce [7 g], or mine or device similar to the above. (2) Poison gas. (3) Any weapon involving a disease organism. (4) Any weapon that is designed to release radiation at a level dangerous to human life.

While a 7g charge of most explosives is certainly enough to kill you, it seems that that small a charge would not present significant danger to a building (unless very strategically placed), and certainly not to the populations that are the classical targets of WMDs. While few would debate the intention of the chemical or biological weapons listed in parts 2 and 3 (although their effectiveness seems to be massively overestimated in the popular literature as compared to historical examples), the scale issues with the first clause make we read the fourth clause and make me realize I could probably be hit with a WMD charge for weaponizing a $20 Walmart Microwave Oven.

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Current Location: Waltham, MA

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breakinglight11
breakinglight11
Phoebe
Wed, Mar. 31st, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)

I was SO hoping when I clicked your "WMD" tag you'd have more than one entry so labeled. 'Cause I figure if anyone one my friends list would have reason to write frequently on the subject, it would be you. ;-)


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