Sunday, October 07, 2007

Anarchist' Cookbook turns Teens into Terrorists

Was there any Internet-obsessed teenage boygeek in the 1990s that didn't have a copy of the (Jolly Roger) Anarchist's Cookbook, or at least knew a BBS to get hold it from? And did any of them actually try anything out of it? OK, well, yes to both questions probably. Boys have a certain fascination with making things explode. It's what drives people to go to the moon, buy fireworks, and, uh, start "shock and awe" tactics. Booms impress. Boys like to impress, ergo...

These days, of course, possession of such material gets you in court. According to a prior article, the 2 terrorism-related charges are "the possession of material for terrorist purposes" and "the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism". I'm assuming he was one of those boys that did try out some of the recipes, and probably got found with a tennis ball and some matchsticks on his person. Was he going to take down the country? Hmm.

Information is dangerous, but it's also, well, informative. Speech is dangerous, but it's also necessary to be able to decide between "good" and "bad". Possessing information alone shouldn't be a crime.

Addendum: Interestingly, according to wikipedia, the author turned Christian in 2000 and has tried to have the book removed from publication. However, the publishers have control over it rather than he, and keep on printing it out...)

There's also a FAQ and History of the book, which has probably the best dis-endorsement of the "terrorist material" available:
Smoking peanut skins? Hacking phone systems made obsolete 18 years ago? Instructions on how to make nitro-glycerine that will sooner give you acid burns than enable you to yield a true product! I mean COME ON! Anyone that bought this crap deserved to meet the terrible consequences of following any of the instructions within the anarchist cookbook.
Precisely. Actually, the page also highlights just how difficult it is to say that someone has a copy of the Cookbook, as there are a hundred and one different variations on it anyway. Infamy spreads diverse imitation.

There are also a variety of logically-illegal links from there too. But, as the site says, "most of the people who are injured by explosives are injured because of what they do not know, not by what they do know." In fact, by arresting this 17-year old kid and going on about how "evil" the Cookbook is (not, you'll notice, how dangerous to the self it is), there's even more of a chance 17 year old boys will Google it and seriously injure themselves. Clap clap.

No comments: