research

Examples of Sites:

A simple search led me to several Web sites that could provide information on how to make a bomb, or how to find information on the subject.

Anarchist Cookbook 2000 Web site (5) contains a downloadable version of the book. The software costs $30, payable by any major credit card.

The site boasts that there are over a hundred "tricks." There are ways to make a pipe hand grenade, a potassium bomb and a fire-bomb, among others.

The top of the page reads:

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"This package contains controversial material. You have the right to learn from the materials in this package, but because of the nature of it, those rights may not last much longer. Get your copy now before it is banned by the government!"

I found another site, (6) and although it doesn't have a title, it reads, "Anarchist Information, Weapons, Bombs and Terrorists."

The site has a list of books and software available for order, and a review of each publication.

It appears a personal user constructed the site because the design is simple and there are some typos. For example, the word "improvised" in the book title, "Improvised Weapons of the American Underground" was spelled incorrectly.

However, the author is unknown, and the only outside link takes the surfer to the Web service provider, not a real person. The user is taken to G.W. Fetter, a small service provider with a Web site that was last updated two years ago.

After typing "homemade bombs" into several search engines, some sites that appeared were message boards. Although their origins were difficult to locate, I found one called "newdream.net."

Some of the messages I read were responding to this request by user Frank, posted in 1999:

"I want 2 no how to make homemade bombs."

There were about 15 responses to this request. Although I didn't find anyone willing to explain the process, the messages were from people who wanted to follow up in his request. Some had fake names such as Adolf Hitler, xtc, f*ck, while others used real names and even full names. All of them included hyperlinked e-mail addresses.

One Internet site I found gave very easy, detailed instructions on how to make various homemade bombs. The site is called "Fun Explosives Online." It states that it is for reference only, but by clicking on any of the seven hyper-linked bombs, the ingredients and how to make these bombs are given. The ingredients for the bombs seem to be household items for the most part.

The top of the page reads:

"Fun Explosives Online (7) contains instructions on how to make BOMBS, EXPLOSIVES, FIREWORKS, SMOKEBOMBS, HOMEMADE FIREWORKS, HOMEMADE BOMBS, AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT GO'S BANG! You will be given recipies, and free plans to make all your homemade bombs!"

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In the page long document, there are several typos (such as "recipes" above), so it looks like an amateur Web master put it together. Also, there is no contact link.

Although there were many sites that appeared on the search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Excite, many sites could not be accessed.

A message that appears frequently is:

"Forbidden. You don't have permission to access _____ on this server."

According to staff at the Computer Sciences Engineering lab at the University of Florida, there are no monitoring devices that control access to certain sites in the school computer labs. However, the libraries on the University of Florida campus have such monitoring devices. One staff member said filtering may take place from within the service provider, such as AOL or Netscape, or through search engines.

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Juvenille Crime and the Influences of the Internet:

It seems that a person can't turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about a new juvenile crime being committed. Some people place blame on the modern family structure, education and the media.

The most recent and documented example of the Internet's ability to influence minors in criminal activity is the story of Columbine.

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting rampage that left 15 dead at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado. They planted over 30 homemade bombs throughout the school and surrounding area.

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Information on bomb-making, and the necessary ingredients, are even more accessible than guns in the United States, said John Magaw director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, in a CNN article. (8)

"There are two or three books on the market that tell you how to make all types of bombs," he said, adding that the Internet is another source for such information, he said in the article.

In another Columbine story by CNN, it was revealed that Internet played an even larger role in Eric Harris's motives. Harris targeted a former Columbine student, Brooks Brown on his personal Web site.

One passage on the Web site stated, "All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you ... as I can, especially a few people. Like Brooks Brown."

Harris also wrote of planting explosives around the town and detonating them. A pipe bomb found in a field in Jefferson County in February 1998 made up of materials that were consistent with what "Harris described as components of his explosive devices." (9)

Columbine was only the one in a string of violent acts on school campuses nationwide. The Internet has played a role in many incidents that ensued.

For example, in Pooler, Ga., police investigated rumors of a bomb plot at a middle school raided the homes of 11 students and arrested a 14-year-old boy who had several guns, Nazi posters, $4,900 in cash and bomb recipes in his room in early April 2001. (10)

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The boy pulled bomb-making recipes off the Internet only to demonstrate to his father how easily teens could find such instructions online, the father said in the article.

In another example, six Smoky Mountain High School students and one from Southwestern Community College in Sylva, N.C., have been arrested for detonating homemade bombs on a school construction site in on two consecutive weekends in December 1999. (11)

Investigators declined to comment on the materials used to make the bombs, though they did say the devices were "very unsafe." Chief Deputy Jim Ashe confirmed that access to the Internet played a factor in the suspects obtaining information needed to construct the bombs, the article said.

"There are places (on the Internet) that give you detail-by-detail instructions," said Ashe. "We know they used the Internet."

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Statistics:

The following statistics are according to a survey from the 1999: USA WEEKEND Teen Survey, taken from the National School Safety Center Website. (12) Key findings include:

Note: The survey was taken by 129,593 students in grades six through twelve from urban, suburban and rural schools, public and private. Respondents took the survey in USA WEEKEND, at the magazine's web site, in Teen People, and through Channel One. Respondents were not polled at random but rather chose to respond.

Note: The report is not designed to provide information regarding the rate at which students carry firearms to school. The data reported by the states concern disciplinary actions only. All of the information contained in the report should be interpreted with caution. Some states attached caveats and data notes to their data that should be considered when interpreting the data.

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By Sophia Goode - April 2001.