Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Oklahoma suicide or attempted Oklahoma suicide bomber?

I didn't put a whole lot of weight into the story about that Oklahoma Sooner student who apparently committed suicide by blowing himself up. I recall thinking that was damn strange. Making a bomb is a lot of work for someone who's despondent enough to end his own life. There are dozens of methods of killing yourself that use simpler tools and have the added benefit of not costing anything to acquire or produce. To go to the extent of actually constructing an explosive device to simply kill oneself represents a fairly significant expenditure of time and material.

Then, the location of the explosion. Most suicides happen in the residence of the person doing the dying. If not there, then it's usually at work or some other location frequented by the person. After all, most suicides make use of the stuff that's available and most people know more about what's available in places they spend a lot of time in. So if our aforementioned bomb-making suicide "victim" actually did go to the trouble of making a bomb, chances are he'd light the thing off right where he made it. To go to a traffic circle near the sports arena where a packed house of over 80,000 people where watching a football game doesn't make a lot sense, either. Granted, we are talking about a suicide, here, which generally doesn't hold up to rational scrutiny, but it still seems odd even in the context.

Still, strange as I found it, it just didn't come up too far on my radar given the other things going on these days.

Then comes the realization that the "victim" had inquired recently about buying large quantities of ammonium nitrate, the key component in the bomb used in Oklahoma City in 1995. What's in this kid's background that would cause him to want any of that? Dig a little further and we find all sorts of items of interest. Items such as that it now appears he was a member of the same mosque as Zacarias Moussaoui. That his roommate held islamic fundamentalist beliefs and, by the way, hasn't been seen since the incident. That local police are saying that they found a large cache of weapons in his apartment. That the bomb that went off used triacetone triperoxide, called TATP, an explosive not commonly found here in the US. Where is it common? In the Mideast, specifically in use by Palestinian terror groups. Al Qaeda and friends use it, too. It was the explosive that shoebomber Richard Reid was trying to light off on the plane headed into the US.

The facts are starting to mount that this was not supposed to be a suicide so much as a suicide bombing run. I believe he was headed toward that game and came within 100 yards of his target when something when wrong (right?) with his plan. I'll be watching for more details.