Archive for August 26th, 2007


The signs of successful terrorism. Or irrationality. You decide.

I keep running into stories that either prove that terrorism has truly changed our way of life, or that people aren’t particularly familiar with Occams razor.

Two people who sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare and now face a felony charge.

Umm,… OK…

New Haven ophthalmologist Daniel Salchow, 36, and his sister, Dorothee, 31, who is visiting from Hamburg, Germany, were both charged with first-degree breach of peace, a felony.

The siblings set off the scare while organizing a run for a local chapter of the Hash House Harriers, a worldwide group that bills itself as a “drinking club with a running problem.”

“Hares” are given the task of marking a trail to direct runners, throwing in some dead ends and forks as challenges. On Thursday, the Salchows decided to route runners through the massive IKEA parking lot.

Sounds innocent enough to me…

Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the city plans to seek restitution from the Salchows, who are due in court Sept. 14.

“You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know,” she said. “It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious. We’re thankful it wasn’t, but there were a lot of resources that went into figuring that out.” – [Yahoo/AP]

Riiiiiight. Basically what they are insinuating is that, were your average international terrorist, bent on distributing a biological agent to the largest possible group of random people in the USA, would make sense that I pour the distribution agent out in a neat trail through an IKEA parking lot, with and use chalk arrows to indicate for the obviously stupid Americans the best places to contaminate themselves…

I am going nuts here! Am I just really stupid? (Don’t answer that. Please.) Am I missing something? Does this sound plausible to anyone? And then we have the City planning to request restitution? For what? The chalk? The flour? Being paranoid? And exactly what resources were be required to figure out that flour and chalk does not a biological agent make? Especially given that the one who put it there came and told you himself?

Obviously someone panicked. And because of that persons fear, Dr. Salchow and his sister are facing felony charges. For pouring flour in an IKEA parking lot. How stupid is that? Knowing how this happened, how could anyone justify charging these people with a felony? And even more ridiculous, how can the city hold them liable for their over-reaction?

If every time we see a shadow, a forgotten lunch box, a broke down car in a parking lot, discarded groceries, etc we cry “Terrorists!”, then the terrorists have achieved their goal. To make us into a whimpering, frightened, paranoid and internally unstable country. I don’t know which is worse. The fact that people don’t seem to want to think rationally anymore, or that the terrorists may have already gotten what they wanted all along.

Running club members face felony charges – [Yahoo/AP]


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August 2007
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