This LiveJournal is a Pipe Bomb

Bike Band Sticker Causes Bomb Scare

Athens, Ohio (AP) -- Authorities shut down four buildings at Ohio University after a police officer noticed a sticker that said "this bike is a pipe bomb" before finding out the message was the name of a punk rock band, a university spokesman said.

The bomb squad pried apart the bike with a hydraulic device normally used to rescue accident victims trapped in cars, acting Athens Fire Chief Ken Gilbraith said. Once they had it open, they saw there was no bomb.

The buildings were reopened after about two hours.

Dean of Students Terry Hogan asked that fans of the Pensacola, Fla., band be more careful when showing support in the future.

Oh, but it gets better:

Patrick K. Hanlin, 28, was charged by university police Thursday after he came forward as the bike's owner, Jeffery said. The charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail.

Also: Oops...this bike wasn't a pipe bomb:

The band's name prompted police in Austin, Texas to detain a woman who had the same sticker on her bike at a peace rally in 2001. She was released after officers verified that the band exists.
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Current Music: Steril -- Egoist ♬

34 Responses:

  1. ammutbite says:

    Steril's Egoist( on The Cross Mix)? Awwwww, the days of aggrotech and coldwave. sniff.

    There should be more dangerous bandnames..."Arab terorists in the car", "This suitcase is full of anthrax", and "I have a gun" for all purpose stickering and T-shirt plotlines. The entire law enforcement system could grind to a halt, overwhelmed by way too obvious messages...:-)))

  2. phoenixredux says:

    What a brilliantly irresponsible way for a band to generate publicity. It's sort of like "Dogs Die in Hot Cars", but it has the added advantage of sending your fans to jail for promoting you, thus ensuring even more newspaper coverage. I wonder how many hits to their website this will generate.

    I can't wait to see the bomb squad and SWAT team show up at their next gig.

  3. xomox says:

    Do you think they would have Jaws-o-Lifed his bike and arrested him if it had said "this bike is not a pipe bomb"?

  4. cpratt says:

    Didn't Negativland do this first, sorta?

    • kchrist says:

      I had one of these on my car back in the early '90s. It never raised an eyebrow back then but I shudder to think of what would happen to me if I tried that today.

  5. gytterberg says:

    As someone suggested in the original <lj comm="bikepirates"> post, there should exist a sticker saying "THIS __________ IS A PIPE BOMB," the blank to be filled in appropriately by the terroristapplicator before application.

  6. alex_victory says:

    Charged with what? CHARGED WITH WHAT?! What the hell is the CRIME?! aaaargh stupid reporting.

    • jkow says:

      The ordeal not only cost graduate student Patrick K. Hanlin his bike, but also earned him a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.

      Not that I'd agree, but I believe that's what they're charging him for ;-)

  7. jkow says:

    Ok... I understand how stupid officers decide to rip apart a bike because of a sticker like that... but sueing that guy? I bet they only do that, so he won't charge them for destroying his bike.. he'll be glad now if they drop their charges and leave him alone.

    • westyx says:

      Huh? There's no way he'd win with a lawsuit for destroying his bike. What made you think he would do that?

      He should be bloody glad if they end up dropping the charges, although he might be able to plead down.

      • jkow says:

        Well... yes, of course he'll now be glad if they drop the charges. What I was posting above was just my personal understanding of justice. I realize the world doesn't work like that. If someone destroys your bike by mistake, he'll have to replace it, UNLESS it's the police, I guess.

        • westyx says:

          I don't think they destroyed his bike "by mistake". If you actually RTFA, you'll find out they were very careful when taking it apart.

          Sarcasm aside, what world do you live in? Given, I do think the terrorist threat is somewhat overblown, but the police can't ignore something like that, cos if they did, they'd get slammed when someone actually did put a bomb in something and labelled it "this is a bomb".

          • jkow says:

            Well, first of all I don't live in a world which is outside the USA, and so my wording might be mistaken. With "by mistake" i meant them thinking there was a bomb, although it wasn't.

            Then.. whatever threat they feel to be there, it's there responsibility to replace whatever they mistakenly destroy. Also, I believe the probability of a bomb being in any other bike would be higher, than the bomb being in the one labeled "I'm a bomb". Still they don't start destroying all bikes.

            But I see were you're argumentation is coming from, so I guess we don't really have to discuss that, just different point of views.

            I actually RTFA, twice, and the other one, so your phrasing offends me. Btw. I'm not sure the terrorist threat is overblown, just your (maybe mine also) government is not doing anything to make it better. Only reacting to it with military threats/actions, more surveillance, less civil rights, ... I don't think that will help at all, as long as they still try to push economically/politically into markets/regions, that don't belong to our culture.

            • photwenny says:

              Back in... '92 i think, one of the Presidential Debates was held at my college. An acquaintence of mine who rode his bike everywhere asked a Secret Service guy if it would be OK if he locked his bike to the bike rack out front of the gym (where the debate was to be held) while he took some photos for the school paper.

              While he was inside, someone (presumably a different SSman) cut out a 2" section of his downtube to remove the bike from the rack.

              When he returned, his bike wasn't there, and no one would tell him where it was. Eventually he tracked it down to campus cops and retrived his bike and the 2" section they cut out. He was never compensated.

              I would call that incident, and this one, a mistake. While I'm sure they were careful with the saw while they intentionally destroyed his bike, it was still destroyed when it did not need to be.

              Replacing the student's bike would be a showing of goodwill from the police department. Destroying someone's property and giving them some bogus charge doesn't make me proud of our men in blue.

              It really sucks when you can't trust the people who are allegedly out there to protect us.

            • jkow says:

              args.... talking about it: I meant to say I _do_ live in a world which is outside the USA. :-D That's to excuse my not-from-your-world opinion.

  8. To be honest, I feel like there's a legitimate "yelling fire in a crowded theater" concern here.

    • prog says:

      I'll agree with you if you lower that to "pasting a Post-It note that says 'OMG FIRE!' on the theater seat in front of you and then leaving".

      • I don't know... a piece of paper that says "fire" is not a fire, but an object that says "bomb" could be a bomb.

        I think most of us are imagining the police being stupid enough to think that a terrorist might mark their bomb "BOMB," but I can also imagine them thinking, "this is obviously a joke, but if there's a one-in-a-million chance that it's not, and I ignore it, I am *so fucked*."

        • tyggerjai says:

          More to the point, if the police consistently and predictably ignore things marked "Bomb", then terrorists marking their bombs "Bomb" is exactly the opposite of stupid.


          • georgedorn says:

            Well beyond the point, if police catch on that terrorists are the opposite of stupid, they're going to need to search a lot of things that are not identified as bombs, in which case we'd better all buy label guns.

          • ciphergoth says:

            Maybe they're not the sort of terrorists who want to kill as many people as possible. Terrorists used to do things like phone in warnings, after all. Admittedly it would be a bit of an unusual warning to identify exactly where the bomb is so it could be defused, and a bit of a strange way to deliver the warning...

            • westyx says:

              The IRA did that all the time. "A bomb is going to explode at 10:15 at $place"

              Great way to induce fear and panic.

    • pozorvlak says:

      I know this isn't really the point, but you can apparently pack a fair amount of explosive into a bicycle frame, and you get the shrapnel for free... this apparently used to be a favourite trick of the Malayan Races Liberation Army (though I don't think they helpfully labelled them as bombs). I was living in Oxford a few years ago when the Queen came to visit, and the police went along her route a few days beforehand, putting signs on all bikes reading "Please move this bike within 24 hours, or we will remove it and destroy it." Oxford has a lot of bikes...

      • wesolows says:

        And why exactly is the queen entitled to any special protection? Either the bikes contained bombs, or they didn't. If they did, and the police had some evidence to support the idea, oughtn't they remove them regardless of whether the queen is there? And if they didn't have any kind of evidence, what in fuck's name's the harm in having them around? The idea that $person needs special protection is bullshit. The police are employed to prevent individuals from harming one another and help bring to justice those who do. That means *all of us*, not just the privileged few. Fuck, these people are idiots.

        • pozorvlak says:

          And why exactly is the queen entitled to any special protection?
          Because she's the Queen. Duh.

          Seriously, J. Random Student is unlikely to be the target of a terrorist attack. The Queen is quite likely to be. Abandoned bike on the route of a royal tour? Probably nothing, but best not to find out the hard way...

          But yeah, I was pissed off too until I heard about the Malaysia thing.