Dry Ice Bombs at LAX

The news story about the guy who left dry ice bombs in restricted areas of LAX is really weird.

I can't get worked up over it, though. Dry ice bombs are a harmless prank. I set off a bunch of them when I was in college, although I used liquid nitrogen, because I was impatient -- and they're harmless. I know of someone who set a few off over the summer, just for fun. They do make a very satisfying boom.

Having them set off in a secure airport area doesn't illustrate any new vulnerabilities. We already know that trusted people can subvert security systems. So what?

I've done a bunch of press interviews on this. One radio announcer really didn't like my nonchalance. He really wanted me to complain about the lack of cameras at LAX, and was unhappy when I pointed out that we didn't need cameras to catch this guy.

I like my kicker quote in this article:

Various people, including former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, have called LAX the No. 1 terrorist target on the West Coast. But while an Algerian man discovered with a bomb at the Canadian border in 1999 was sentenced to 37 years in prison in connection with a plot to cause damage at LAX, Schneier said that assessment by Bratton is probably not true.

"Where can you possibly get that data?" he said. "I don't think terrorists respond to opinion polls about how juicy targets are."

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 5:35 AM • 68 Comments

Comments

MilosOctober 23, 2013 5:54 AM

Your "kicker quote" link is missing the 'h' in 'http'.

Otherwise great job on calming people down.

fear_your_govtOctober 23, 2013 6:07 AM

Lets get real: you are far more likely to get injured or killed in a car driving to or from LAX than you are to be the victim of terrorism activity at LAX.

...Unless you count the activities of the TSA and other gov't agencies as 'terrorism', which after all do more harm to the American tourism industry and waste more American tax dollars than just about anything else I can think of.

bickerdykeOctober 23, 2013 6:36 AM

Woah, well, yes... LAX without a doubt is the No1 terrorist target among all big airports on the West Coast in the Los Angeles area...

That's a rather limited view on potential targets. The police chief simply has no imagination.

RomerOctober 23, 2013 6:36 AM

They put dry ice (apparently removed from an airplane) in a soda bottle? It that it? That's the "bomb"?

Mike the goatOctober 23, 2013 6:37 AM

This is just like schools suspending kids who dare bring a toy plastic gun to school. It is ludicrous. One kid was recently disciplined for eating a pop tart into a firearm shape… re dry ice bombs - yes, a harmless prank. But it shows up their civil liberty infringing security procedures as being nothing more than theater. For that, no doubt they'll be prosecuted under the PATRIOT act or something similarly severe and unnecessary.

VinzentOctober 23, 2013 6:45 AM

Out of curiosity, does a dry ice bomb make a louder boom than the ones we made with baking soda and vinegar?

Seriously, doing such a prank inside an airport might have been a bad idea, but that's about it.

"Possession of a destructive device"? More like "possession of a destructed device". I mean, what does it destruct other than itself?

WaelOctober 23, 2013 6:53 AM

I can't get worked up over it, though. Dry ice bombs are a harmless prank.

Common sense is also important. I think a prank like this can cause passengers to panic. But six years in jail is excessive...

JeffHOctober 23, 2013 6:55 AM

I applaud the implied appeal for calm & measured thinking.

What's the bigger picture solution though, in terms of not wasting such time & effort on security theater (which is what prosecuting this guy appears to be) and instead focusing on what might actually protect?

To this external observer, America is wound up tighter than ever before; the media explode the moment anything remotely interesting happens so they can talk to other talking heads about how X isn't doing enough to sort out Y; the police are caught between looking stupid and looking overbearing; the public and employees are doubtless scared & keeping their heads down in case the many heads of the US government notice them, and these sorts of events where frankly a harmless prank is 'having the book thrown at it' only further encourages that.

I'm not sure how one fixes this. How does one move away from a state of over-reacting fear, once it's securely in place?

Clive RobinsonOctober 23, 2013 6:56 AM

It looks like P.C. Willy Bratton has a very inflated opinion of the value of his job, as well as LAX.

As most civil engineers will tell you most airport infrastructure is "hard" and doing it any real damage with what you could carry and deploy quickly is not going to be easy.

What is "soft" in airports are partitions shop fronts and the squidgy "live stock" pressed into pen like queing areas.

The fact that minor changes in design could quite cheaply and very effectivly reduce the risk to the "live stock" and nobody has done anything about it in over a decade kind of tells the real story...

@ Bruce,

I'm hoping that the dry ice bombs are not compleatly harmless, in that I hope that Willy Boy's pomposity will cause a significant dose of apoplexy on reading what people think of him that he gets given "medical retirment", for the sake of all the other "live stock" going through LAX.

GweihirOctober 23, 2013 6:58 AM

Great quote! That one is already a classic!

This stupidity just shows that the "terrorism"-meme is now so prevalent that it can now be used for everything. Next, they are starting to use it to sell soft-drinks.

BardiOctober 23, 2013 6:58 AM

If the purpose of terrorists is to cause terror, then, doesn't tossing unfounded "facts" to gin up "concern" do the same thing? and, then, if so, what is the difference?

SaulOctober 23, 2013 6:59 AM

«“There is an element of trust put in for the people who work at the airport, be they TSA employees, other federal employees or airline employees,” said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the TSA. “We perform background checks. But background checks tell you what happened in the past. They don’t tell you what can happen in the future.”»

Funny, because isn't this the entire premise of the TSA PreCheck protection racket scheme?

AdamOctober 23, 2013 7:02 AM

I'm sure terrorists are grateful for polls like this since it makes it easier to blow up their truck bomb next to a movie theatre, poison a reservoir, or whatever else they have planned.

Snarki, child of LokiOctober 23, 2013 7:31 AM

"Where can you possibly get that data?",

From the endless fountain of data convenient for authoritarians, of course: their own butts [#insert "ex-lax-joke.h"].

At least the "LAX bomber" didn't make the mistake of using FIRECRACKERS, because then he'd be facing WMD charges.

And it really is amazing the lengths that some people have gone to make it so that they could say: "YES! We DID find WMDs in Iraq!"

DanOctober 23, 2013 7:32 AM

Just because something goes bang does not make it a "bomb." If someone pops a party balloon with a pin at an airport, did he set off a bomb? Why did the press so uniformly report this as being a "bomb?" (Cynical rhetorical question)

It's true that there have been rare reports of dry ice in glass containers causing injury (e.g., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2313496), so this is potentially more than a harmless prank, but one would have to use a very fragile container to make it work and the damage would be very localized. Yes, it would be a horrible thing to injure innocent people with glass shards, but as depraved as that would be it is not really "terrorism" in any meaningful way, and it would not be any better or worse to do it at an airport as opposed to any other location.

DanOctober 23, 2013 7:34 AM

Just because something goes bang does not make it a "bomb." If someone pops a party balloon with a pin at an airport, did he set off a bomb? Why did the press so uniformly report this as being a "bomb?" (Cynical rhetorical question)
It's true that there have been rare reports of dry ice in glass containers causing injury (e.g., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2313496 ), so this is potentially more than a harmless prank, but one would have to use a very fragile container to make it work and the damage would be very localized. Yes, it would be a horrible thing to injure innocent people with glass shards, but as depraved as that would be it is not really "terrorism" in any meaningful way, and it would not be any better or worse to do it at an airport as opposed to any other location.

CiNiTriQsOctober 23, 2013 7:54 AM

... And thus a balloon exploded scaring the whole airport making people point at the little boy, crying for his blown up balloon...

Police came and took the boy away for questioning... oh why did he make the balloon explode... Must be a terrorist...

sigh, not entirely the same story, but very similar and very scary to know we can't be a prankster anymore... whether a stupid move on anyone's part or not...

Michael.October 23, 2013 7:58 AM

I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly trust Mr Schneier to make informative, interesting, and sensible comments on issues related to security. This consistent refusal to buy into the scaremongering (yes yes yes! we need moar cameras!) is part of the reason.

The whole "airports are special places" is absurd. It's illegal to make a joke about bombs in bags at the airport, but no one will blink an eye if you say the same thing at a shopping mall. And six years for something that is effectively a prank is indicative of this. Would anyone get six years for letting of a dry ice "bomb" at a shopping mall?

kingsnakeOctober 23, 2013 7:59 AM

When I was in Bosnia, the local kids would take a "lunch bucket" (their term for an MRE), put the heating element in a water bottle, shake it, then throw it at us. Boom. Guys in green ducking. Much youthful laughter. No harm, no foul. Nowadays, the CIA would probably drone them ...

Peter A.October 23, 2013 8:11 AM

An idea for a flash mob in the LAX "secure area": seemingly random people suddenly start popping balloons, paper or plastic bags etc. - whatever makes a "boom" noise. Bring children's toys that do a "pop!". Maybe just shout "boom". I wonder what TSA/LAPD would do then. Finish by popping some sparkling wine bottles (trying not to spill, littering fines could be unpleasant). Bonus: announce it on some social media site in advance for the NSA to see.

John CampbellOctober 23, 2013 8:47 AM

@ffff: "Malicious" to who, exactly? The "authorities" who expect us to respect them for no reason?

Scott PackardOctober 23, 2013 9:11 AM

You can't really say the sun is hot. After all, nobody's actually been there.

Brian M.October 23, 2013 9:24 AM

It's odd that Iniguez, the supervisor, would be arrested. According to the news articles, he only told the worker, Bennett, to remove dry ice from a cargo bay.

Airplanes transport stuff like that all the time. Batteries (777, 787), oxygen generators (ValueJet flight 592), dry ice, etc. Does this mean that they're all complicit in transporting materials for terrorism?

I always figured that if someone wanted to shut down an airport, go for a ride on a bicycle with a leaky bag of bird seed.

VinzentOctober 23, 2013 9:31 AM

@Harry:

Oh well, farting might be considered terrorism...

After all, Hydrogensulfide is actually quite poisonous (comparable with Hydrogencyanide), so a "use of WMD" charge wouldn't be too far fetched at that level of paranoia.

I can already see the headlines:

Chemical warfare in the living room! Old fart sentenced to death!

DavidOctober 23, 2013 9:33 AM

I'm sure this is obvious, but the implicit "crime" here is not the threat to lives and property; it is disrespect for authority. There's no more sure way to bring the full force of the law down upon you than to embarrass powerful people who need to feel totally in control.

Michael MolOctober 23, 2013 9:41 AM

At best, setting off such a device might be equivalent to shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.

However, to call it a harmless prank is underselling it a little. It's certainly more harmful than calling in a fake bomb threat. And it's certainly possible that the device might have injured someone who wandered into the wrong space at the wrong time--or even picked up the device.

Certainly, prosecution is warranted. Is 6 years an appropriate punishment if guilty? I don't know; I don't know the punishments for the comparative crimes. But it's a prosecutor's job to overprosecute. Hope the kid has a good lawyer.

AROctober 23, 2013 10:04 AM

The link to the daily news article is broken (the "kicker quote" link). It's missing an 'h' at the beginning of the URL.

NobodySpecialOctober 23, 2013 11:19 AM

@Clive Robinson - I used to fly into Belfast city regularly - back in the good old days when we had real terrorists.
They had a bag check 30m away from the terminal in the open air, surrounded by big concrete blast barriers, before you were allowed inside into the security screening.

Everytime I fly through Manchester with it's huge queues for x-ray in a concrete underground low ceilinged room I can't help thinking of the blast effects

ScottOctober 23, 2013 11:20 AM

It's a dick move causing evacuations and delayed flights, however, I say boohoo to that; it sucks, but life goes on. It's not worth throwing someone in jail for; fire them, give them 12 months community service, and move on. Destructive device? Come on.

yeukhonOctober 23, 2013 1:53 PM

Here is a question. If I set a dry ice bomb next to your family, how would you feel about this prank?

Similarly, if I set this bomb in a kindergarten backyard, how would you feel about that?

I am sure you'd called those pranks harmless, would you?

Airport is not your backyard. Airport is a public property and is a place where thousands people travel to and from every day. The suspect planned this prank, thought it was a fun thing to do. Is this a terrorism? How can you tell if he isn't one of those psychopaths just started hating government two days ago and thought the best way to show the world his hate is to use a dry-ice bomb?

How can you tell if this is not a distraction for an actual bomb? Sure this didn't hurt anybody, but he planned in an airport is a big deal.

BryanOctober 23, 2013 1:56 PM

Airplanes transport stuff like that all the time. Batteries (777, 787), oxygen generators (ValueJet flight 592), dry ice, etc. Does this mean that they're all complicit in transporting materials for terrorism?
Better arrest all those pop bottle delivery drivers...
Everytime I fly through Manchester with it's huge queues for x-ray in a concrete underground low ceilinged room I can't help thinking of the blast effects
Sounds like somebody wants large numbers of victims. Concussion wave damage is a big time killer. You design structures to keep it away from people, not lock it in with them.

mad dogOctober 23, 2013 2:10 PM

From the Times article:"Some (airport workers) also handle highly flammable jet fuel."
No shit! Firstly I HOPE it is flammable. Kinda defeats the purpose if it isn't I would think. Highly flammable, is stretching it unless you consider high grade kerosene and diesel fuel "highly flammable." And the pilots cannot be expected to drag around those heavy hoses as that might mess up those fancy uniforms!
Did these "journalists" even graduate from grade school??!!

conspiryOctober 23, 2013 2:50 PM

Wake up people! Dry ice bombs are just a dry run for helium ice bombs, that will make us all talk in a funny high-pitched voice!

Dirk PraetOctober 23, 2013 3:33 PM

Some dumb-ass with a grudge sets off a couple of dry ice containers in men's toilets of a restricted airport area, causing no damages or casualties whatsoever. He may face terrorism charges and six or more years in jail. What are the possible explanations ?

1. It's an episode of the Itchy & Scratchy show.
2. Both parties are retarded and are trying to out-best each other in redefining the concept of mind-numbing idiocy.
3. It's an average day in the USA.

Garrett KajmowiczOctober 23, 2013 3:44 PM

@Michael Mol:
> It's certainly more harmful than calling in a fake bomb threat.

There are two ways to evaluate this, and they both lead to different conclusions.

If you compare the potential for actual harm to people or property, this dry-ice bomb has a minimal, though non-zero chance of damage. The risks associated with calling in a bomb threat require a ridiculous amount of hand-waving to get to an actual level of injury. Eg. the person answering the phone might get a papercut reaching for the terrorism threat reference binder.

However, if you compare the amount of loss-of-use damage due to the expected reaction, the dry ice bomb has a much lower cost than a fake bomb threat. When somebody calls in a bomb threat, you need to evacuate the building and then search the building for the reported device. This can easily take hours in an airport (if they take it seriously). However, with a dry-ice bomb, if security goes in asks what's going on and gets an answer, everybody can go back to what they were doing. No evacuation, no major flight delays, etc. Possibly a Bad Day of Paperwork for the person with the dry ice bomb. And, they can honestly tell passengers that they had a pop bottle explode due to increased pressure. No biggie.

Instead, we all need to panic.

ScottOctober 23, 2013 4:24 PM

@Dirk Praet

You have to understand, dry ice bombs are gateway bombs. One day it's dry ice, the next day it's matchhead bombs, and before you know it you're holed up in the desert detonating antimatter bombs.

mishehuOctober 23, 2013 5:26 PM

@yeukhon - You still miss the point. Whatever harm was done was minimal at best. I was across the street from LAX when I believe one of these went off - I looked outside, saw nothing, and went back to work. For a severe (felony) charge and punishment for something like this, I think there should be a strong burden to show that true harm was done. Otherwise it's "disorderly conduct" or what the Brits would call "antisocial behavior" at best.

MingoVOctober 23, 2013 5:30 PM

Any bomb that has a loud 'boom' can be harmful. People near the boom can suffer ear damage and develop chronic tinnitus. William Shatner suffers from severe tinnitus caused by accidental triggering of a special effects 'bomb' during the filming of a Star Trek movie.

Thus, a 'harmless' prank can backfire. (I couldn't resist.)

ScottOctober 23, 2013 6:05 PM

Looking at California penal codes, he may not have anything to worry about with the destructive device charge:

(6)Any sealed device containing dry ice (CO2) or other chemically reactive substances assembled for the purpose of causing an explosion by a chemical reaction.

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/4/2/2.5/...

Good thing for this guy that our elected officials flunked chemistry. Granted, there's two ways to interpret it, one way he is not guilty, and the other way I was guilty for receiving frozen steaks packaged with dry ice in the mail.

ScottOctober 23, 2013 6:16 PM

@MingoV

There is potential for accidents in a lot of things we do. I drove to work today, which could have potentially ended in disaster. On several occassions I went to the shooting range; sure it didn't cause any problems then, but if I would have just been 90 degrees to the right or left, I could have killed or seriously injured someone.

WaelOctober 23, 2013 6:21 PM

@ Scott,

There is potential for accidents in a lot of things we do. I drove to work today, which could have potentially ended in disaster. On several occassions I went to the shooting range
I'm sure Harry Whittington[1] has no clue what you're talking about :)

[1] Accidentally shot by Dick Cheney

jimOctober 23, 2013 6:57 PM

You can't be tough on crime without criminals. When there aren't enough criminals around to frighten the marks, and pad the records of the good guys, you need to scare some up. Nothing new or different here. Drugs have been used for the same purpose, just on a larger scale.

George H.H. MitchellOctober 23, 2013 7:01 PM

Here's my entry for your next movie plot contest:

Aliens take over Bruce Schneier's mind.

President Obama finally decides to stop waging war on the people of his own country and appoints Schneier Czar of Paranoia Remediation.

Granted complete control over all NSA computer systems, Schneier implements the aliens' Plan Dry Ice Station Zebra, spreading disinformation about how all the Little Green Men are your friends, and you should pay no attention to their cookbooks.

Dirk PraetOctober 23, 2013 7:08 PM

@ Scott

You have to understand, dry ice bombs are gateway bombs. One day it's dry ice, the next day it's matchhead bombs, and before you know it you're holed up in the desert detonating antimatter bombs.

Aha ! The stepping stone concept applied to terrorism. Some folks in Congress, DoD, DoJ etc. may wish to tune in at this point. I think we are on to something here 8-)

Barfo RamaOctober 23, 2013 7:11 PM

Having grown up next to LAX, I can say:

Some real sketchy people work there.

Ground zero for incoming biologics. Watching people barf into the patriotic painted trash cans at my school during the 1968 Hong Kong Flu is technicolor burned into my brain.

The Encounter Restaurant is known all around the world, and as such would be a high value propaganda target. Even if it has had a tendency to randomly drop pieces of concrete at times all by itself.

It was surrounded by Nike bases in the cold war (one next to my high school), and was considered a high-value target in WWII. This is nothing new, and quibbling over whether it is the highest value target in asymmetrical warfare is pointless. Of course terrorists are going to have their own definitions of high-value and risk/reward, but they sometimes think the obvious, too.

You don't need to be a local to find all sorts of ways in. Including electronic. My dad got a visit from the FAA in the '60's when he was testing an rf method for installing carpet with hot-melt tape, he was interfering with the LAX radar (after changing from a frequency that was screwing with garage door openers). Jeez, train a fox. Whistle into a phone. Throw a bicycle into the transformer station. Poison the airline food chain.

There are only a few runways. Catapult some scrap metal from a truck on Lincoln, blow tires on planes landing. Or water balloons filled with pool acid to melt the cement.

In one respect you are right. Such an obvious target is going to attract more nutcases than actual really bad guys. There's a real disconnect between rigid security policies and reality.

FigureitoutOctober 23, 2013 8:06 PM

if I would have just been 90 degrees to the right or left, I could have killed or seriously injured someone.
Scott
--Went a few times as a teen to an old driving range located parallel to a pretty big road, well one of my slices trailed off and just missed a car windshield and bounced off the road. Well my friends weren't going to be outdone by my terrible golf skills and starting taking aim for the road. No hits thankfully lol; that would just make someone's day...

VinzentOctober 24, 2013 12:01 AM

@MingoV:

People near the boom can suffer ear damage and develop chronic tinnitus.

OMFG! ROCK CONCERTS ARE TERRORISM!!!

yeukhonOctober 24, 2013 12:02 AM

@mishehu and @Bryan

I am extremely opinionated. As a student interested in security, I follow Schneier to take his views on security into account. I admit his work but I disagree with him on this issue totally.

First, let me address Schneier's view on "dry ice prank is harmless". No it is not. A man was killed in 1992 while cleaning a liquor store in Los Angeles when a kid created a dry ice bomb with a glass bottle.

This is a proof that dry ice prank is not harmless. In my freshman Chemistry my professor demonstrated dry ice bomb in plastic Coke bottle. The bottle was broke into pieces with sharp cut on the edges. We know this can cause all levels of casualty.

In essence, Schneier's view is wrong and is biased because he only considered the case when the prank is explicitly exercised.


(2) Airport is a special property and we know this by heart. We know there is no way to guarantee total security and we know trust system is always weak - but because airport is a special place, any threat should be taken more seriously than someone's backyard. This means the first response to the threat is to treat it an emergency. Law enforcement should and was treating it as if it was some terrorist threat. Of course to the investigators terrorism is unlikely but they have not ruled out the possibility. So arresting him for felony makes sense. Imagine Bob hits you and Bob hits the President, which one is subject to severe investigation and criminal charge? That's right. Setting off a dry ice bomb in an airport is as serious as setting up a bomb in front of the WhiteHouse.

Based on the criteria, a judge (and the jury) will decide the length of the sentence. The goal is to scare people off, to warn people not to do the same thing again.

JohanOctober 24, 2013 2:38 AM

@yeukon
I just want to get things straight here...
You mean that becuase 21 years ago a man was killed by such device
it should be considered a terrorist-device?
You mean that such device cause a plastic bottle to break with sharp plastic edges
which can "cause all levels of casualty" it should be called a terrorist device?

sigh

honestlypplOctober 24, 2013 3:08 AM

If you don't believe that hearing an explosion in a crowded airport would have the same effect as yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theatre then you're just a moron.

This is absolutely no different.

AspieOctober 24, 2013 5:55 AM

Does anyone else feel completely fed-up with the media and law-enforcement doing this tag-team crap?

They tell us all to be scared so one mob gets a story and the other crew gets more money and power. Meantime nothing changes because the threat is vastly exaggerated.

Derisible manipulation of public sentiment. And the real kicker is, the 'fear effect' pushed so hard by the Bush/Cheney axis to serve their purposes is beginning to wear off. That's when another 'event' slips through to maim a few people and remind us to "be grateful" for loss of liberty in exchange for questionable security.

yeukhonOctober 24, 2013 9:49 AM

@Johan

No. We are talking about how to deal with the situation. We are talking about an explosive device (whether it is a C4 or dry ice bomb) in an airport. If this were in my backyard I call that public harassment or something. Definitely not a terrorist threat; after all why would they attack me?

We have to take precaution and start the investigation and the activate an emergency protocol as if it was a terrorist threat BECAUSE it happened in an airport.

And I am pointing out that Schneier is wrong about dry ice bomb is harmless. That statement is totally false and Schneier being an expert in cryptography should not make such claim at all that the bomb is harmless.

GeorgeOctober 24, 2013 1:08 PM

Yes, but would security theatre by anywhere near as effective without the vital element of Zero Tolerance?

Mike the goatOctober 24, 2013 4:45 PM

Honestlyppl: more like a loud fart than an explosion. We used to make MRE bombs and put them under sleeping people's cot. Was amusing but almost always ended in a fight.

Institutionalized SanemanOctober 25, 2013 4:38 AM

Frankly it reads like Dicarlo Bennett got annoyed at the institutionalized stupidity of the rules, and decided to take the Authorities on at their own game.

Now that's something that won't get into Liars and Outliers, @Bruce - the ability of the Authorities to thoroughly piss people off with sheer stupidity to the degree that they're willing to play such pranks. But the sheer stupidity of the Authorities in "combating pterorism" also underlies the growth of terrorism - victim of state or foreign stupidity thinks, if they can be panicked by something inconsequential, let's see the rabbits run when they're facing something real.

Security theatre's mostly farce, until it turns into tragedy.

Mike AnthisOctober 25, 2013 9:13 AM

The damage is that the security resources were distracted.

A dry ice bomb makes a fine distraction. You probably get most of the guards, and all of the good ones, trying to fit into a small lavatory.

Meanwhile, ...

EROctober 26, 2013 2:18 AM

and here we have the reason why Bruce Schneier's previous question of "Can I Be trusted?" should be no; love him, can't trust him

xOctober 26, 2013 6:14 PM

Both a dry ice bomb (not a liquid nitrogen bomb) and a vinegar and baking soda bomb are classified as a destructive device under the California Penal Code.

Any kid who puts baking soda and vinegar into a bottle (or possesses vinegar, baking soda and a bottle with the intent to make one) is guilty of multiple felonies.
It is frightening how such a harmless prank can destroy your life.

§ 12301 (a)The term "destructive device," as used in this chapter, shall include any of the following weapons:

(6)Any sealed device containing dry ice (CO2) or other chemically reactive substances assembled for the purpose of causing an explosion by a chemical reaction.

18715. (a) Every person who recklessly or maliciously has in
possession any destructive device or any explosive in any of the
following places is guilty of a felony:
(1) On a public street or highway.
(2) In or near any theater, hall, school, college, church, hotel,
or other public building.
(3) In or near any private habitation.
(4) In, on, or near any aircraft, railway passenger train, car,
cable road, cable car, or vessel engaged in carrying passengers for
hire.

FigureitoutOctober 26, 2013 8:26 PM

Both a dry ice bomb (not a liquid nitrogen bomb) and a vinegar and baking soda bomb are classified as a destructive device under the California Penal Code.
x
--Wow...my interest in explosions is the release of energy. I'm not even a chemist and was allowed to do some experiments w/ dry ice, some sulfuric and hydrochloric acids, and my favorite was investigating "mystery" substances for a basic chem class. I still like observing other chemical reactions like sugar water fermenting into alcohol; different substances changing before your eyes. Education is going to be so damn boring in the future.

GOctober 27, 2013 12:01 AM

The notion that LAX might be the biggest target in Southern California can be viewed as a corollary to the notion that "there is no there, there". I can't think of any kind of symbolic target of the sort you find on the East Coast. So, lacking symbolic targets of nationwide significance, the next biggest thing is big local infrastructure. In any case I doubt this is the argument that the police or whoever are making; presumably they're hyping it up for their own political purposes (bigger budget or what have you).

SoothsayerOctober 27, 2013 11:01 PM

Bruce .. it appears to me that are too full of "it".

Yelling fire in a movie theatre is without a "boom" but can cause panic and injuries .. is it harmless prank ? is LAX a target ... well the terrorists may not respond to opinion polls ... LA police chief should have some data -- dismissing it .. because "I know better" .. I thought you were better than this smugness

MatlokNovember 2, 2013 7:48 AM

Bruce,

Curious about your thoughts on the LAX shooting yesterday? Of course the media uses all the buzz words "act of terror", "chaos", etc. They describe him as a "pissed off patriot" and it is a very unfortunate situation that someone lost their life.

You mentioned that you "don't think terrorists respond to polls about how juicy targets are", but do you not think the high profile of a target could be one of the drivers for the deranged, or an individual trying to make a point?

There are many factors that motivate people to carry out these types of attacks and while I really like your comment about terrorist polls, I think the high profile/significance of a target, or what they perceive that target to represent does come into play.

I also believe that terrorists/extremists/wackos can make any target high profile by carrying out an attack. If no one ever heard of it, we can be sure that the media will make sure everyone thinks of the incident when the name of the target is spoken.

I am sure you have a post in the works on this topic and I look forward to reading it!

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