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Geocaching game may have sparked bomb scare


larryc43230
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What are you calling "bull" on? I read the news story and exerpted the information from that into the list. I do not feel a need to report that the cache was placed with permission because that information is one click away and it does not change the fact that the bomb squad responded to the incident. ...

Whether the cache was placed with permission is at the center of the issue.

 

Think of these two scenarios:

  1. A box is placed in front of a business, under a bench. The business owner doesn't have a clue what it is. A muggle spots it and calls the police who send the bomb squad. Perhaps the placer has some liability.
  2. A box is placed in front of a business, under a bench. The business owner approved it's placement. A muggle spots it and calls the police who send the bomb squad. The placer has no liability.

The procedure of just dumping all these caches on a list and expecting a reader to do all the research is detrimental to the game.

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The other pathetic fact is that when the maker of the list can't defend the list, he resorts to pointing out a spelling error. THAT's useful.... :o

 

Can we focus on the merits (or lack) of the list, rather than making snide remarks about the list keeper?

 

What are you calling "bull" on? I read the news story and exerpted the information from that into the list. I do not feel a need to report that the cache was placed with permission because that information is one click away and it does not change the fact that the bomb squad responded to the incident. ...

Whether the cache was placed with permission is at the center of the issue.

 

Think of these two scenarios:

  1. A box is placed in front of a business, under a bench. The business owner doesn't have a clue what it is. A muggle spots it and calls the police who send the bomb squad. Perhaps the placer has some liability.
  2. A box is placed in front of a business, under a bench. The business owner approved it's placement. A muggle spots it and calls the police who send the bomb squad. The placer has no liability.

The procedure of just dumping all these caches on a list and expecting a reader to do all the research is detrimental to the game.

 

I think sbell just did a good job of focusing on the lack of merit the list has.

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The article linked by the OP quoted the dispatcher as saying the container was wrapped in duct tape. Why do people wrap caches in duct tape? It does nothing for the container, and only makes non-cachers suspicious and think it's a bomb. ...

cat1470.gif

 

exactly.

Yeah, I know. That's camo tape. Not duct tape. The article in the first post said the container was covered in duct tape.
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That list can be used as a tool to identify geocaching as a problem.

Any single incident can be used to identify geocachine as a problem. And any reporter who is more interested in a gripping headline than a balanced portrayal of facts (e.g. most any reporter working today) can grab and run with such an incident. As a geocacher, I'd rather not be blindsided by someone who automatically accepts what they read in the paper as gospel truth. This list, by providing numerous such events, arms me with information that I can use to counter such foolishness.

 

Any media person worth their salt has access to all kinds of national news databases, and can easily search them for the words geocaching, bomb, and police. This list doesn't give them anything they don't already have. But it does give a similar resource to us, who do not have such databases at our disposal.

 

The owner of the list has the responsibility to the game to make sure that it accurately portrays the issues at hand.

Only if he's trying to make a list that satisfies your arbitrary requirements and agenda. He's not, of course. The list clearly states that it is "an attempt to document geocaches that have clashed with law enforcement in one way or another". It doesn't claim to be an in-depth examination of of the events and ultimate resolution.

 

You are, naturally, welcome to create your own list which satisfies your agenda and preferences.

 

The list is valuable in that it underscores a potentially serious problem facing this hobby.

I disagree that the list identifies any problem in the game. How can a piece of tupperware in the bush that is removed by the authorities for no other reason than a muggle overreacted be a problem for anyone but the cache owner?

 

Read it again. Not a problem IN the game. A problem FACING the game. There's a big difference. We all know the game is fine, but that won't deter a zealous reporter looking for some attention grabbing fluff headline from doing damage to the game in the media.

 

Statistics of what? Instances that a muggle overreacted?

Overreacted by whose definition? Yours, perhaps. But the average guy doesn't know about geocaching, and doesn't know that the hidden container or the strangers hanging around it are harmless. So he errs on the side of caution, and reports it. Frankly, I don't think that's unreasonable of him, given the current environment.

 

A list that could be used against the hobby.

That information has a potential to be misused is a poor justification for attacking the information.

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Any single incident can be used to identify geocachine as a problem. ...

Rather than post a hugely long response to your post, let me just say that I am more concerned with politicians and bureaucrats with an agenda than I am of reporters. Are you unfamiliar with South Carolina's recent drama?

 

Don't think for a second that your list couldn't be used to damage the game more than any individual pieces of tupperware ever could. By creating it and not being responsible for it, the list owner lets people use it for whatever they can. As near as I can tell, it's just an ego thing, anyway.

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Here's my dirty little secret:

 

I don't really care if the bomb squad is called out on a cache.

 

The fact is, this allows them to get valuable practice while ensuring me that they would possibly be called out for a real live bomb.

 

This is not a problem for the hobby, in my opinion, and won't be as long as 'bomb' stays on the 'unacceptable trade items' list. :o

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I am sure more have been arrested for looking than hiding... interesting question, though, as I believe if a cacher is arrested for looking it should in fact be the owner's liability for placing it there.

No, you need to be responsible for your own actions.

 

Agreed - to a point! Since Guidelines call for adequate permission and the cache passes Reviewer muster it is reasonable and practical to assume the cache in fact has the requisite adequate permission.

 

If I pass a No Trespassing sign to get to the cache I am responsible unless the description states something like "This is my private posted property but geocachers have permission to come aboard"

 

If, on the other hand, I see no reason at all to believe the cache is 'illegally' placed and/or that I might get in trouble for hunting it, I will assume it is okay to hunt.

 

Under the law that is a reasonable and customary expectation, and our entire game is based on that simplistic trust. I assume that every cache I hunt is in a place where I am welcome to come and hunt it.

 

The Arkansas cacher arrested for Criminal Trespass that I linked to earlier had no idea, nor any reason to have one, that the cache was placed without permission or that he would be apprehended for hunting it.

 

This case is an example of when I believe a cache hider should be held responsible for a cache seeker's misfortune.

 

Ed

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I suspect that if the cache had been a tupperware container instead of a duct taped cylinder, the bomb squad would never havae gotten involved.

 

Some cachers around here use short sections of PVC pipe, capped at both ends. I have always thought that these appear somewhat "bomb-like" and shouldn't be used.

 

I'm not a big fan of "pipe-bomb" caches either, but that's more because their seals inevitably break and the insides get damp. I have found about a dozen pipe caches, and NOT ONE of them was dry on the inside.

 

It all depends on the location. If it's in the middle of the woods after a 2 mile hike, a pipe cache is entirely appropriate. If it's under a bridge in the middle of the city, obviously that's a no-go.

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...It all depends on the location. If it's in the middle of the woods after a 2 mile hike, a pipe cache is entirely appropriate. If it's under a bridge in the middle of the city, obviously that's a no-go.

They should never be duct-taped to the bottom of the District Attorney's Tahoe, either.

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It all depends on the location. If it's in the middle of the woods after a 2 mile hike, a pipe cache is entirely appropriate. If it's under a bridge in the middle of the city, obviously that's a no-go.

 

I disagree. These days, even in the woods after a 2 mile hike someone could happen upon it and think "BOMB" not "gee, I wonder what this is...". There are plenty of other types of containers that are much less likely to elicit a negative response.

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What are you calling "bull" on? I read the news story and exerpted the information from that into the list. I do not feel a need to report that the cache was placed with permission because that information is one click away and it does not change the fact that the bomb squad responded to the incident. ...

Whether the cache was placed with permission is at the center of the issue.

 

Think of these two scenarios:

  1. A box is placed in front of a business, under a bench. The business owner doesn't have a clue what it is. A muggle spots it and calls the police who send the bomb squad. Perhaps the placer has some liability.
  2. A box is placed in front of a business, under a bench. The business owner approved it's placement. A muggle spots it and calls the police who send the bomb squad. The placer has no liability.

The procedure of just dumping all these caches on a list and expecting a reader to do all the research is detrimental to the game.

 

The list doesn't address any issue. It's just a list. The cache page speaks for itself with regard to the permission issue.

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Rather than post a hugely long response to your post

Does that also qualify as a Dennis the Menace defense? Or is it simply avoidance?

 

I am more concerned with politicians and bureaucrats with an agenda than I am of reporters. Are you unfamiliar with South Carolina's recent drama?

I am indeed familiar with it. While the actor is different, the action is much the same - pick on some fringe element to generate interest. A reporter does it to create headlines. A politician does it to give the impression of being proactive while not doing anything to annoy their constituents.

 

The politician, by the way, has access to the same news databases that the reporter does. And a pile of lackeys interns to do the research for them. They don't need the list. Your average geocacher reading this message base doesn't have access to those news databases. But we do have access to the list.

 

Don't think for a second that your list couldn't be used to damage the game more than any individual pieces of tupperware ever could.

It's not my list.

 

The only thing that will damage the game, with regards to this discussion, is some person with an agenda to fulfill, be it a news reporter, bureaucrat or politician. Such a zealot, pretty much by definition, is willing to invest the time and effort to find and spin information to suit their purposes. If the list were to disappear this instant, it would make little difference to the person intent on their agenda. They would still do what they do. The only difference would be that we poor, fringe geocachers would have one less resource to use as a starting point in working up rebuttals and counter arguments against the zealot.

 

As near as I can tell, it's just an ego thing, anyway.

And our hammering on the subject in the message bases isn't an ego thing? :o

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Has anyone ever been arrested/convicted for planting a geocache? :laughing:

 

Yes, in Idaho a Sheriff worked long and hard with the prosecuting attorney to levy a charge of "leaving debris on state property" against a geocacher who placed a cache on a bridge. The charge wouldn't have stuck, but it does take time and money to fight BS charges.

 

Ironicly in that case the review process would have had the cache denied and the owner would have removed it. However a bridge crew found the cache before that could happen. Bridge crews inspect bridges once a year. It's a miracle it was found.

 

Back on Topic.

The cache didn't cause a bomb scare. The people who phoned it in did. If that cache had not been there there still would have been a response.

 

Someone posted two scenarios.

Consider

1) You sit on a bench in front of a business and leave behind your backpack (because you forgot...). It's called in and blown up creating much news, publicity, and mayhem. Ultimatly they find out it was just a backpack. No harm intended, no charges.

2) You sit on a bench in front of a busines and ask the business owner if you can leave your backpack under the bench, it's called in and a similar responce happens... It's not much different.

 

You can now add a Soda can of "unidentifiable liquid" to the list of stupid things that will get called in.

 

The key is the intent to cause harm. If you call in a bomb threat you are guilty even though there is no bomb. That's because your intent was to cause disruption and mayhem.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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It all depends on the location. If it's in the middle of the woods after a 2 mile hike, a pipe cache is entirely appropriate. If it's under a bridge in the middle of the city, obviously that's a no-go.

 

I disagree. These days, even in the woods after a 2 mile hike someone could happen upon it and think "BOMB" not "gee, I wonder what this is...". There are plenty of other types of containers that are much less likely to elicit a negative response.

 

Oddly enough two caches that I know of (one being mine) have been reported not as bombs but as drug stashs. The responce? Officers who's expertise is drugs investigating and not the bomb squad. My cache was only a 1/4 mile hike near a pond but a fair distance from civilization.

 

Someone makes a decision on how to respond. That decision is beyond the cache owners control. It's based on the information provided by the person calling in the cache plus any other information that the responding entity may have.

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I suspect that if the cache had been a tupperware container instead of a duct taped cylinder, the bomb squad would never havae gotten involved.

 

Some cachers around here use short sections of PVC pipe, capped at both ends. I have always thought that these appear somewhat "bomb-like" and shouldn't be used.

 

Bomb makers use the materials they have access to, to make bombs.

Cachers use the materials they have access to, to make caches.

 

From the point of view of a bomb squad, the end result is the containers are similar and all have to be taken seriously.

 

About as good as it gets is to keep in mind the stereo type the city council, county commissoners etc. have of what a bomb looks like and don't make cache containers that look like that. As a rule I've found the pipe caches leaky. If you tighten them enough to keep out the water your finders can't get them open.

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Is it OK for me to quote myself from the Midwest forum? :laughing:

 

OK, let’s think about this for a minute before jumping to conclusions. The cache was placed by the Middletown Convention and Visitor’s Bureau with authorization (permission) from the historical society. The cache was clearly labeled. What more could you ask these guys to do? In my estimation, this cache was placed in accordance with the gc guidelines! A nicer label would have been nice, but it was clearly labeled. This is a classic example of over-reaction by local police at face value (at least that is what I gather from reading the article).

 

What about the two recent scares in Indiana? Both of those were cemetery caches and one of the containers was a waterproof match safe? Why would anyone want to blow up a cemetery? Since when are bombs placed in match safes? This was silly! Fortunately the police were more reasonable there and even had staff that were involved in geocaching.

 

Look at what is going on outside of geocaching: “Authorities found nothing hazardous on board a flight from Atlanta to New York that was diverted to Charlotte after a flight attendant found a bottle of water and then smelled something suspicious, airport officials said.” People are paranoid! Pretty soon the bomb squad is going to be called to go pick up litter in our parks because a coke can lying on the ground might be a bomb! This is silly but happens all the time and even outside of the geocaching world.

 

There will always be over-suspicious people who think they are being stalked by terrorists. Geocaching is not bad. We are not doing anything wrong, illegal or immoral. I feel bad about police wasting their time, money and effort but it happens in every aspect of our lives, not just geocahcing. I agree that spending some time educating the law enforcement community will be time well spent, but I will not back off what I enjoy doing out of fear of getting a call from the local bomb squad.

 

"...take this game back to the woods"? Yeah, I enjoy that aspect of geocaching the best too, but speaking to the bigger picture of crawling in a hole becuase people are parinoid, NO WAY!

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You can now add a Soda can of "unidentifiable liquid" to the list of stupid things that will get called in.

 

That one almost makes sense, though - have you read the list of ingredients in a can of soda lately? Unidentifiable is a pretty reasonable word. :laughing:

 

Speaking of which, time to start my second litre of Diet Coke for the day.

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Is it OK for me to quote myself from the Midwest forum?

So long as you're clever and insightful, sure :laughing:

 

What more could you ask these guys to do? In my estimation, this cache was placed in accordance with the gc guidelines! A nicer label would have been nice, but it was clearly labeled. This is a classic example of over-reaction by local police at face value

Agreed. The cache was perfectly harmless, and from most reasonable perspectives the cache placers did nothing even remotely wrong. Unfortunately a lot of the world isn't reasonable lately. People over-react to geocaches, abandoned luggage, random litter and opposing points of view. That's not our problem, and we certainly shouldn't let it stop us from geocaching, but it is worth bearing in mind.

 

When the police are called for a suspicious package, in the absence of better information they pretty much have to over-react. If they don't, and they're wrong, there'll be hell to pay. Another unfortunate side effect of the times we live in.

 

Geocaching is not bad. We are not doing anything wrong, illegal or immoral. I feel bad about police wasting their time, money and effort but it happens in every aspect of our lives, not just geocahcing.

Can we get an 'Amen'?

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Agreed. The cache was perfectly harmless, and from most reasonable perspectives the cache placers did nothing even remotely wrong. Unfortunately a lot of the world isn't reasonable lately. People over-react to geocaches, abandoned luggage, random litter and opposing points of view. That's not our problem, and we certainly shouldn't let it stop us from geocaching, but it is worth bearing in mind.

 

When the police are called for a suspicious package, in the absence of better information they pretty much have to over-react. If they don't, and they're wrong, there'll be hell to pay. Another unfortunate side effect of the times we live in.

Is this where it should be mentioned that if we change our behavior then the bad guys have won? Just wondering.

Edited by sbell111
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Is this where it should be mentioned that if we change our behavior then the bad guys have won? Just wondering.

 

Yep, this would be the place. My only complaint is that you beat me to it. I'm with Rupert2 - I'm not changing my behavior just because the rest of the world has gone stupid.

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Monroe PD actually signed the log and left a toy badge! Wow, that doesn't happen too often. See link:

ttp://www.channelcincinnati.com/video/9733645/index.html?taf=cin

 

The page for the article has moved: NEW LINKY

 

I suspect that if the cache had been a tupperware container instead of a duct taped cylinder, the bomb squad would never havae gotten involved.

 

It wasn't a 'duct taped cylinder', it was a 'duct taped plastic vitamin bottle.' Click the link, watch the video. How could they think it was a bomb? Maybe a drop point for drugs, but not a bomb.

Edited by Web-ling
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This little tid bit from Wisconsin. Originally posted on the Wisconsin Geocaching Association forums by cacheseekers.

 

The best part about the story is what the police did.

 

 

 

Friday, August 25, 2006

 

MONROE — A geocaching scavenger hunt caused the evacuation of residents and businesses Wednesday night as a bomb squad investigated a "suspicious package."

 

The intersection of Main and Elm streets in Monroe was a bustle of activity while Monroe police and fire crews and the Butler County Sheriff's Office Bomb Unit responded to the Monroe Historical Society, 10 Elm St., where a resident reported at

 

"Police did find a package. It was in some bushes and covered with duct tape," said Monroe dispatcher Mike McKinney.

 

The Butler County Sheriff's Office Bomb Unit took a digital

 

X-ray of the cylinder, which revealed a notebook and small trinkets typically left by people on geocaching scavenger hunts.

 

Monroe police Chief Greg Homer said what the resident saw was the "tail end" of activity of someone in the dark leaving something in the bushes.

 

"They didn't see the person write their name in the notebook and leave a souvenir," Homer said.

 

After determining the package was a geocaching prize, the police also signed the notebook, left a toy badge as a souvenir and put it back in place, he said.

 

Ann Mort of the Middletown Convention and Visitors Bureau contacted police to tell them geocaching prizes have been placed throughout the area to bring people to Butler County.

 

The entire block around the building at Elm and Main streets was evacuated for about two hours.

 

What is geocaching?

 

An outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System device to hide and seek containers called geocaches. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and a treasure of small toys or trinkets.

 

Source: geocaching.com

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Not the best way to get publicity for geocaching....

 

--Larry

 

Actually, it's not too bad.

 

I read that article on fark as well, and that story is specifically what got me interested in geocaching, got me to go out and buy a GPS, and the subsequent discussions about the topic on other forums I am a member of caused a number of other people to get into the hobby as well. I doubt we are the only ones.

 

and I was wondering which cache this was.

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