Just a generic geek, with a tendency for taking things apart

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Remember Kids, Don't use your Cell Phone During Bomb Threats
Note: Dear Police/FBI/Other Agency, I'm not your suspect. Ask the Fed who questioned me a few weeks ago.

Apparently some one claimed they were going to detonate a bomb they had placed within Mount Airy High School at 12:30 today. My brother goes there, and I heard about it by 2:30, partially because he also gets a kick out of the FBI file a few weeks ago but I also just heard about it though one of those annoying automated calling systems which handed me a few more details (and a lot more spin). Now I can't do as much of a threat assessment on the high school since I wasn't there, but I have an idea from when I was there.

Some one though it would be fun to get out of class for the day and left a bomb threat in one of the girls bathrooms. Someone, possibly the same person who wrote it, lets a good school official know about the note. The note quickly gets the attention of the school administration who call 911 and promptly evacuate all the students to a "secure location" by secure location they mean the football field bleachers. For the sake of avoiding another federal interviewer I'll skip the part where I mention how easy it would be to hide a few bombs in plain sight at a football field. Anyways they then sweep the building looking for a bomb and all that other good stuff and come up empty handed. So eventually they let the students come in. I'm not going to judge the management of the situation even tho' I'm a little vague on why they some teachers and staff were included in the sweep. I know some of the people in emergency services and I'm more than willing to trust them, some of the school employees on the other hand...

I doubt there was a real threat to students, as someone a little more concerned with practical security than most. Someone who leaves a note is usually an idiot (hopefully in a week or so, an arrested and publicly embarrassed idiot) who wants to cause a stir then exploit if for personal gain (get out of class for a day or two) or wants commit a mass killing (like 50% + of the student body). The other type isn't announced (Your New York, Madrid, and London Bombings) and can't be stopped.

After I wrote my last piece on Bomb evacuations some people felt I was suggesting that you not evacuate the building. Maybe I was (most buildings are strong and capable of ) but the real point I wanted to get out was if you evacuate do not cluster everyone into a single "secure" area where an attacker can cause the most amount of death with the least amount of effort. Using the cellular structure inherent in schools to distribute students over campus barely looses you anything in ability to communicate and gives you a significant increase in security/safety.

Maybe I need to diagram that concept. Anyways the last inane point of discussion in all this is. When they unleased their phone system the closing statement was to have parents remind students not to make cell phone calls during bomb threats. Huh? I've talked about how throw away cell phones are an easy way to make a remote detonation system so in the capacity not having students make phone calls makes some sense (assuming the bomber is stupid enough to be there when they detonate the bomb) I've heard, and can understand how, a family radio can be used to detonate an IED, which like the cell phones is becoming, if not is now, common practice in war zones. How ever I haven't heard of cell phone radiation (from connection) as being able to detonate anything. I'd love if someone dug up a story (factual only please) of a outgoing call causing some sort of detonation/ignition (like those gas fire stores everyone has heard - the ones that are completely myths) I think the school is actually more concerned with saving face and keeping people, ie media and parents, out of the area.

No I'm not threatening to or suggesting anyone actually blow stuff up, I'm just trying to be a little more security minded when it comes to idiots who get their kicks out of disrupting school for a few hours. I'm looking forwards to what, if anything, my brother writes about the bomb threat (he's already made a few jokes about wheat happens when our family discusses bombs and security)

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