Bomb-Threat Berkeley-Style

by Steed Dropout
Nov. 4, 2013
Berkeley, Ca


My best photo tipster tipped me to a Berkeley bomb-threat.

“Cops have closed off several blocks; you might get a shot of the bomb.”

Berkeleyans like to feel different. Even our bomb-threats are berzerkeley.

I dropped everything I was doing, all of it illicit, and headed for the bomb.

Scene of Bomb-threat near campus, last week. Photo by Ted Friedman.


“To bomb:” to stage a disappointing entertainment.

The shoot wasn’t all bad, though, just because no bomb went off.

There was no bomb, just an empty suitcase outside a pipe shop across from U.C. Berkeley. But there was “Drover,” the bomb-sniffing university police dog and a bomb disabling robot (I failed to get its name).

The dog’s handler (this is his only cop-job), told me that Drover played no role in detecting the non-bomb–upstaged by a bot. Drover, an athletic Lab, was not “too bright,” his handler told me, “but he’s very good at what he does.”

Next morning I interviewed the shop-owner where the suspected bomb was planted.
“Someone called it in; I wouldn’t touch it,” he told me.

Robot, right, checked out the bomb scare. Photo by Ted Friedman.


Flash forward:

The lobby of my South Side apartment building, a mere two-blocks from the bomb-scare.

Someone has left a bomb. Much more credible than an empty suitcase. I lifted its heft.
It might have well been labeled BOMB. I unzipped a pocket. There were electronics.

if I report this, I create a movie in which my block is blocked with cop cars, my building evacuated. As someone on the scene of yesterday’s bomb threat, I also am vulnerable to being investigated for staging a news shot, at best–filing a false police report, at worst.

If the bomb is real, I’m dead.

A neighbor in my building checks out the bag. Someone has abandoned an old “playstation” in a tight-fitting compact suit-case. Now here’s what a bomb should be.

Just another Berzerkeley bombing.

Drover, left, the bomb-sniffing labrador, was upstaged by a bot. His handler said, 'he's no genus, but he does one thing very well.' Photo by Ted Friedman.

I know it’s a better story if I’m blown up and narrate the story as a corpse. Coming soon.

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