(Note: The explosions get bigger the longer you stick with the video.)
For the better part of this week, FBI bomb experts have been teaching area cops the Xs and Os of improvised explosives, like the ones made by shoe-bomber Richard Reid or the one that killed college student Matthew Rugo in his Texas City apartment three years ago. But on Thursday afternoon, it was show time.
Raw chickens and tires were blowing up all over the place at the Harris County Sheriff's Office training facility in Humble as the class of 30 or so bomb technicians from around the state finally got to see the power of some of the concoctions they'd been learning about.
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There were of course the usual suspects, Semtex and TNT, plus a range of homemade combustibles using different combos of pool chlorine, brake fluid, weed-killer, sugar, racing fuel and petroleum jelly, to name just a few of the ingredients. Some of the bangs were little, some of them made the ears pop and the chest thump.
This was the fourth such training this year in the United States. The FBI's goal is to train local bomb experts to be able to identify and handle the ever-changing recipes of today's improvised bomb-makers. Officers from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and from the police
departments in Houston, Corpus Christi, Austin, San Antonio and Laredo were among those in attendance.
FBI consultant and the class' teacher Donald Sachtleben says one of the greatest enemies bomb technicians face is YouTube and Google. For starters, lots of bomb recipes are available online, meaning anyone can try to make a bomb. Also, though, many of the recipes online are wrong, he says, meaning that the amateur risks harming himself as much as
Any way you look at it, building or detonating a bomb sounds like a losing proposition. But out here on the training range, at least we got to see a few cool "bangs."