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Denver Bomb Squad Takes Out Toy Robot 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-feel-safer-already dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A robot met its end near Coors Field tonight when the Denver Police Department Bomb Squad detonated the 'suspicious object,' bringing to an end the hours-long standoff between police and the approximately eight-inch tall toy. From the article: "'Are you serious?' asked Denver resident Justin Kent, 26, when police stopped him from proceeding down 20th Street. Kent said that he lived just past the closed area, but was told he would have to go around via Park Avenue.'"

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Denver Bomb Squad Takes Out Toy Robot

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  • It's official (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @02:48PM (#34421666)
    The terrorists have won.
    • by rwven (663186)

      Yeah, I literally laughed out loud when I read this story. Someone could put a large coke from McDonalds in the middle of the road, call police about the "suspicious object" in the middle of the road, and the "authorities" would go berserk about it.

      • by uncanny (954868)
        When i was growing up there was someone called the "Speedway bomber" Speedway being the town. He placed normal looking objects, like paper bags with bombs hidden inside of them, onto the road. To this day i'm still a little suspicious of trash sitting in the middle of the road.
      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        In my local town, someone wrapped a plastic soda bottle in duct tape and left it sitting next to a light pole.

        The police closed the street and called in the bomb squad.

    • Re:It's official (Score:5, Informative)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:08PM (#34422030) Homepage

      If that's our standard, then I should point out that the Boston [wikipedia.org] PD already topped this in the overreaction department back in 2007.

    • Re:It's official (Score:5, Interesting)

      by paeanblack (191171) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:16PM (#34422160)

      The terrorists have won.

      Why should they get the credit? It's our idiocy and our tax money that brought us to this state.

      Saying "The terrorists have won", is shirking responsibility. This is our fault. We did this.

      • Re:It's official (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:19PM (#34422226)

        The terrorists have won.

        Why should they get the credit? It's our idiocy and our tax money that brought us to this state.

        Saying "The terrorists have won", is shirking responsibility. This is our fault. We did this.

        OK, "We lost. To the terrorists."

        • by c6gunner (950153)

          OK, "We lost. To the terrorists."

          No. The phrase you're looking for is:

          "We lost. To ourselves."

          Although, realistically, I think people are looking at this all wrong. Blowing things up is FUN! If you were a member of the bomb squad and had the chance to go and blow up a toy robot, are you really telling me you'd turn it down?

      • Re:It's official (Score:4, Interesting)

        by scrib (1277042) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:27PM (#34422348)

        Right, we did it because the terrorists have scared the bejeezus out of us (or at least our officials). Terrorists have us scared, ergo they won. You know, by causing terror?

        When I put on my tin foil hat, I realize that this event and others like the one in Boston are just terrorists probing us for weaknesses and testing the security of their communications. Surely, there are THOUSANDS of odd objects that are in weird places that no one ever reacts to at all. You want to make sure your lines of communication are secure? Leave a harmless toy somewhere are start talking about it as though it was a bomb. If the authorities go bonkers, you've been tapped.

      • And he is us. - pogo

      • Well, no, not so much. Its our government that has led us to this. Sure, we "elect" them every two years, but we need to face facts; this government's approach to every cut and bruise (to paraphrase the larger picture) is to use the most expensive, gold-plated band-aids available, using OUR money, and we really don't have much say in any of it. Fear that bombs will be smuggled on to a plane or two? Then EVERYONE gets patted down and X-Rayed. Political correctness (the least sane and most useless political p
    • Reading stories like this makes me want to leave random luggage all over major cities.

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        Duffel bag full of red candles and an old alarm clock in the airport is always a good one.

    • Looks like the terrorists are out one $20 robot to me. The terrorists child will cry tonight! Victory!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EmagGeek (574360)

      It's not so much that terrorists have won, but much more that police departments get paid more for envisioning ever more over-reactionary and retarded ways to respond to things.

      By convincing town boards that it is necessary to respond to a toy robot with a SWAT team, bomb squad, and a 200-strong terror response force, they can generate a ton of revenue from the town coffers that they get to spend on tacticool gear, weapons, and stuff.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        It's not so much that terrorists have won, but much more that police departments get paid more for envisioning ever more over-reactionary and retarded ways to respond to things.

        No, it's more like police departments will get excoriated if they miss just one real event out of all the possibilities, so to keep being paid they react to things in the safest way possible.

        It's because "absolute safety" is the mantra of the sheep who think they are owed absolute safety in life, and have been taught by someone th

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        It's not so much that terrorists have won, but much more that police departments get paid more for envisioning ever more over-reactionary and retarded ways to respond to things.

        By convincing town boards that it is necessary to respond to a toy robot with a SWAT team, bomb squad, and a 200-strong terror response force, they can generate a ton of revenue from the town coffers that they get to spend on tacticool gear, weapons, and stuff.

        You know, now that I think about it, I like this approach! It seems much better than some of the alternatives, like asserting their importance against sports fans happy about a world series win - and if a toy robot or two gets blown up along the way, that's better than an otherwise-happy sports fan getting killed by a pepper-ball to the face.

    • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @04:25PM (#34423194)

      Yeah, but we beat the Machines! Woot! John Conner!

  • by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @02:52PM (#34421724) Journal

    and was flipping everyone off [wikipedia.org]?

  • Oh no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @02:53PM (#34421734) Homepage Journal

    Great, they shot Zerg from Toy Story.

    If it's possibly an explosive device tied to a bridge support, why would it be a good idea for the police to detonate it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Generally, the bomb squad 'detonates' an object with a burst of extremely high pressure water. This disrupts the electronics which would make the bomb go boom, and generally smashes the bomb to bits. You essentially get pieces of a bomb that have been detonated by the bomb squad, rather than pieces of a bomb with a lot of collateral damage which would occur if the bomb itself detonated.
    • From the bomb squads point of view detonating it is a win - win. If it is a fake bomb then is was a "safe" live action drill, if it was a real bomb it justifies every mid size city in the country having a bomb squad.

  • by dorkinson (1615103)
    I can just see the police standing behind their open car doors with guns drawn while the negotiator takes out the bullhorn and says "What are your demands? Do you come in peace?"
  • Bang for your buck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mykos (1627575) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @02:56PM (#34421776)
    Spending on anti-terrorism morbidly outstrips spending on terrorism. They fly a couple of planes into a buildings and the third largest country in the world spend over a trillion dollars on war and counter terrorism. As an added bonus, they get to laugh at our ridiculous countermeasures like fondling (or viewing nude) every man, woman, and child who commits suspicious activities like "boarding a plane".
    • by syousef (465911)

      Spending on anti-terrorism morbidly outstrips spending on terrorism. They fly a couple of planes into a buildings and the third largest country in the world spend over a trillion dollars on war and counter terrorism. As an added bonus, they get to laugh at our ridiculous countermeasures like fondling (or viewing nude) every man, woman, and child who commits suspicious activities like "boarding a plane".

      If you spent 1 Trillion on health care, I wonder how many lives you'd save. Probably none. The health care professionals would just get newer sports cars. Cynical? Me? Never!

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        Or just not tax that 1 trillion and let people buy what they want to with it. I can buy a gun if I'm afraid of terrerists or health insurance if I'm afraid of terrerbugs.

        • by syousef (465911)

          Or just not tax that 1 trillion and let people buy what they want to with it. I can buy a gun if I'm afraid of terrerists or health insurance if I'm afraid of terrerbugs.

          ...Except that no one will insure you if you actually have or are likely to develop a medical issue.

          • by Obfuscant (592200)
            If you actually have a medical problem, it's not "insurance". It's welfare. You've paid nothing into the system and have everyone else paying for your treatments.

            "Likely to develop" is another story.

          • by ArsonSmith (13997)

            I was in a car accident and broke two vertebra in 1997 had two surgeries paid by the other guys auto insurance. I was in college and hadn't purchased insurance for my self yet. Soon after I came down with a bone infection around the hardware that was put in. In 2000 I had little to no problem with my new insurance covering the pre-existing condition to the tune of $100k in costs for another surgery to remove the hardware and high dollar long term IV antibiotics to knock out the infection.

    • by MarcQuadra (129430) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @04:24PM (#34423146)

      That's the point of 'asymmetric warfare'. We lose if we overreact, and overreacting is our nature. We got played. Hard.

      But really, can you see this speech getting you elected to office:

      "Sure, a lot of good folks died on 9/11, but we have to be strong. 9/11 is bait, we have to be sure not to walk into the trap, because we have so much more to lose than they can ever hope of gaining. Some are calling for war. War will cost trillions of dollars and thousands more American lives. I've authorized a small team of operatives to act on capturing the perpetrators dead or alive, and I've activated a special diplomatic corps to curry favor with host countries for allowing our teams to work on their soil. First we're going to ask politely, then we'll bribe them, and if that doesn't work, we'll threaten embargo and international action, and finally, we'll use our superior skill and technology to just go ahead and get the job done as cleanly as possible without permission. Hopefully it doesn't come to that."

  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @02:56PM (#34421782) Journal

    "It was cemented in. That's odd," [Denver Police Spokesman Matt] Murray said.

    That is odd. It probably should justify the involvement of the police.

    However,

    Murray said that a citizen called police at 3:27 p.m. to report the presence of the plastic white toy robot cemented to the base of a pillar supporting a footbridge near the intersection of 20th and Wazee streets.

    How did the citizen know it was cemented in? Did he manipulate it enough to know it couldn't be removed? And if he did, how did that affect the likelihood that the object was a danger to anyone? And would the police have cared if someone hadn't been freaked-out by it?

  • Well, at least it wasn't a Barbie doll. THAT would have been embarrassing!
  • The problem with trivializing the bomb squad's action is the next suspicious object may not be a innocent little toy.

    This was probably a prank, but it could also be a test to see what security measures are in place (probing).

    • by Amouth (879122) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:18PM (#34422214)

      exactly how many "bombs" have been stopped this way? and exactly how many items get "left" places every day.

      sorry but this security theater is getting way over done.. i understand playing devils advocate - but as far as i'm concerned the populous has turned to sheep..

      the the bombs blow.. let them crash planes.. i'm still far more likely to die every day because the guy next to me is driving a 2 ton truck and to busy texting to notice he isn't in his lane any more.

      people live - people die.. get over it.. if you just go about your life and let them just keep trying.. eventually it won't be worth it to them, and even if they don't stop - it doesn't matter..

      there is no amount of things you can do that will stop people from doing what they set them selves out to do.

      • exactly how many "bombs" have been stopped this way? and exactly how many items get "left" places every day.

        How many toy robots have been cemented to a pillar supporting a foot bridge?

        • How many toy robots have been cemented to a pillar supporting a foot bridge?

          This week or next week?

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Except that there are only an estimated few thousand members of Al Qaeda (and other terrorist organizations have similar numbers), so there's on the order of a million times better chance that it was put there by somebody's kid than by a terrorist.

      • by hey! (33014)

        Well, remember Ted Kaczynski? It only takes one man. As for somebody's kid leaving it there, really? Cemented to the top of an underpass pier?

        The one thing that is nearly certain is that whoever left the thing there *knew* it would cause chaos and disruption. If it were somebody with Kaczynski's brains, he might well be dong what the GP suggests: testing the police response; possibly even *training* that response to ignore something a bit more powerful than would fit in an 8" robot. If I were an screwe

    • In which case all they have to do is conduct a few thousand 'tests' and bankrupt the country. Seriously, think about how much was spent neutralizing this 'threat'. $1k? $10k? $100k? (don't laugh, if I had to guess I'd put it somewhere between $10 and $100k).

    • The problem with trivializing the bomb squad's action is the next suspicious object may not be a innocent little toy.

      This was probably a prank, but it could also be a test to see what security measures are in place (probing).

      Sure, it could have been a bomb...

      And that car parked on the side of the street could be a bomb. And that McDonald's bag could be a bomb. And that half-eaten apple could be a bomb. And that guy on a big with a backpack could be carrying a bomb. Just about anything could be a bomb.

      Are you suggesting that we call the bomb squad for anything and everything that looks even vaguely suspicious?

      • Are you suggesting that we call the bomb squad for anything and everything that looks even vaguely suspicious?

        I think the fact that the plastic toy was cemented to the base of a pillar supporting a footbridge was what made it suspicious.

        FTA: "It was cemented in. That's odd," Murray said. Murray said that suspicious objects do not automatically warrant a call to the bomb squad if patrol officers are able to determine that there is no threat. He said that the robot was strange enough to warrant precautionary

        • Are you suggesting that we call the bomb squad for anything and everything that looks even vaguely suspicious?

          I think the fact that the plastic toy was cemented to the base of a pillar supporting a footbridge was what made it suspicious.

          FTA: "It was cemented in. That's odd," Murray said. Murray said that suspicious objects do not automatically warrant a call to the bomb squad if patrol officers are able to determine that there is no threat. He said that the robot was strange enough to warrant precautionary measures. In the end, it proved harmless.

          Yes, I read that.

          And my question still stands.

          Are you suggesting that we call the bomb squad for anything and everything that looks even vaguely suspicious?

          Some kid gets bored and superglues his sister's lunchbox to a wall, are we going to call the bomb squad?

          Some artist gets creative and sticks some kind of magnetic LCD to something, are we going to call the bomb squad?

          Some guy forgets his luggage on the side of the road as he rushes to make a flight on time, are we going to call the bomb squad?

          There's all

          • And my question still stands.

            Of course it does. You introduced hyperbole into the discussion and assume everybody is sheep and no preliminary checks are done prior to sending out a bomb squad. Based on your assumptions you decided that the best course of action is inaction.

            Are you suggesting that we call the bomb squad for anything and everything that looks even vaguely suspicious?

            I made no such suggestion. I stated that if we start trivializing judgment calls made by police in the field, we risk letting a

            • by Obfuscant (592200)

              Some guy forgets his luggage on the side of the road as he rushes to make a flight on time, are we going to call the bomb squad?

              Happens all the time and there's a TSA agent nearby to make that judgment call.

              Sheesh, I wish TSA agents were on the roadsides collecting lost luggage instead of making porn pictures and feeling up grannies and children. Much more productive, and we wouldn't have to risk escape from all the felons on county work crews when they go out to pick up the trash.

              But really, how many peo

    • by sjames (1099)

      The thing is, there's just so much stuff in a city that could potentially be a bomb the cops couldn't possibly respond to all of it. Every McDonalds bag, soda can, lost shopping bag, etc etc. Do we really want the police to spend millions of dollars converting litter to confetti?

      • From the article:

        Denver Police Spokesman Matt Murray said that a citizen called police at 3:27 p.m. to report the presence of the plastic white toy robot cemented to the base of a pillar supporting a footbridge near the intersection of 20th and Wazee streets...

        Murray said that the bomb squad couldn't be sure if the robot was safe or not, and so remotely detonated it at about 5:30 p.m. to "render it safe." The robot exploded into several chunks.

        "It was cemented in. That's odd," Murray said.

        Murray said

    • by plover (150551) *

      The problem with trivializing the bomb squad's action is the next suspicious object may not be a innocent little toy.

      No, the next innocent object will also be innocent. The next object found stuck to a bridge will not be a bomb. Nor will the next, nor the next after that, nor the next after that.

      The only realistic way this could have been a bomb is if we already had a rash of bombs. But until there's a proven problem in this country with bombs stuck to bridges, train platforms, buses, sidewalks, signs, streetlights, wastebaskets, and slow-moving cats, no, it's not a bomb, and I can say that with fifteen digits of confi

  • by headhot (137860)

    Are you sure this didn't come from The Onion?

    The police must have been trained by the guys in Boston who wanted to blow up the Lite Brites.

  • < Insert Dalek joke here >

  • Doesnt the bomb squad have on of those briefcase sized substance analysers like they do at airports to detect explosives? (http://www.morphodetection.com/) .. Or a hand held xray scope? (http://www.njlawman.com/Technology/Handheld-Xray.htm) .. Just a bit safer than blowing up whatever it is. What if it contained a bioweapon or a malicious wifi device that may be evidence?

  • rom the article: "'Are you serious?' asked Denver resident Justin Kent, 26, when police stopped him from proceeding down 20th Street. Kent said that he lived just past the closed area, but was told he would have to go around via Park Avenue.'"

    Nooooo, not around Park Avenue!!!!! But he lived just past the closed area!!!!

    • by pspahn (1175617)

      Ha, that's what I thought. It's an extra two minutes, lazy douche.

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        Ha, that's what I thought. It's an extra two minutes, lazy douche.

        Is it? Admittedly I don't know Denver at all. I was curious, so I looked it up on Google Maps. How do you even get from one side of that roadblock to the other, on foot, using Park? The bike trail, I guess?

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:17PM (#34422210) Homepage
    When they claim that the robot was a hoax bomb attempt, instead of admitting that the cops were too stupid to tell the difference between a toy and a bomb.
    • When they claim that the robot was a hoax bomb attempt, instead of admitting that the cops were too stupid to tell the difference between a toy and a bomb.

      OK, wise guy, tell me the difference between the toy and the bomb.

      The toy, remember, is cemented to the base of a pillar supporting a much-used public footbridge.

      The geek will press the big red button.

      Because he is too smart to be afraid of such an obvious trap.

       

  • by jacks0n (112153) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:20PM (#34422250)

    It's the only way to be sure.

  • by meerling (1487879) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:23PM (#34422282)
    I'm surprised the Denver cops think a fairly normal looking toy is strange looking and suspicious. This kind of stupidity seems to usually be Boston cops.
    I'm betting it was just some guerrilla art, look for more small toys to be cemented around town.
    At 8" it wouldn't have had enough explosives from that positioning to do any real damage to that bridge support even if it was solid tritonal.

    Can anyone out there identify that toy from the photo? I'm betting it's hollow plastic and at least partially articulated.

    On a side note, I wonder if they're going to start profiling teddy bears next...
  • Did the robot like the cliche dinner and a movie?
    Did the robot order the most expensive thing on the menu and follow it with dessert?
    What type of movie did the robot want to see?
    Did robot invite the Bomb Squad in when it was dropped off?

    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      Did the robot like the cliche dinner and a movie?
      Did the robot order the most expensive thing on the menu and follow it with dessert?
      What type of movie did the robot want to see?
      Did robot invite the Bomb Squad in when it was dropped off?

      No, but the robot did collect extensive tactile sensor readings of the Bomb Squad with its primary manipulator units prior to decoupling from the Bomb Squad's facial interface. The robot also made sure the Bomb Squad had its IP address, and told the Bomb Squad they could ping it any time they like... The Bomb Squad has a good feeling about this.

  • by whyde (123448) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:56PM (#34422724)

    I'm waiting for the day when some nutjob fashions a piece of doggie-poo looking substance out of brown-painted C4 with an embedded motion-sensitive detonator.

    There, I've said it. Let everyone be scared of any stray pile of poop laying on a city sidewalk. Perhaps then, when we try to ban dogs completely, people may wake up and see that it's just not worth going through life terrified of everything.

    Ugh.

  • If you doubt the logic of this move, you have to consider the hidden combat potential of small toy robots. For instance, this was demonstrated quite clearly in A Fist-Full of Yen.

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