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Mailbox bomb found in Colorado:
May 6, 2002 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Mailbox bomb found in Colorado: " 'Initial description of the device indicates that its construction is consistent with those found recently in Nebraska and Iowa,' said a press release from the Denver Federal Bureau of Investigation." The boxbomber (that's what I named this person) is most likely heading out west... could the next one strike in California? Where do you think the boxbomber will strike next?
posted by Kevin Sanders (32 comments total)

 
I'd love to take a guess, but if I guessed right I'm assuming the FBI would like to have a chat with me, and I'd just as soon avoid that.

P.S. I'm guessing Price, Utah
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:28 PM on May 6, 2002


Alright, I'll bite. Why Price, Utah, crash?
posted by jonmc at 6:30 PM on May 6, 2002


What's your favorite soda? sandwich? chips? What's your favorite bombing destination?

Sorry. I couldn't help it.
posted by adampsyche at 7:14 PM on May 6, 2002


Just a hunch. Nothing more sinister than that, for any of you Federal agents who might be reading, nosirree!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:17 PM on May 6, 2002


Probably wherever there are disaffected 18-year old losers, who think it would be cool to do a copycat "bombing". Which is to say, just about anywhere. Maybe the less said about the whole topic, the better.
posted by yhbc at 7:18 PM on May 6, 2002


Just a hunch. Nothing more sinister than that, for any of you Federal agents who might be reading, nosirree!

hmm..

[boris badenov]

Ve must stop zis crash davis person, Natasha, und moose und sqvirrel while we're at it...

[/boris]
posted by jonmc at 7:35 PM on May 6, 2002


"Less said about the whole topic, the better"? Last time I checked, around 16 bombs have been planted across the nation. Innocent people were injured, and many more innocent people are still at risk until someone finds the Boxbomber. Events like this simply cannot be ignored.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 7:41 PM on May 6, 2002


Kevin, what I meant was that it may not be too good a thing to give TOO much press to the whole issue, precisely because it is a crime that can be easily imitated by those of a character to do so. It's the same argument that you don't publicize each and every instance of a golf course being vandalized, or of a store-front window being shattered (without any ensuing robbery) in order NOT to encourage copy-cat crimes.

No, I'm not saying my examples are equivalent to mail-box bombings. But mail-box bombings are also NOT equivalent to terrorism - it's pretty clear that the persons (or more likely, person) being sought for the original string has a tenous grasp on reality and "issues" with the government. But post-911 (damnit, I swore I would never use that expression, but I have to) it looks like the press is running with the story as if mailbox bombers are lurking around every corner. No, we can't ignore the events, but we should also take them for what they are, and not get carried away with either coverage or hysteria.
posted by yhbc at 7:54 PM on May 6, 2002


Events like this simply cannot be ignored.

Not much danger of that.

It seemed like yhbc's comment was aimed more at the idea that it'd be purposeless to speculate on "where next" ( and I confess I didn't understand in the first place why we'd want to do that) and feed somebody's imagination. I don't think anyone's suggesting one can't discuss the news story.
posted by BT at 7:59 PM on May 6, 2002


Didn't catch yhbc's comments in preview, but...yeah.
posted by BT at 8:00 PM on May 6, 2002


Of course... after 9/11, a Florida boy (maybe a bin Laden sympathizer) flew his small plane into a building.

We all know that vandalized golf courses and shattered store windows don't hurt anybody, bud pipe bombs do. Mrs. Delores Werling from Tipton was lucky that she was not killed. The mail carrier was lucky he was not killed.

Since 9/11, many of us have different definitions of "terrorism," some it may be as big as a nuclear attack; to some it may be as small as a string of pipe bombings. I agree with Princeton University's WordNet definition of terrorism: the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments. I do beleive that the Boxbomber is trying to intimidate the government (as stated in the Boxbomber's letter, "The United States strives to provide freedom for their people. Do we really have personal freedom? I've lived here for many years, and I see much limitation." That sentence and various others in that text are anti-government. many other definitions agree that the Boxbomber is in fact a terrorist.

I also beleive that this is not getting too much coverage. Outlets such as CNN, Fox News, local affiliates, local newspapers, and various others are doing their job--- reporting current events. And here on MeFi, I'm discussing them with the rest of the world. If it wasn't for the press, lots of people may not have gotten their mail today if they wouldn't have gotten word that they are now supposed to keep the boxes open... to keep innocent people from being injured/killed by this lunatic that has some serious issues.

Would you rather like to talk about the Condit/Levy case?

Of course, that's just my own opinion.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 8:11 PM on May 6, 2002


Also, one more thing that someone posted while I was writing: we're not totally speculating. The question is... will he continue to head west, or go north, south, or back eastward? I was just curious about where people think he'll go next.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 8:13 PM on May 6, 2002


we're not totally speculating

Unless we were the bomber or telepathic, we'd be speculating. If we were law enforcement professionals or criminal psychologists, perhaps we'd be speculating intelligently. But we'd still be speculating.

I guess what I think is that while curiosity is of course understandable, asking us to guess where he'll strike again doesn't sound like an invitation to concerned or thoughtful discussion -- it sounds like something a good deal more prurient; I really don't understand what would be served other than our morbid entertainment (and if that's what's at stake here, fine, but let's be honest about it).

I don't see the story as being under-reported in the least; there's a hell of a lot going on in the world, and the major news outlets are giving this a fair amount of exposure (see the links I provided above), especially considering all that's going on worldwide.

If you believe, Kevin, that the mainstream media is not reporting on an important angle of this case (perhaps that's what you're saying in your last long comment), or misrepresenting it, then I think that is an interesting topic for discussion. Is it your contention that that's what's going on?
posted by BT at 8:28 PM on May 6, 2002


Nah, nah, I think they're doing a good job of reporting. I'm not sure about bigger outlets such as CNN/Fox News (didn't catch the Factor or the Fox Report tonight). The affiliates here in Des Moines (Iowa) are doing a good job covering it.

I also think law enforcement agencies and the FBI are investigating it as good as they can, considering the suspect is out there driving (probably) aimlessly.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 8:35 PM on May 6, 2002


I had a long internal debate on whether or not to bring up the Florida incident in my reply above.

Saying the kid was "maybe a Bin Laden sympathizer" is meaningless - that doesn't make him a terrorist, any more than saying all the teen-aged American boys who hung up posters with the famous picture were "Che Guevara sympathizers" makes them communist insurgents.

The plane suicide was a copycat crime just like the ones I already described - the ONLY difference is that this particular disaffected and disturbed youth had the means and ability to carry out a crime that really was horrible and potentially devastating. In that instance (crashing planes into buildings), though, the ability for replication was so remote that extensive coverage was certainly warranted. In this (slapping together a crude pipe bomb and stashing it in a mailbox), the ease of replication is very high, and so the more each instance is publicized, the closer the likelihood it will be replicated approaches one.

On preview, I can appreciate your concern if you live in Des Moines, Kevin. But the undeniable truth is that something bad can happen anywhere, at any time. Everyone has to calibrate their own personal scale of risk factors to determine whether or not it's safe to get out of bed each morning.
posted by yhbc at 8:42 PM on May 6, 2002


OK, lessee. Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska (? or was it Kansas?), Colorado...a few more states and he'll hit California and stop, hopefully.
posted by alumshubby at 8:45 PM on May 6, 2002


"I'm not sure about bigger outlets such as CNN/Fox News (didn't catch the Factor or the Fox Report tonight)."

Well, one can't make a judgement about how the news is covered without including the actions of those big outlets.
posted by dglynn at 10:53 PM on May 6, 2002


I wasn't judging the larger outlets... I've only been paying attention to the local ones here.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 5:34 AM on May 7, 2002


Update, as long as the discussion is continuing. The FBI has released the text of the notes found in the original mailboxes - it's not clear if the same message was in the Colorado box.
posted by yhbc at 6:06 AM on May 7, 2002


i'm sure the fbi will do as good a job on this as they have catching the people who mailed that anthrax in the fall or left all those explosives in the Philly Greyhound terminal last October.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 6:36 AM on May 7, 2002


It's a big country. Remember how long it took them to turn up the Unibomber; the big difference there was that he helpfully provided a big writing sample towards the end of the process. Myself, I'm sure that having that much insight into the personality and mind of the person responsible at the beginning of the hunt will make it much easier.
posted by yhbc at 6:40 AM on May 7, 2002


also helpfully, the unabomber's family ratted him out.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 7:03 AM on May 7, 2002


Becaused they recognized his writing in the manifesto that was released. Based on the letter in the mailboxes, if I were a member of the TimeCube guy's family, I might be lookin up the local FBI number myself.
posted by yhbc at 7:16 AM on May 7, 2002


His letters are in a quite odd english, no?

"More info is on its way. More "attention getters' are on the way. " whats next? a messiah? dancing girs?

If this guy is so wise and resourceful he can't die - why can't he just get to that one famous person and knock him out?

"If I could, I would change only one person, unfortunately the resources are not accessible. It seems killing a single famous person would get the same media attention as killing numerous un-famous humans. There is less risk of being detained, associated with dismissing certain people."
posted by dabitch at 8:04 AM on May 7, 2002


ty to yhbc for link.
posted by dabitch at 8:05 AM on May 7, 2002


Here is your answer - texas panhandle. Cnn also has a breaking news banner that there is an APB out on a 22 year old suspect.
posted by domino at 9:30 AM on May 7, 2002


Hmm. And his name is Luke John Helder, a 22-year-old white male with dark hair and green eyes. That was even faster than I thought it would be. Guess the "older male" profile didn't pan out quite right, though.
posted by yhbc at 9:36 AM on May 7, 2002


Oops, looks like I lose the office pool.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:10 AM on May 7, 2002


From what i can tell, they started out in IL (20 minutes from my parents' house...and NO ONE wants to go out and get the mail today, thankyouverymuch), got on I-80 and drove as far west as they could get in a day (Nebraska), got back on I-80 the next day and did it all over again. Now they have a suspect named, I don't know the guy, even though the towns out in IL are so small that everyone knows everyone else, but that doesn't mean he's local to IL.

My guess is whatever is a day's drive on I-80 from Colorado, he'll be there.
posted by schlaager at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2002


But the undeniable truth is that something bad can happen anywhere, at any time. Everyone has to calibrate their own personal scale of risk factors to determine whether or not it's safe to get out of bed each morning.

I prefer the line from Fight Club: "On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone becomes zero."
posted by schlaager at 10:33 AM on May 7, 2002


Stop the presses! From Fox News:

"Authorities in Utah said the man responsible for the five-state wave of pipe bombs has also been in that state. Although no explosives have been found, they advised rural residents to keep their mailboxes open and be on alert.

"We have reasonable grounds to believe he has been in Utah, the southern part of the state, in the past 24 hours," said Utah Highway Patrol Col. Earl Morris at a noon news conference.

"We have no idea whether he left any bombs in Utah," he said. "


Of course, we're also the state whose residents continually see Osama bin Laden, so you can take it with a grain of salt.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:45 AM on May 7, 2002


Just want to point out that the FBI located the guy after he was ratted out by his family when they recognized his writing as being the same stuff as was in the mailbox letter.

Damn, I should work for the feds.

< /blowing own horn>
posted by yhbc at 1:19 PM on May 8, 2002


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