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Hoist on His Own Petard

Hoist on His Own Petard

The saying in the title goes back to medieval times when unfortunate souls who were intending to blow up their enemies blew themselves up instead.

A Petard was a small explosive used for breaching doors or gates of fortifications. The Petard was the original shaped charge and the term was used by the British military as late as World War II.

There are two potential problems with Petards and other explosives. First, they might not go off when intended. Second, and worse, they might go off when NOT intended. Which is where the term came from. It’s actually attributed to Shakespeare and he meant it figuratively, not literally.

Which brings us to the late Benjamin Morrow.

Wisconsin Man Killed in Home Blast Had White Supremacist Materials, Stash of TATP and Guns

A search warrant filed in last month’s explosion of an apparent home explosives laboratory at a Beaver Dam, Wis., apartment complex revealed that the suspect was tinkering with TATP, an explosive used in several terrorist attacks.

“Tinkering” is not what I’d think people would do when mixing TATP, which is a very unstable explosive concoction. Richard Reid aka the “Shoe Bomber” injured himself when is TATP didn’t explode, but did cause serious burns to his nether regions. Other terrorists have been more successful, but a good number (and I do mean good) have detonated themselves when they didn’t get the mix just right.

The document, filed March 9 in Dodge County (Wis.) Circuit Court, also indicated that Benjamin Morrow was interested in or adhered to white supremacist ideology.

No details on exactly what “white supremacist” documents were found or that the late Mr. Morrow adhered to him. For all we know, he could have been doing research on “white supremacists” to help with development of his weapons. About ten years back, I was searching for information on home made target stands. The best plans I found were on a Neo Nazi website. I copied the plans, deleted as much of the history of my visit, and took a long shower afterwards. Those people are whacked.

No doubt if someone decided to do an in depth search of my browsing history, they could probably find out that I was there. Nothing ever goes away on the Internet. Which would not mean that I was Neo Nazi.

I’ll stick in one more quote and encourage my readers to go to the link and read more about this sad story. Sad not so much because Mr. Morrow killed himself. It’s sad that the entire building had to be destroyed and the occupants dispossessed.

Also found were rifle accessories, “8 handgun mags, 2 rifle mags, cordless drill, rifle case, rifle scope, ballistic helmet and vest, 680 rounds of 5..56 ammo, 110 rounds of 223 ammo, 1379 9mm, 3 loaded mags with 40 9mm rounds, bottle of BBs, pistol case, 20 rounds of 308 ammo, 3 bottle of calcium chloride” and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

Last time I checked, my cordless drill was not a rifle accessory. I guess it’s the intent, not the actual inanimate device that’s important. The police found at least one handgun, one rifle, and some ammunition. Not really a lot of ammunition if one is a serious shooter. Actually about two days worth for many people.

Police were also concerned about possible co conspirators, but none have been found nor presumably were there remains in the apartment that could not be identified.

I’ll also add that Mr. Morrow may have used some videos on YouTube to help him with his experiments in Kaboomery. Which, if you go to the web site you’ll still find available. Conservative views not okay, but how to videos to make very dangerous explosives are just fine.

We’ll never know what Mr. Morrow might have been up to or why. Which won’t stop some of the media from jumping to conclusions and making assumptions.

The moral of the story here is don’t play with volatile explosives. Seriously, not good can come of this. Other than his family, I don’t know that many people will really be sad that Mr. Morrow has shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s just fortunate that he didn’t take anyone else with him and he never got to carry out whatever plan he had in mind.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Robert Heinlein,

“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”


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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.


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