Hash House Terrorists???

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OK, you've all heard that some Hash House Harriers were arrested for laying down flour trails in New Haven:
Just before 5 p.m., the police received a call that someone was sprinkling powder on the ground. The store was evacuated and remained closed the rest of the day.

The incident prompted a massive response from the New Haven police and authorities from surrounding towns.

Dr. Salchow was at home waiting for the others who took part in the four-mile run to arrive for an after-party when his wife called to say there was a problem. He biked to Ikea and tried to explain to the police that the powder was just flour.

The club's tactics have caused problems elsewhere.

In 2002, a trail of flour caused a mall in Fayetteville, N.C., to be evacuated for two hours. A few months earlier, two runners in Oxford, Miss., were arrested after using piles of white powder to mark a route through a downtown square.

Dr. Salchow said that after the 9/11 attacks, club members started using chalk to mark courses. But as fears eased, they went back to flour because it is biodegradable. He said they would start using chalk again or find somewhere else to run.

Jessica Mayorga, a spokeswoman for Mayor John DeStefano Jr., said the city planned to seek restitution from the Salchows, and will meet Monday to decide how much.

Ms. Mayorga said they should not have used the flour if they knew it had caused scares in the past.

"You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know," she said.

It's true, you never do know. In fact, I understand that arrows and chalk is the preferred method of bioweapon dispersal.

Seriously, say I had a weaponized bioagent in some sort of power. I can think of probably twenty different methods to use for distributing it that would be better than this (explosives, ventilation systems, just blowing it into the air with a leafblower, spreading it on food at the grocery store, water supply, etc.) Leaving it in a pile on the stret with an arrow pointing to it strikes me as one of the worst possible ways. Given the actual number of terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11, it's probably time to stop going to full panic mode whenever something the least bit out of the ordinary happens.


Yeah, this is right up there with the light boxes, and the guy who couldn't board a plane until he changed his t-shirt (with Arabic writing), and the guy who was detained for questioning because passengers reported him for speaking a foreign language on a cell phone in the waiting area.

Of those, the authorities have the most justification for the light-box scare, and the rest are just effed in the head. We have to strike a balance between being duly vigilant... and being scared of our collective shadow.

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