Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pocket Guide to WMD

I spent the last week at my professional society's national meeting. There is always a huge exposition along with these meetings - hundreds of vendors peddling their wares, loads of tsotchkes to bring home to Crash and the Boy (lobster lollipops got best of show in my book). This year, the FBI had a booth - hoping to recruit chemists. A couple of my students have gone to work in forensics - real life CSI - so I thought I'd see if there was any good information I could bring back to put up on the career bulletin board. I picked up the basic info, then spotted the brochure: A Pocket Guide to WMD

A Pocket Guide to WMD? Does the generally public really need to have in their pockets a guide to identifying weapons of mass destruction? or listing the associated laws? (Yes, it is illegal to produce, obtain, possess, demonstrate, or teach others to make weapons of mass destruction.) My favorite part of the guide shows the standard warning symbols for biohazards, nuclear materials, and flammable or explosive chemicals, advising us to be able to recognize these symbols. In bold print, it goes on, however, to warn that we should "not expect to see them on a WMD device".

Interestingly, the brochure didn't provide any information about identifying actual devices, like the guides to identifying energy ship sillouettes from WW II, just broad definitions. ("Any weapon involving a disease organism.") The brochure itself seemed to me to be an incendiary device, the sole purpose to suggest we be ever vigilant for we know not what.


  1. Probably they were just waiting to see who would pick up a copy. You're no doubt on some list somewhere now.

    I don't suppose it told you how to make a weapon of mass destruction?

  2. If I wasn't on such a list before, I'm guessing I would be now...

  3. Too bad propanganda and fear aren't classified as WMDs.