Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Econ Major and the Bomb

by Ken Houghton

Woke up this morning to the news that there was an explosion in Times Square. A bicyclist is being pursued, and the whole thing was apparently done on a shoestring:
The bomb consisted of some kind of "low-order explosive" contained in a military-style ammunition box, [Police Commissioner Ray] Kelly said.

"This was not a particularly sophisticated device," he said.

Turns out that wasn't the only problem with explosives last night (via the Chronicle of Higher Education):
Normal class schedules are under way at UC Davis on Thursday following the arrest of an 18-year-old student after two pipe bombs were found in his dormitory room Wednesday night, authorities said.

The discovery about 9 p.m. Wednesday resulted in the evacuation of 455 freshmen from seven dormitory buildings in the Tercero complex. The students spent the night in the common dining area at the complex and are expected to be allowed to return soon. No one was injured, and classes were not disrupted by the incident.

Dodged a bullet there, as it were. And apprehended a suspect, too:
Officers questioned four students and released three, the Bee reported.

The fourth student, Mark Christopher Woods, a freshman economics major, has been arrested on two felony charges, possession of chemicals to make explosives and possession of explosive materials on school grounds, the university said in a written statement. [emphasis mine]

And that one would have done some damage:
Police said bomb-making materials were found on a table in the dorm room, along with two empty pipe bomb shells, and police Capt. Joyce Souza said she could not reveal what materials were found but that it was "bad stuff...."

"At first glance, it looked like pretty serious and volatile material," Souza said. "Once they did an evaluation, they were able to determine the way all the materials were sitting, it wasn't as serious because it wasn't mixed."

Yet another case of reputational risk? Good thing there aren't many of these...

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