weapons of mass destruction

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 23 23:15:20 UTC 2013

So Saddam Hussein did have WMDs!

Lots of 'em!

BTW, you mean "Vic Morrow."


On Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 7:02 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      weapons of mass destruction
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> OED:
> > weapon of mass destruction n. a weapon intended to cause widespread
> > devastation and loss of life, (now) /esp./ a chemical, biological, or
> > nuclear weapon; usu. in /pl./
> No one appears to have mentioned that the charge against Jahar Tsarnaev
> is "using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction", not the
> specific charges of intentional homicide.
> This does not appear to be an isolated incident:
> http://goo.gl/Y35WL
> > The affidavit of FBI agent Paul Higginbotham undergirding Harroun’s
> > recent arrest and charge sums it up like this: "There is probable
> > cause to believe that, in or about January 2013 to March 2013, Eric
> > Harroun conspired to use a weapon of mass destruction, i.e. a Rocket
> > Propelled Grenade, outside of the United States, in violation of 18
> > U.S.C. 2332a(b)."
> The statute is interesting on its own:
> > (a) *Offense Against a National of the United States or Within the
> > United States.-- * A person who, without lawful authority, uses,
> > threatens, or attempts or conspires to use, a weapon of mass
> > destruction--
> > (1) against a national of the United States while such national is
> > outside of the United States;
> > (2) against any person or property within the United States, and
> > (A) the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce is used
> > in furtherance of the offense;
> > (B) such property is used in interstate or foreign commerce or in an
> > activity that affects interstate or foreign commerce;
> > (C) any perpetrator travels in or causes another to travel in
> > interstate or foreign commerce in furtherance of the offense; or
> > (D) the offense, or the results of the offense, affect interstate or
> > foreign commerce, or, in the case of a threat, attempt, or conspiracy,
> > would have affected interstate or foreign commerce;
> > (3) against any property that is owned, leased or used by the United
> > States or by any department or agency of the United States, whether
> > the property is within or outside of the United States; or
> > (4) against any property within the United States that is owned,
> > leased, or used by a foreign government,
> > ...
> [goes on to describe the sentence...]
> But, of course, the fun part is the definition:
> > (c) Definitions.-- For purposes of this section--
> > ...
> > (2) the term “weapon of mass destruction” means--
> > (A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title;
> > (B) any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious
> > bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic
> > or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors;
> > (C) any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector (as
> > those terms are defined in section 178 of this title); or
> > (D) any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity
> > at a level dangerous to human life;
> OK, we need to get further down the rabbit hole from (2)(A), into 18 USC
> 921:
> > (4) The term “destructive device” means—
> > (A) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas—
> > (i) bomb,
> > (ii) grenade,
> > (iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces,
> > (iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than
> > one-quarter ounce,
> > (v) mine, or
> > (vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding
> > clauses;
> > (B) any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell which
> > the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly
> > suitable for sporting purposes) by whatever name known which will, or
> > which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of
> > an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore
> > of more than one-half inch in diameter; and
> > (C) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in
> > converting any device into any destructive device described in
> > subparagraph (A) or (B) and from which a destructive device may be
> > readily assembled.
> > The term “destructive device” shall not include any device which is
> > neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon; any device,
> > although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned
> > for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar
> > device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned, or given by the Secretary of
> > the Army pursuant to the provisions of section 4684 (2), 4685, or 4686
> > of title 10; or any other device which the Attorney General finds is
> > not likely to be used as a weapon, is an antique, or is a rifle which
> > the owner intends to use solely for sporting, recreational or cultural
> > purposes.
> So, bombs, grenades, mines, rocket-propelled grenades (using
> Holywood-style hand-held "rocket-launchers") and flare guns (if the
> flare charge is large enough and only what it's used as a weapon, not
> for "signaling") would all be classified as "weapons of mass
> destruction". The only reason we don't hear more about this is because
> charges are usually filed under code and a numeric representation is
> usually not as sexy (and most reporters may be too lazy to look them up,
> save for Ackerman).
> Interesting that "signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety or
> similar device" is left for us to interpret (or for the AGUSA to
> interpret, to be more precise--not quite the same thing). Same with
> "sporting, recreational or cultural purposes" (e.g., is protected
> big-game hunting under this rubric? what about using people in hunting
> games? It's certainly "sporting" and "recreational" to some people, but
> is it exempt?). "Pyrotechnic" in particular leaves me puzzled. We can
> sort of figure out the rest. And, as Victor Mature might attest (had he
> survived), pyrotechnics can kill just like the real thing...
> Just wait till the Tea Party gets the wind of this! We're going to have
> all kinds of fun...
> VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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