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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Don't Try This At Home

In the movies it's easy. Cut the red wire, or the blue one?

In real life the terrs have used a collapsing circuit, so if you cut either one, you're dead.

In real life, you'll never see a bomb, never hear one. You'll never experience the brilliant, pulsating light, the impossible noise - always much sharper than Hollywood would have you believe - the gut-punch of the pressure wave.

You won't feel the searing heat, or the wall of flying debris that changes your face and your life forever.

And you'll never hear, as your ears begin to recover, the piteous cries of those who were closer, and who were spared death, and condemned to life.

Not everyone is as lucky as you. For some people, from Mexico to Manila, from Tel Aviv to Tikrit, the prospect of sudden violent death at the hands of an explosive-planting terrorist is a fact of life.

And some individuals will go forth tomorrow to pit their skills against the bombmakers, to defuse the killing machines. Bombs, you see, aren't designed just to kill the unwary passerby...they're typically fitted with antihandling and antitampering devices that will detonate them to kill the bomb tech. It doesn't get much more personal than that. And bombs do not often travel alone...they're associated with secondary, and sometimes tertiary devices.

When the bomb techs win, a bomb rendered safe tells a story of where its components came from, how it was made...and often are marked with the 'signature' of the maker, in the materials and methods used. Evidence that can close the law's noose, and make one more small corner of the world a little safer.

And then they get to do it again.

When they lose, they most probably die. The bomb suit isn't designed to save the life of a tech working on a device of any size...it may keep the body parts in the same place, but that's about it. It provides a bit of protection on the approach, the Long Walk up.

Today, Boxing Day, you may be on your way to the mall to find bargains, or to exchange gifts for which you don't have a use, or a desire.

You'll contend with crowds of other shoppers, mostly ill-tempered.

There are worse things.

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