Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Yay! Another Xmas bomber bites the dust.

  1. Dec 13, 2013 #1

    OmCheeto

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    I just heard this on the radio. We had a local try and do this a few years ago.

    I, for one, am glad someone is watching the crazies.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2013 #2
    "he thought was loaded with explosives"? Was he mentally ill or something?
     
  4. Dec 14, 2013 #3

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    He was apparently working with people who he thought were fellow radicals but were actually law-enforcement people who provided him with "dud" explosives. A sting, in other words.
     
  5. Dec 15, 2013 #4
    So? There were no explosives. Right? No harm, no foul. And he could serve life? He clearly did not attempt to use any weapons of mass destruction, because there was none!
     
  6. Dec 15, 2013 #5

    Dembadon

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Sure, let's let him go so he can try it again and maybe succeed next time. :uhh:
     
  7. Dec 15, 2013 #6
    Well, has he committed a crime? If I point a fake gun at you, and I pull the trigger should I go to jail for attempted murder? Or are you saying it somehow matters that I know the gun is fake? Even though there could never be a murder in the first place because the gun is fake.

    Unless of course this crime you speak of is thoughtcrime. The mere thought of something to be a crime. Reminds me of Orwell's book 1984. Is sounding more and more like a nonfiction book. As an american this is similar of how mental health patients are getting their second admendment rights taken away. Why is this? Because they have committed thoughtcrime. This is surely not a crime, but it is being treated as one.

    Whether or not you want him in jail, he did not attempt anything, as there was nothing to attempt. So, what would want him to be convicted for? Of course if he knew all along that the people he were working with were law-enforcement agents, this would be just like my gun example above. Except this time the people he threatened to kill were never aware of the threat, and they evidently were not killed and in no danger of being killed since there was no real bomb. Extremely unethical, but legal nonetheless.
     
  8. Dec 15, 2013 #7

    Curious3141

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Look, IANAL (I am not a lawyer) and I am not even an American. But a bit of googling and Wiki-ing is enough to refute your argument.

    An attempted crime is an "inchoate offence" - one that a crime of preparing for or seeking to commit another crime. Arguing that he could not have been guilty because he never had live explosives to begin is an "impossibility defence", specifically one pertaining to "factual impossibility". Such a defence will not work when the facts leading to the impossibility were unknown to the accused at the time of the attempt. Wiki's wording is: "Impossibility is no defence to the crime of attempt where the conditions creating the impossibility are unknown to the actor." The conditions (in this case, the feds having given him duds) were indeed unknown to the accused, so he cannot argue this as a defence.

    And it irks me no end when people bandy about cliches like "thoughtcrime" when they don't fit at all. Thoughtcrime, as used by Orwell is something quite different. This is an actual crime of attempt, not thoughtcrime at all.

    Wiki on inchoate offence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inchoate_offense#Impossibility

    Wiki on impossibility defence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impossibility_defense#Factual_impossibility
     
  9. Dec 15, 2013 #8
    Have you seen the wives who hire someone they think is a hitman to kill their husband, but are in fact cops? Do you think they shouldn't get in trouble for that? Their husbands never knew, and they were never in any danger, yet these women are going to prison for many years. Is it attempted murder? Yes. They attempted to have someone murdered.
     
  10. Dec 15, 2013 #9

    OmCheeto

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    He thought the explosives were real.

    Our Christmas Bomber:

    I sure wish the Boston Marathon had turned out like that.

    Our bomber was found guilty in January. His scheduled sentencing has been delayed a few times.

    Personally, I'd like to see him, and the Wichita tech, get life.

    Good point. Let's let Charles Manson out of jail. He never hurt anyone. And, I could go on all day, but we have better things to do with our spare time... o:)
     
  11. Dec 15, 2013 #10

    mheslep

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yes
    Yes the knowledge matters. If you actually believe you are doing harm but fail to do so you are still guilty of attempt. No a 'thoughtcrime' is not the same thing as acting with intent and failing to succeed.

    None of this in serious dispute. The marginal area here involves the extent of solicitation by authorities in these actions, i.e. entrapment. So far the authorities seem to be acting within their authority with respect to potential bombers.
     
  12. Dec 15, 2013 #11
    Ok, but isn't it kinda shady that are law enforcement agents (the people who are supposed to protect us) are being accomplices to the guy who wants to kill us all? You do know that we have bad cops out there. Thoughtcrime had nothing to do with my argument, by the way. And I will admit, that my impossibility argument in rectrospect was a wrong one to make. So, his only defense would be that he knew they were cops.

    "Your honor, I knew they were FBI all along."
    "Then why did you pull the trigger."
    "I wanted to make sure they were FBI."

    Send him in for life!
     
  13. Dec 15, 2013 #12

    Borg

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The FBI goes through a very careful process when dealing with these people because they have to protect against a weak case that could let these nuts go free. The wannabe bombers are given every opportunity over a period of months to not go through with their plans. By the time these people are arrested, they've made it clear what their intentions are. Pushing the button is just the icing on the cake and is a small part of the case against them. Like Om, I'm glad someone is watching the crazies.
     
  14. Dec 15, 2013 #13

    Dembadon

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    As has already been mentioned, it does not matter whether the accused would have been able to complete the crime. The attempt is good enough. Personally, I'm glad this law exists, which should follow from my previous post.

    It was not legal, though.


    http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/attempted-murder/
     
  15. Dec 15, 2013 #14

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    They aren't accomplices if they aren't actually helping him.
     
  16. Dec 15, 2013 #15
    Borg, thanks for the info. Russ, the article says they were his accomplices.
    From the same article: "Internal FBI memos show agents were aware that Mohamud was "manipulable." Sounds like the FBI did the persuasion necessary.
     
  17. Dec 15, 2013 #16

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    He thought they were his accomplices, but if they didn't actually help him then they were not.
     
  18. Dec 15, 2013 #17
    The problem with such stings, is entrapment over the individuals desire to attempt to commit a crime.

    This becomes a fine and very tricky line, and why the law enforcement must be properly trained, including handling of informants, laws and so forth.
     
  19. Dec 16, 2013 #18

    Borg

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I wouldn't draw conclusions from that. Describing him as 'manipulable' could have just been part of the psych profile that they created during the course of the investigation. They could lose the case if the court decides that he was manipulated. By knowing that he's prone to it, they can adjust their investigation to go to extra lengths so as not to be seen as manipulating him and having the case thrown out on those grounds.

    The press loves to sensationalize things. You have to be careful how you interpret news quotes.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Yay! Another Xmas bomber bites the dust.
Loading...