Monday, August 16, 2010

Corn Starch ‘Terrorism’ Update

The farce of the Corn Starch Caper of 2010 continues to expand. It seems many more letters have been received at other locations around Texas, as well as in Massachusetts and Illinois. And to add to the fun, the FBI has become the latest actor in this absurd comedy.

"Nobody understands what they're trying to say," says FBI Special Agent Mark White. "The message itself is unclear. But by taking that extra step and putting that white powdery substance in there, yes it's considered a threat."

So, if the message is not clear and understandable how can it be considered “threatening.?” Just because it contains the words “al-Qaida?” Exactly what other words might an indecipherable message contain that would classify it as “threatening?” Taliban? Nazi? Castro? bin Laden? Tea Party? US Constitution? Liberty? Peace?

If I wrote and sent a message that said, “Mary had a little lamb- al-Quaida- It’s fleece was white as snow,” would that be considered threatening?

And if that isn’t considered a threat itself, taking the “extra step” of adding a harmless, white powdery substance to that incomprehensible message automatically creates a “threat?” How so? Yes, I know that investigators assume the white powder to represent “anthrax” but how can they be absolutely sure? They’d have to be able to read the mind of the sender. I seriously doubt they would be capable of reading and understanding the sender’s thoughts, particularly when knowing that they can’t even comprehend what the sender has written.

What if the powder is red, green, purple, or pink? Is it still considered a “threat?”

How could anyone within the confines of any legitimate, definitive, legal proceeding categorically prove any harmless, white substance was meant to represent the “threat” of anthrax? And even if that relationship could be proven, it does not change the physical reality that the powder was not anthrax or any other poison!

"The letters all have the same postmarks, the same content and similar return addresses that lead us to believe they are coming from the same person or persons," said White. Return addresses? You mean the sender was so diabolical and crafty that he included his return address? Gee, Mr. White, has anyone within your brilliant agency gone through the trouble of actually checking out these return addresses? If so, why do you make no mention of it?

The report states that “authorities are offering up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.” Prosecution for what? Mailing a murky message with corn starch?  Maybe I think too much, but exactly what would be the charge? The reporter is obviously too lazy to ask such a question.

Is corn starch or any other white powder considered a “threat” in any context or just when it appears in a mailed envelope? What about the bakery aisles in grocery stores? Should law enforcement immediately close them all down? If I went to the store and taped a note saying “al-Qaida” on a one pound bag of sugar would that be considered a “threat,” subject to criminal prosecution?

In my earlier post I speculated on what might happen if thousands of people mailed envelopes containing nothing but corn starch to DC. Considering state employee’s inordinate fear of white, powdery substances, I pondered what might occur. It seems that this may have actually happened in Philadelphia, where an Internal Revenue Service office was briefly evacuated after a suspicious envelope was found. “Police said the envelope contained a vial with a plastic bag over it, but tests showed no harmful materials were inside. The office reopened a few hours later, authorities said.”

This event inspired Super-Special Agent Mark White to make another brilliant pronouncement that the Philadelphia letter was not related to the others. How does he know? How can he claim this immediately after admitting failure identifying and locating the “culprit,” in the other mailings, begging the public for help, and offering 100,000 of their stolen tax dollars as incentive?

It will be interesting to see how this hysterical, keystone cops drama ultimately plays out. Will the mailings continue to spread throughout a larger geographic area or will the nonsense end quietly here, forgotten by the public and embarrassingly filed away by law enforcement agencies?

The dog days of August take a toll on the brain’s thought processes. The summer oven works to dull reasoning and distract the brain towards other, less productive pursuits- notably, looking for a cool place to lie down and take a nap. It’s good of the state’s incompetent and panicky actors to provide such welcome hilarity and inspiration.

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