Friday, January 13, 2006

When an IED isn't an IED

Remember earlier this week when a bomb was found in the bathroom of a Starbucks outlet in San Francisco? As reported in the San Jose Mercury News:

Police received a call reporting a suspicious package at the coffee house, located at 1401 Van Ness Ave., at 1:15 p.m. The police explosives ordinance unit diffused an improvised explosive device, or IED, around 2 p.m., Sgt. Neville Gittens said.

And here's what a police spokesperson had to say at the time:

"If it had detonated, it would have caused damage," Gittens said. "It was what we consider an IED," an improvised explosive device. "We're following some leads. We have some pretty good leads."

Well, now we've come to learn that the alleged "IED" that was encased in a flashlight was, in fact...just a flashlight. Apparently, a homeless man had found it and then inadvertently had left it on the bathroom floor of the Starbucks.

Just when we thought that, perhaps, the incendiary military lingo and lethal weaponry of Iraq (had anyone heard of an IED before the Iraq war?) was about to find its way into our everyday domestic mindset, we learn that sometimes a flashlight is just a flashlight.

But we have to look out for those homeless people, you know. This guy could have had a bomb - excuse me, an IED - strapped to his belly with the intent of blowing that coffee shop to smithereens. It could have been a latte disaster of the highest order.

Thankfully, as far as we know, flashlights are still just flashlights and homeless people are still just homeless people. And all is right with our world.

Anyone for a cup of joe?


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