A question of explosives

I want to make this clear on the front end that I am NOT seeking this information for ill-use.

I work for a news station in Nashville (WSMV, NBC affiliate) and I have to research how some Joe Shmoe managed to procure himself high-end explosives and blow himself up outside a huge shopping mall, Opry Mills.

I’ve been mugging around the internet a bit and it seems likely that this guy could have gone online, shelled out 15 bucks and found a recipe for C-4 (although I am under the impression C-4 is very difficult to produce on your own).

How easy it for someone to get C-4? We are trying to learn more about this dude to understand what kind of man he was. There are related story links at the bottom of the page at the above link. This guy was a sicko, so we’re not worried about a ring of terrorists or something. The police are understandably freaked out, though.

Can anyone help us out? Was this just someone who was persistent or could anyone find out how to make explosives this powerful?

BTW, I found a British distributor called Ribbands Explosives

They seem to be legit, requiring authorization and whatnot. How easy would it be falsify that authorization?

Why complicate things? I didn’t read all the links, but it seems to me that dynamite would do just what occurred, and you can get it anywhere. What leads the cops to think plastique was involved?

As for home-made plastic explosive…it isn’t that hard to make. There are any number of books that give you recipes and procedures. But my guess is still going to be dynamite, or some sort of industrial explosive.

There’s nothing to indicate it was C-4 mentioned in that article; all they said was that it wasn’t the gas in his tank that exploded. It could have been any of hundreds of different types of devices, instructions for making of which are readily available on the Internet.

I know the article doesn’t mention plastic, but I understand that’s the rumor coming from PD. I agree the explosion wasn’t terribly impressive.

I’ve found numerous resources for making my own stuff. Hell, I had friends with copies of the Anarchist’s Cookbook in junior high. I guess what I want to know is, “Is it likely this guy found resources beyond what any 9 year old could get?”

I know it seems frivolous when perfectly good recipes are easy to find, but hey, it’s mini-sweeps. We have to scare the people in to watching, right? <–sarcasm

Tim McViegh did a good job with ammonium nitrate and diesel oil, about enough to fill a 55 gallon drum. It’s just fertilizer, you can get it anywhere in America. Back in May, I saw a pickup with a trailer full at the Piggly Wiggly. I actually counted three rows of four bags stacked two deep. That’s enough to fill several 55 gallon drums. The only thing missing is a creative chemistry student to make an explosive charge to set it off.

My father used to work in a stone quarry in Greece. During the dictatorship of 1967-1974, they were allowed to use very small quantities of explosives. So they mixed fertilizer with regular explosives. It wasn’t as powerful but they didn’t care, since fertilizer was cheap and non-regulated.