Another “Pipebomb” sticker fiasco

10

by Mark V on Feb 17, 2009 at 2:30 PM

Apparently, a pilot on the way to the terminal at Memphis International Airport saw a bicycle with a “This Bike is a Pipebomb” sticker at the rack and reported it to the police, who in turn closed down the airport until a K-9 unit could sweep for explosives. Of course, none were found. Because the sticker is from a band named This Bike is a Pipebomb from Pensacola FL. I’ve seen them a few times in concert too.

If this story sounds familiar, that’s because it’s played out a few times already on some college campuses. The band has been around for over a decade, but since 2001 people take bomb threats a lot more seriously. For instance, when I was a messenger in DC in 1999, I delivered a letter to White House Staff at the East Wing with a “This Bike is a Pipebomb” sticker on my bike. Now, I bet messengers can’t get anywhere near the East Wing, sticker or no.

Not sure where my opinion falls on this issue. On one hand, it’s funny, but I’m sure it wasn’t funny to the people missed their flights because of it. Can’t blame the police, because it’s their job to investigate and maintain public safety.

For myself, I don’t have a sticker like that on my Sycip fixie, because it’s also my travel bike. The last thing I need is for the TSA to haul me off when I want to get on a plane for SxSW. Instead, I prefer to keep non-threatening stickers on my bike, like “KILL WHITEY”.

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Comments: 10

Yeah, ‘cause the terrorists always display “This is a bomb” on their dastardly devices. ;)

I just sold a bike that we had put a TBIAPB sticker on a few years back. Was compelled to tell the new owners not to lock it up in front of the Federal Building. In other news, This Bike is a Pipe Bomb kicks a**!

It’s pure idiocy. Do these dim bulbs really think a potential terrorist would actually advertise in that manner? Apparently these idiots forgot 9/11. Those terrorists succeeded precisely because they were able to blend in and NOT attract attention.

I’m more disturbed that someone that stupid is actually allowed to pilot a plane!!

Yeah, ‘cause the terrorists always display “This is a bomb” on their dastardly devices. ;)

My thoughts exactly.

The new World Order has arrived…...

So much for self Expression!

This is a policy that will serve us in good stead if the terrorist Wile E. Coyote ever tries to attack our infrastructure with a device clearly labeled “ACME PIPEBOMB.”

Come. On.

There’s also the [Art Bomb incident](http://archives.dailyuw.com/1996/071796/artbomb.html). Seattle guerrilla artist [Jason Sprinkle](http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/visualart/225696_sprinkle25.html) left a disabled truck with a giant metal heart in it and graffiti that said, “Timber Lake Carpentry Rules (the Bomb)!” Evacuation ensued. That tag was intended by Job Corps kids as a compliment to the battered vehicle. It was amazingly surreal as it played out on TV.

*Subculture Joe Sprinkle* and his friends later put a ball and chain on the Hammering Man and were famously named the [Fabricators of the Attachment](http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/226511_sprinkle01.html).

The whole thing here is that it’s entirely possible that a bad guy would actually do something like this to test response and reaction times etc.

You’ve got to admit that it seems like a pretty effective way to shut down an airport in a hurry.

A bad guy doesn’t need explosives, paranoia is just about as effective and costs much less. I mean a stolen bike and a $2 sticker? Both relatively harmless by themselves or together, but in the context of being left unattended at an airport it becomes a definite cause to follow security protocols for an actual device. 

Just imagine how pissed you guys would be if that bike actually was what the sticker said and took out someone you knew or cared for.  Throw in the fact that TBIAPB is a relatively obscure band that few outside of their admittedly small fan base has ever heard of and you might be able to get a grip on this for yourselves.

I don’t condone or in any way endorse any of this, I can just see how it would work.

“The whole thing here is that it’s entirely possible that a bad guy would actually do something like this to test response and reaction times etc.”

Possible? Yes. Probably? HIGHLY unlikely judging from history. Again, terrorists - at least the effective ones - strive to blend in, not be spotted. Show me just one historical example of where terrorists tested the response times of a system in such an open manner. They do make dry runs but they do so in a manner that will keep them from being spotted.

I do agree that it is sort of on the same level as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater and an overall dumb thing to do.

The TSA and other agencies do it all the time.
As to your “not being spotted” theory: The entire point of the exercise is to give security a perceived “threat” and watch what happens so as to have the data for the real thing. 

Your mistake here is that you’re trying to rationalize extremists.  Someone who’d be willing to carry out an attack such as the one theorized may damn well be twisted enough to actually label the device.  Thorough and meticulous planning doesn’t always equal “rational”.


Again, I don’t condone or in any way endorse any of this,

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