The Media needs to be careful with homemade bomb instructions

Posted: September 25, 2009 in Uncategorized
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For those of you that found this post hoping to get instructions on how to make your very own bomb, you’re out of luck. Even if I knew how to make homemade bombs, which I do not, I would not write out how to do it.

But the mainstream media has no problem giving away details that I rather wish they didn’t. In reporting on Najibullah Zazi, the media gives far too many details in their stories. For example, they mention certain chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, and helpfully tell readers that this can found in quantity at your local beauty salon. They do the same thing with fertilizer bombs, or other things. In a report on lock bumping ( a technique burglars use to unlock deadbolts) they have an expert locksmith explain just how it’s done…so consumers can be aware. Well, great. But now the teenager who always wantd to know how to open locks has the knowledge to easily do just that. Security expert Bruce Schneier has this to say:

Physical locks aren’t very good. They keep the honest out, but any burglar worth his salt can pick the common door lock pretty quickly.

It used to be that most people didn’t know this. Sure, we all watched television criminals and private detectives pick locks with an ease only found on television and thought it realistic, but somehow we still held onto the belief that our own locks kept us safe from intruders.

The Internet changed that.

You can read the rest of his essay here.

Now, giving exact details on how to bake a cake is one thing, but saying you need so many pounds of nitrogen fertilizer in proportion to such and such a chemical is NOT COOL. Stop giving these details away.

I know the counter argument is that if a criminal is sufficiently determined, he will find out the details one way or another. But having the media do it, be it newspapers, magazines, TV, or the internet, is just stupid. We should be making it harder for these people to commit crimes, not easier. So my message to the media is this: Report the news, yes. Report about a deadly new terror plot and homemade bomb maker, but DO NOT tell the general population HOW they did it.

What do you think?

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