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January 04, 2012


You might pack your girlfiends cell phone by accident, you might forget your toothbrush. But to miss a grenade and C-4, I don't think so. Likely thought it would be neat to take the grenade and C-4 home with him - could prove useful one day. That was a big mistake especially after the last 10 years has made it clear there is zero tolerance for compromised security aboard airlines. We all make mistakes - like getting behind the wheel after drinking. But there are very real penalties for some mistakes - and that's the way it should be. Life is hard and it's harder if you're a dumbass.

The way I understand it, without a detonator the C-4 was harmless. If this was part of a conspiracy then perhaps someone else was supposed to plant a blasting cap somewhere on the plane. But there's no evidence of that. And from what I've read so far there was nothing that put the plane or the passengers in danger.

There have been many instances in which people have attempted to board a plane having forgotten that there was a handgun in their purse or carry-on bag.

The Atwater case seems similar to those. And I believe most of those cases result in a hefty civil fine but no criminal charges.

If you were as used to carrying around grenades and C-4 as most people are used to carrying around cell phones then yes you forget might that they are in your bag and/or on your person.

I'd be interested to know how many pounds of C4 were carried by military personnel on commercial flights prior to 9/11. AFAIK, there has never been an incident related to that practice. Is this another instance where 9/11 has forever colored the way we view situations that were previously ignored?

TMS, that's right. Active service personnel have to drastically alter their habits and behavior once they come home. And it would be easy to overlook something. Not quite like writing 2011 instead of 2012, but it's the same principle.

Eric, excellent point. A simple box cutter proved more dangerous than the package Sergeant Atwater was carrying.

All it takes to detonate C4 is heat and pressure....a blasting cap is just one way to detonate it. But I'm relatively sure he was unaware of it being in his bag, seeing as how he didn't detonate it on the first flight to Midland.

No matter the intent or lack of, what this guy did was extremely dangerous and could have killed people. He should be held to account for his carelessness.

Kris Thomas and Joe Devola, thank you for visiting.

I could be wrong, but I believe that C-4 is just going to sit there unless there's something equivalent to a blasting cap to set it off.

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