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Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:34 pm
Xu Xiangwei, president of the China Fireworks Experimental Factory, smiled with satisfaction that April morning in Jiangxi province, having supervised the final loading and dispatch of the shipment, his companies largest order ever. He suspected he would never see payment. For two years, the Americans had sent only worthless paper notes and promises.
In every city across America, the families gathered at nightfall to celebrate Independence Day by watching Xu’s pyrotechnics explode over their heads. This year, every grand finale package contained three “blue_peony with small_color_flowers”. And this year, each flower contained 100 grams of anthrax.
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:36 pm
Oo! It's like a Doctor Who plot, except Xu Xiangwei needs to be an alien and the anthrax needs to be a mind-control drug.
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:38 pm
Hey, I simultaneously destroyed and created the universe on the Fourth of July. All you did was infect a bunch of people with Anthrax. Kinda weaksauce, imo...
Seriously though, this falls under the category I like to think of as "If I were a bad-guy, how would I go about being a real pain in the toocus..." type of thinking.
Sort of like coming to the conclusion that jet-liners might be useful as effective weapons (too bad no one thought of that pre 9/11, oh, wait, they did.)
Ever considered a career in counter-terrorism planning?
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:34 pm
I was astonished after 9/11 to read the report that concluded it was caused by a 'failure of imagination' on the part of the FBI, when I assume they had read Clancy. Knowing that our trusty goaltenders never make the same mistake twice, I believe they must have immediately established an office in which they pay people to read and game Clancy novels.
According to that line of thought, I picture a junior staffer running down the hall waving a printed copy of this drabble, to begin the appropriations process for the $50 million it will take to staff the Fireworks Defense Initiative Contingency. Of course, the FDIC will be disguised as a bank rescue.
As an additional story element, Xu Xiangwei is the actual president of the real China Fireworks Experimental Factory, which is actually in Jiangxi province, and makes a display called "blue peony with small color flowers". As Mike Resnick would say, "You can look it up." The other parts of the story may or may not be fictional. It may be that Mr. Xiangwei's 10 year old daughter will google her name, find this, and show it to her father. Who may be upset enough to make life imitate art. Death by irony. How satisfying!
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:29 pm
Yes. I recall coming up with the idea to put liquid explosives in Starbuck's frappuccino bottles about 6 months before those terrorist buys got busted for it.
Being a photographer, I've often carried a 100 pound duffle bag through public places. I remember walking through a university campus one time carrying 100 pounds of stuff and thinking "Wow, it would be totally easy to lug a huge bomb into one of these buildings, set a timer, and walk out." All you'd need is a camera slung around your neck and everyone would assume you were carrying lights. (Which I really was, of course.)
I was also driving by O'Hare airport a few days ago. There's a spot where planes taking off pass over just 1000 feet above the highway. I thought "Wow, anyone with a heat-seeking rocket could just shoot one of those jets down from the back of a convertible."
I frankly don't understand why terrorism is so hard for those Al Qaeada guys to pull off. I think they just aren't very smart.
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:50 am
Mr. Tweedy wrote:I frankly don't understand why terrorism is so hard for those Al Qaeada guys to pull off. I think they just aren't very smart.
Amen. I wonder if extreme idiot ideology as preached by Al Qaeada hurts rational planning.
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:13 am
To a large degree, I think that the post 9/11 lack of attacks has a lot to do with the fact that Al-Qaeda kind of shot their wad as far as operative assets go. Sure, there are plenty of radical Muslims that are willing to blow themselves up, and there are plenty of Muslims who speak English well and have free entry access to the country. However the crossover between those two groups is not necessarily very large.
Finding someone stupid enough to blow themselves up may be easy.
Finding smart people dedicated enough to blow themselves up, despite the fact that they are smart is a harder reach.
Also, certainly as far as hijacking goes, the rules on that changed before the 4th plane made it to Washington when, upon hearing the fate of the other flights, the passengers basically said "Air Marshalls? We don't need no stinkin Air Marshalls..."
I'da hate to have been a terrorist on THAT plane.
No Virgins For You, Losers...
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:16 pm
According to an article in the New York Times, the virgins thing is a kind of typo. Actually, they get 70 white raisins.
If you thought they seemed angry in this life, IMO you ain't seen nothing yet.
Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:47 am
Oh Strawman, Chinese fireworks are filled with love not anthrax.
Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:57 pm
Sure, as long as you pay for them.
But if you knew Xu Xi like I know Xu Xi...
And you'll want to check out the link on the white raisins at
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/02/arts/ ... ran&st=cse
Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:00 pm
Personally, I'd rather have 70 white raisins. 70 virgins might sound tempting in the abstract, but if you think about actually having to live
in a house with seventy women, forever... It would be miserable unless the virgins were actually Japanese robots, and, in that case, the whole charade would where thin pretty quickly. Lose-lose, I call it.
I think the ideal scenario would be 1 virgin and 69 raisins... Which I actually have, and without even having had to blow myself up.