Interesting… I have all three of these things in my house

I just read about this foiled Toronto terror plot, and they ran the following picture next to the article, describing the items that were seized:

Let’s see… a semiautomatic handgun, a soldering iron, and what appears to be a voltmeter. I have all three of these things in my house.

What I do not have is three tons of ammonium nitrate. Personally, I think that would have made a better picture.


34 thoughts on “Interesting… I have all three of these things in my house”

  1. The key phrase in that story is “took steps to acquire”.

    My guess is that they couldn’t take a picture of the ammonium nitrate because the “terrorists” didn’t *have* it.

    Besides, you know you’re dangerous. You’ve got a gun *and* you know what a soldering iron and voltmeter are.

    I wish I was kidding about that last….

    1. Prior to the “tipping point” of the Information Age, those who wished to prevent us from blowing ourselves or each other up needed only to control access to certain printed materials. You know, “don’t teach bomb-making in school” and “censor The Anarchist’s Cookbook on grounds that it is a munition.”

      These days that won’t work. Anybody who is a quick study can learn simple bomb-making in MINUTES with the help of Google. So… you have to control access to the ingredients.

      Sadly, most (if not ALL) of the ingredients in explosives are also key ingredients in stuff that won’t blow up, and many of these are available in the grocery store. Governments who fear IEDs have their work cut out for them.

      1. Besides, if you’ve got a farm, you can *make* many of the materials they’d like to control. Making saltpeter attracts attention in town. But with lots of livestock, who will notice?

        And once you’ve got that, ammonium nitrate isn’t that much harder.

        I learned a lot of that stuff when I was a kid 40 years ago because I couldn’t *afford* many chemicals. So I made note of stuff on how to make them. Which turned up in the darndest places.

        I’m not the only one. Some years back, a in a role playing game, the GM made the mistake of running a game where the players were themselves, someone dumped into the game world.

        I and another guy started writing down list of the things we’d need and where we’d buy them (or how we’d make them).

        He was *quite* distressed at our lists. Especially since they were from memory.

        By the time we switched games, the two of us were considering whether or not we could build a nuclear reactor. Which we likely could have. We didn’t tell him that we doubted we’d be able to build a nuclear bomb. 🙂

        1. Some years back, a in a role playing game, the GM made the mistake of running a game where the players were themselves, someone dumped into the game world.

          That actually sounds like a GREAT game. The GURPS manuals would work fine as source material for the GM (consistent values for weapons ranging from the technologically crude to the exotic), but you could also use d20 Modern. The only rule is that you don’t get to use a firearm that you can’t convince the GM you can build.


          1. I’ve been working on the thought of running a similar game for my friends in d20 Modern, actually. Stats are boosted to heroic levels, of course, because if you keep them at about what your actual stats are you have a party of people with nothing higher than 12 at most…. because 18 in any stat is well beyond pro… Str 18, for instance, gives you a max weight lifted which is just beyond the world record. And because we’re teens, it would be worse… I’m thinking of making it as a realistic vison of ourselves in sveral years, but i know I’ll have to knock a couple people down with the realism hammer for several drafts of the chars.

            Or I could just run it in the here-and-now. hrrrm, which would be interesting in itself. *plots*

            But however one does it, the three rulebooks of d20 Modern, Future and Past give you rules for a tech level of ‘caveman’ to ‘man as gods’, and the opportunity to add magic whenever. fun.

          2. Yes! That’s a fun series, but I’ve had a hard time finding it for my son to read…really well done, I thought. Just wish I could find it again!

          3. sadly, yes

            read them in high school (when i was playing D&D semi-seriously). actually, no, i only read the first one then – didn’t read the entire trilogy until i was in college.

            the only books i’ve thrown across the room harder after reading were Dennis McKiernan’s “Iron Tower” trilogy (a wholesale pillaging of “The Lord of the Rings”).

          4. D20 Modern is an interesting, if incomplete conversion of d20 to a modern scenario, IMHO. I think you might be better off running Spycraft; you can do some campaign modifications to make people seem like ordinary folks, and the class system is very very good for making it fun to play something that’s not combat-competent.

            Just my bit of RPG favoritism showing.

          5. right. if I can find the bandwidth… i mean money… to get the rulebook, I shall look at it. I’m always for new RPG systems, even if my friends are all about the D&D and D20 Modern.

          6. It is…of a sort. For the most part it is a D20 system, but then there are the dreaded/wished for action dice. Depending on what they get used for they can be quite fun for the player or the GM

          7. An alternate version – have the group design each others’ characters, assuming they know each other. Have the first session be a ‘correction’ session, where you take the stats and average ’em across the group. If the player thinks it’s incorrect, have them make their case to the group and vote.

            It takes a little longer, but it’s also an interesting exercize to see what your friends think about what your strengths and weaknesses are. *impish grin*


          8. The heck with firearms. Pipe bombs & grenades (the old style with a fuse) are *much* easier to make. 🙂

            It was a fantasy game of sorts, and I was high enough level t be able to throw lightning bolts. Whic I used to set up an electric furnace and make calcium carbide. Which along with a few purchases for odd sources (“You want cloth of *copper*? *Gauze*? O-kay, you’re paying…” ) let me make explosion-proof miners lamps which sold well to the local miners. 🙂

            Dynamite was popular too. 🙂

            BTW, the “frame story” for how we got there was that we had been “power-gaming” and someone had made a comment along the lines of “these gods are pushovers” and this booming voice said “Oh really?” and we woke up as “ourselves” with minor changes to fit the world.

      2. This is why it’s really pretty futile to try to control objects or materials that “might be” used for terrorism. The Israelis understand this, and focus on identifying terrorists, not on people who happen to have stuff that a terrorist might use to attack something. They do a very good job of it, and it works very well.

        Unfortunately, our government hasn’t yet grasped the fact that you cannot restrict every possible substance or object that a terrorist could put to use, and cannot have a specific plan in place against every possible action-movie-plot imagined threat, and still have a functioning society. The only realistic approach is to focus not on the things terrorists might misuse, but on the people who are trying to misuse them, and not on guarding against every conceivable attack or disaster, but on being prepared to respond effectively to any disaster.

    2. The key phrase in that story is “took steps to acquire”.

      My guess is that they couldn’t take a picture of the ammonium nitrate because the “terrorists” didn’t *have* it.

      Poor phrasing in the article. Police siezed three tons of fertilizer.

      Up here, there’s more of a reaction to a handgun than to a pile of fertilizer. Personally, I’d have used a shot of the cellphone detonator, it looked pretty cool.

  2. I have nearly all of those as well. Still waiting on the semi-auto hand gun. Trying to save up for a Whitney Wolverine.

    I do have a semi-auto marlin rifle though.

    1. !!!!!!!


      I sure hope they do get these back to market. My grandmother had one of these little pistols, and it disappeared mysteriously. I sure wish I had it.


  3. Now, I believe the handgun is illegal in Canada, unless you have a specific kind of license. (registered up the wazoo).

    As for the rest, I don’t think it’s illegal to own several bags of fertilizer, soldering irons, voltmeters, copper wiring, and batteries, even in Canada.

    The last guy they caught had all of that in his truck, plus _timers_, which are a much better giveaway. I’m pretty certain that our (Canada/US) police are really pushing it, most of the time.

    You don’t even need Google. Find a retired Vietnam Vet, or if you’re like me, an ex Special Forces guy. The government happily trains them to build bombs out of common soft plastics, toothpaste, and common kitchen chemicals. 🙂


  4. The soldering iron and voltmeter were allegedly being used to build a bomb with more than three times the ammonium nitrate (and destructive power) used in the Alfred P. Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City.
    But that evil little handgun has to be bagged to contain its horrible destructive mayhem-inducing mind control rays.

  5. “A Canadian is like an American, but without a gun.” (I think that’s from Kids in the Hall) It’s just less common to have firearms up there.

  6. I’ve got all of those. Several sets in fact. What time will the feds be around to collect me?

    As for the picture, that’s about par for the course for today’s news gathering. The professional pride that journalists used to take in getting right or not at all died with the rush to be first with anything.

    Here’s another example of fun with photo’s and captions: Uplinktruck: Journalism 101.

    1. The only thing I’m missing is ther fertilizer, if you substitue the three rifles I have for the handgun.

      I find it amusing that one can go into a sporting good store and walk out ~20 minutes later with a rifle and a box of ammo to match it with little question, but get the fifth degree and the Spanish Inquisition (which nobody suspects) over a handgun which is less accurate.

      (course, I’m looking to aquire a handgun as soon as money permits, anyhow, and more ammo for the largest rifle…)

  7. Don’t have a handgun, but I do have a soldering iron and voltmeter. In fact, my soldering iron is even more dangerous in some respects because it’s one for creating stained glass and has to generate more heat than your normal electronics use ones. (Something I still haven’t been able to get across to my father.) But then, that’s why they make rheostats.

  8. Semi-automatics in Canada

    That gun is of a restricted class in Canada. At a minimum, the person who owns it is going to need a permit.

  9. Looks like having a home-protection handgun, and being a tube-gear Ham radio hobbyist, means that I can’t take up farming without giving up one of them…

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