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Plane causes security scare at White House

ABC News
The U.S. Capitol and White House were evacuated Wednesday after a small plane entered restricted airspace over the capital. Within minutes people were allowed back into the buildings...

A small plane breached the security zone over Washington, several law enforcement officials said, prompting alerts across the city.

The plane was approached by a fighter aircraft and veered away, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official speaking on condition of anonymity. The official said the plane was a Cessna.

Flip on CNN. There's a press conference going on about it right now.

Okay, there are just a few

Okay, there are just a few things I don't understand about this.

1. How does a fighter jet maintain lift alongside (I'm assuming that's what "escort" means) a Cessna, which has a max speed of like 90 knots?

2. How much damage could a Cessna going full speed into any sort of building really do?

3. The Cessna was in restricted air space, 3 miles away from the White House. They evacuated for that? Why not just go downstairs or something?

I don't see why this is such a big deal. BREAKING NEWS!!! was all over the TV while this was going on. It doesn't seem like it is worth more than a minute's mention on the 10:00 news. Then again, I'm not a big fan of TV news anyhow.

for chemical or biological

for chemical or biological terrorism or weaponry to have any serious effect (enough to be termed a weapon of mass destruction) they need to depolyed in a heavily populated and enclosed area, such as a subway system or roofed arena - or they need to be deployed on people too uneducated to figure out that they shouldn't bathe in it nor use it to flavor their dinner.

in an open area, such as any major city, as long as people don't lick the floor, most everyone should be fine. those who come in close contact to intial dispersion point may become a casuality of chemical weaponry, but most biological weaponry can be treated.

the real threat is nuclear weaponry, but of course we have most of those.

Couldn't it have carried

Couldn't it have carried chemical / biological weapons, or even a bomb? (It couldn't drop a bomb, but it could have kamikazed into the White House with one.)

Tyler, a link or two might

Tyler, a link or two might be helpful in backing up your claim.


or they need to be deployed on people too uneducated to figure out that they shouldn't bathe in it nor use it to flavor their dinner

Their relative levels of education are irrelevant if they never even knew they were infected:

Sulfur mustard sometimes smells like garlic, onions, or mustard and sometimes has no odor. It can be a vapor (the gaseous form of a liquid), an oily-textured liquid, or a solid.
People may not know right away that they have been exposed, because sulfur mustard often has no smell or has a smell that might not cause alarm.

Sarin is a clear, colorless, and tasteless liquid that has no odor in its pure form. However, sarin can evaporate into a vapor (gas) and spread into the environment.
People may not know that they were exposed because sarin has no odor.

VX is odorless and tasteless. Following release of VX into the air, people can be exposed through skin contact, eye contact, or inhalation (breathing in the VX mist).
Though VX does not mix with water as easily as other nerve agents do, it could be released into water. Following release of VX into water, people can be exposed by drinking contaminated water or getting contaminated water on their skin.

And if they realize they were exposed, then they need to do something about it:

For VX gas:

If people think they may have been exposed, they should remove their clothing, rapidly wash their entire body with soap and water, and get medical care as quickly as possible.
Removing and disposing of clothing:
Quickly take off clothing that has liquid VX on it. Any clothing that has to be pulled over the head should be cut off the body instead of pulled over the head. If possible, seal the clothing in a plastic bag. Then seal the first plastic bag in a second plastic bag. Removing and sealing the clothing in this way will help protect people from any chemicals that might be on their clothes.
If clothes were placed in plastic bags, inform either the local or state health department or emergency personnel upon their arrival. Do not handle the plastic bags.
If helping other people remove their clothing, try to avoid touching any contaminated areas, and remove the clothing as quickly as possible.

For Mustard Gas

Quickly remove any clothing that has liquid sulfur mustard on it. If possible, seal the clothing in a plastic bag, and then seal that bag inside a second plastic bag.
Immediately wash any exposed part of the body (eyes, skin, etc.) thoroughly with plain, clean water. Eyes need to be flushed with water for 5 to 10 minutes. Do NOT cover eyes with bandages, but do protect them with dark glasses or goggles.

For Sarin Gas

As quickly as possible, wash any liquid sarin from the skin with large amounts of soap and water. Washing with soap and water will help protect people from any chemicals on their bodies.
Rinse the eyes with plain water for 10 to 15 minutes if they are burning or if vision is blurred.

What exactly is your definition of 'educated'? I doubt that anyone reading this knew that for mustard gas you shouldn't use soap but for vx you should use soap. Or that you shouldn't bandage your eyes but you should wear dark glasses when you're exposed to mustard gas. And granted- these agents aren't always fatal all the time. But still- I have no idea what to do in the case of a chemical of biological attack. I only found this stuff tonight because I looked it up. And since some of the symptoms of each are confusion and blurred vision- I doubt that I would be able to figure it out directly after an attack. So while evacuating two buildings isn't going to do much to save anyone from a biological or chemical attack- it is still a threat. VX gas in particular is a long term threat once released:

VX is the least volatile of the nerve agents, which means that it is the slowest to evaporate from a liquid into a vapor. Therefore, VX is very persistent in the environment. Under average weather conditions, VX can last for days on objects that it has come in contact with. Under very cold conditions, VX can last for months.
Because it evaporates so slowly, VX can be a long-term threat as well as a short-term threat. Surfaces contaminated with VX should therefore be considered a long-term hazard.

Biological weapons are a very real danger and you are foolish for dismissing them so lightly.

Forced not Escorted

A Black Hawk helicopter and two F-16 fighter jets forced the Cessna 150 aircraft to land at a small airport in Frederick, Maryland at 12:37 p.m., officials said.

I assume that the blackhawk was close in and the fighters were just circling, ready to shoot it down or whatever they do. But then again- I'm not in the military and I don't know their procedures.

chemical and biological

chemical and biological weapons as WMDs only exist in the imaginations of governmental bodies. designed to strike fear into their own citizens and win votes.

Here's a side thought: If we

Here's a side thought: If we think it's bad with crazy people having access to guns, just wait until they can easily get ahold of more distructive weapons. As technology advances it seems like it will become increasingly easier for nut-jobs to get things like chemical weapons that can kill lots of people.

I just wonder how society will deal with this.

I mean ... Columbine would be nothing compared to what would happen if angry kids could get their hands on weapons-grade explosives, chemical warfare agents, etc.

And no, this sort of problem isn't right around the corner, but it seems like eventually it will become a problem as technology continues to advance.


Tell me more.

You can't be serious

Sarin gas was released into a Tokyo subway line on March 20, 1995. On March 16th, 1988 Saddam Hussien dropped a combination of mustard, sarin, tabun and VX gases on the Kurdish town of Halajba in Iraq. While these may be the only known usage of chemical agents in the modern era, you'd have to be dropping acid to think that the stuff doesn't exist anymore.

if the kids at columbine had

if the kids at columbine had wired their bombs right, things would have been much much worse


"you'd have to be dropping acid to think that the stuff doesn't exist anymore."

And isn't 'dropping acid' itself a WMD, dJake? Yes, by Krom it is.