Teen convicted on terror charges for being "anti-American", launching model rockets

This is insane.

It gets better.

That’s a crime, now?

Fuck, if I was arrested on terrorism charges in America, I’d prefer to be in Canada, too.

Fucking ridiculous. The kid wasn’t even given the chance to change out of the shift, and the prosecutor took full advantage.

This is what triggered the whole. Some fucking vandalism on the wall.

“We do not have mens rea. Fuck, we don’t even have actus reus. But this kid doesn’t like America, so we have everything we need for a conviction.”

And now everything becomes clear. This is a fucking frame-up. This poor kid has been railroaded, and it’s sickening. They’ve got the guy they wanted to arrest, so now they’re letting it go.

What a complete miscarriage, no, ABORTION of justice. Infuriating, sickening, and frightening.

I could understand if he had been arrested for hacking into his school’s computer as was mentioned in the article or if there were actual evidence that he had actually been the one to make the threat. Two “eye witnesses” that were given a reward for turning him in aren’t very reliable.

What exactly is a “Joe Canadian” t-shirt?

The prosecutor is sucky-dumb.

Psst…don’t eat the mashed potatoes.

It’s a shirt from an ad for Molson Canadian beer.

Hmmm. Seems to be a few variations on this story, depending on what paper you read.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer (registration required, unless you follow a Google link):

*"Authorities contended that Travis Biehn wrote a bomb threat on a wall at Central Bucks High School East, maintained a Web site showing bomb-making materials in his bedroom, and told friends that he had the items to “blow things up.” A June 1 search of his Buckingham Township bedroom found fuses, potassium nitrate, cylinders, magnesium and other items that could be used to make explosives.

Travis Biehn did not testify at the hearing. His father, Brant Biehn, testified that the boy had bought the materials for such things as science projects and backyard smoke bombs. "*

So we have a kid who hacked into his school’s computer system (according to the other story) and got suspended, allegedly made a bomb threat and had the means to carry it out based on items displayed on a web site. The cops had to be called in to search for bombs and the resultant uproar (including an apparent copycat threatmaker) resulted in the school being shut down for a day. The kid was found to be a delinquent by a local judge. He might have to do community service or reform school time.

It’s…it’s just like the Gulag!

On the face of it, it does look like the kid was convicted absent compelling evidence, but a more detailed article in the Globe and Mail mentions a few things that may have been considered by the prosecutors that were left out of that article.

The kid had previous arrests for making and selling napalm, which is a little bit more concerning that model rocketry. He was also arrested for shooting a paintball gun at moving traffic. It was also alleged that he maintained a website that had bomb-making instructions on it, and one kid said he talked to him about blowing up the school.

While I certainly agree that a Molson Canadian t-shirt is hardly strong evidence of violent anti-American opinion, I’d like to know more about the evidence and testimony that was presented before making a hard decision about whether or not this whole thing was outrageous or not.

It’s entirely possible that the judge concluded he did utter the threats and was preparing to make a bomb based on better evidence than we know about.

I’m particularly interested in the “bomb-making” information on the website. Can it be connected to the kid? Were the materials he was charged with possessing consistent with the information on the page? If so, his guilty verdict might not be as unreasonable as it first seems.

Remember a couple of years ago just before the Iraq invavsion Mr Bush said something along the lines of: if you’re not with us, you’re against us.

It’s evidence of nothing except poor taste in beer, and a willingness to walk around as a corporate advertisement.

Undisputed. I’m glad that our juvenile records on taste in beer are sealed, though. When I was his age I was fiercely loyal to O’keefe’s Extra Old Stock. :o

So a high school kid scrawls a bomb threat on a wall, has a bomb building how-to website, and material to make a bomb, and it’s no big deal.

It brings to mind a couple of kids in Colorado not long ago. That was a big deal, they used nasty guns. Lots of people were outraged that, given all the “clues” to their behaviour, nobody did anything until they had made their move and killed a few other people.

But this was a good kid, no way he could have done such a thing, why he was Canadian, and anti-American, he surely couldn’t do anything as dastardly as those Columbine kids did.

I’ve removed tree stumps. I used an ax and a shovel. A tree stump would give a pretty good chance to test fire any bomb, I’m sure he never intended to use it for anything other than fireworks.

“Vigilantism” or vigilance. Innocent tree stump blaster or potential teen age nut case. I guess we really should have waited until the smoke cleared to make that sort of call.

I don’t know anything about what this kid may or may not have done, but I’m just jaded enough not to be surprised that wearing a US Flag shirt in Canada is patriotism, whilst wearing a Molson Beer T-shirt in the U.S. is being ‘anti-American’.

Scrawling a bomb threat is something administrators and police are going to take pretty seriously. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. If it was just the graffiti, this would be way out of line. But the other posts make it sound like that something actually was wrong here.

Except that now that they’ve gotten rid of this kid, they’re not taking bomb threats seriously.

Has a website “showing bomb-making materials in his bedroom”. That’s vague enough to encompass pictures of him building model rockets.

Perhaps we should wait until there’s some actual fucking evidence of a crime before convicting this kid. You know, that whole presumption of innocence thing?

Why do you hate Armenia?

Fireworks and stump blasting were two excuses given by his father. They don’t live in a rural area, I can’t imagine stump blasting was much of a past time. Or very legal in itself. And stump blasting is a lot closer to bomb building than model rockets.

While it looks like he was also involved in making model rockets, the same chemicals can be used to concoct a bomb. This kid “had been arrested previously for making and selling napalm”. I’ve never seen a napalm powered model rocket.

Also, found in his room “more than 15 kilograms of potassium nitrate, fuses, tubing and a case of lighter fluid”. Ammonium nitrate and fuel oil makes a dandy bomb. I wonder what potassium nitrate and lighter fluid would make? Rocket engines?

It’s a crime to call in a bomb threat to a school, even if you have nothing to use but a quarter and a pay phone. If you write a bomb threat on the wall of a school and have a past record of making napalm and have bomb building materials in your possesion, it’s going to be hard to explain.

By the time the “actual fucking evidence of a crime” that Harris and Klebold commited had presented itself, 15 people were dead. There was so much Monday morning quarterbacking on that one. Why didn’t anybody see any signs? Why didn’t anybody realize that something was going to happen? Why didn’t anybody DO anything?

So you are saying we need to wait until the bomb actually goes off before making a big deal over this incident. Fine by me.

Patriotism means you are especially loyal to a particular country. If you express American patriotism in Canada, it’s anti-Canadian, to the extent that Canada’s interests do not wholly coincide with America’s.

That sounds tongue-in-cheek, but it actually contains some significant political criticism. The kid is at least guilty of being a damned impolite guest. If his parents think it’s OK for him to go around in a t-shirt like that, maybe they need to pack up and head back to the great white north.

It’s conceivable – unlikely, but conceivable – that the kid just had a healthy male interest in explosives or rocketry. But 99% of people who fly model rockets use store-bought motors. The potassium nitrate is an ingredient in black powder, which is an ingredient in model rocket motors. You can just buy the black powder pre-made. If the kid was going to compound his own black powder, I’d expect him to be pretty knowledgeable about chemistry and combustion. I would hope they had someone knowledgeable ask him about it.

The napalm making and selling is harder to explain. I think the kid probably was a deliquent, and that’s what he was evidently convicted of.

There stuff is crap enough when it is fresh, I can’t imagine what the stale stuff is like.

You can not be serious, can you?

Are you serious? It’s a freakin’ beer commercial.