Young men, explosives and Internet video

Posted By on January 6, 2008

Daniel FerraroI’m reluctant to post on a subject touching close to home and too soon after the loss of life, but in hopes someone reads this and takes note I’ll included it. First my condolences go out to the Ferraro family and those who are friends … Daniel Ferraro’s death is indeed very sad.

Last week 4 teenage boys in West Chester, Ohio allegedly prepared to film the destruction of an old backyard playset with a homemade explosive device. I embarrassingly admit that at that age I might have participated in such a stupid activity … teenage boys for some reason have a fascination with ‘blowing things up.’

What is shocking is the Cincinnati Enquirer’s report on the size of the pipe bomb … “The metal pipe was 12 inches long, 2 inches in diameter — twice the size police first estimated.” That’s a substantial bomb and would have made a significant explosion, much different from the multiple firecracker many of my boyhood friends would assemble. It is frightening that such dangerous devices can be assembled from readily available materials purchased from any hardware and sporting goods store. According to the article, the boys may have just purchased the materials earlier in the day for about $50 dollars: “The pipe and end caps cost $18.48 at a local hardware store; a pound of smokeless gunpowder, $23.75; a fuse, less than $5.”

Another sign of our times is the YouTube craze where one can find thousand of videos of people blowing things up. The enticement of creating such and explosion to film with a video camera, still digital camera with video capability or about any cellphone with a camera, is that one can easily upload a clip of the explosion to an Internet video sharing site to share with the connected world … and receive a short “15 minutes of fame.” From police accounts, Daniel Ferraro was using his new camera to film the demolition explosion from about 110 feet away and that an 8 inch long segment of the pipe glanced off a fence post which struck him in the face while continuing another 40 feet. According to bomb experts, an explosive device this large require at least an 850 foot buffer. The boys created a significant bomb.

The loss of life is a sad reminder just how dangerous homemade explosives in the hands of terrorist or just neighborhood kids can be … so use this post as a mnemonic queue in trying to prevent this kind of accident. Again, my deepest condolences the Ferraro family.


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