Students Plant Mailbox Bombs

dsewell writes: Today’s (5/9) Daily Progress has a story about the arrest of three UVa students, Pi Kappa Alpha members, on felony charges of manufacturing bombs. They had planted two chemical bombs in mailboxes on Bruce Ave. and Rugby Place. The explosions caused damage but no injuries. Ah yes, just good ol’ frat boy fun. (Why is it I can’t think ‘fraternity’ without hearing Kurtz from The Heart of Darkness saying ‘Exterminate all the brutes’?)

32 thoughts on “Students Plant Mailbox Bombs”

  1. One of the ones arrested supposedly is going to work on Wall Street. Too bad they didn’t say which firm; it would have been tempting to call the firm and announce that one of their prizes was under felony charges of manufacturing bombs.

  2. There is little more amusing than being a nosy, holier-than-thou pest. I suppose bullying might be better, but I would expect it would only be slightly so.

  3. Maybe they’re part of the new Enron team. Bombs away!!

    (PS How stupid are they? Someone’s bombing mailboxes in the Midwest and they decide to do it too? They’re lucky that the Midwest bomber was caught.)

  4. The sad truth seems to be that the firm would probably brush it off as “frat boys will be frat boys.” No need to get all worked up over this–it’s not as if these were poor whites or African-American kids, in which case we’d want to lock the little menaces up forever….(sarcasm)

  5. I recognize that their timing was idiotic, what with the national mailbox-bombing scare. But give me a break: This kind of thing happens all the time and is hardly a big deal. They got caught and should be punished, but destroying mailboxes is practically a rite of passage in this country.

    As a poet once said: “Who among us hasn’t blown up a mailbox?”

    Though I will add that most of us got that out of our systems when we were 16.

  6. “Why is it I can’t think ‘fraternity’ without hearing Kurtz from The Heart of Darkness saying ‘Exterminate all the brutes'”

    Because it easier to be bias toward a group then put blame on individuals. Let’s pick on frat boys because it’s easy. Even though UVA athletes have a much higher crime rate and Charlottesville high school students have shown themselves to be more violent. Fraternity deserve blame for something but often it’s overblown(up?). Anyone remember “Operation Equinox”? Talk about a huge overblown story about an ounce or two of pot.

    These guys were stupid but they didn’t hurt anyone. Fraternity members aren’t all angels but neither are the source of all evil either. Fraternity members have higher GPA’s and graduation rates then the average UVA student. When a fraternity does something stupid it’s national news. For example the Wake Forest frat that got a pig drunk, made all the papers. Of course if that same pig had been the guest of honor at a cookout-no problem. College kids do stupid things -like riot after winning or losing the final 4 in basketball, all on their own. Fraternity life is a chance at real self governance and responsiblitiy. They do charitable works and can add to college life. And they tend not to go on nation wide bombing sprees like a college student just did.

  7. We all do stupid things. No one is tarring the entire fraternity system with this.

    But, they are lucky that no one was hurt. Ask the 71-year-old woman in Iowa who has lost some of her hearing what she thinks.

    I’m sure that they THOUGHT it was a joke and no one would be hurt due to the timing (weekend) but suppose someone was away, came home and opened it late Saturday or Sunday.

    BTW, my best friend’s boyfriend was in a fraternity. They did all kinds of charitable things about once a month. But what I remember overwhelmingly are the very large Kahlua bottles that they had on display (as in “Hey I didn’t know that they made Kahlua in a five gallon drum size) and the fact that they had drunken parties where you would find boys turning themselves inside out (if you get my drift). They did good things but they were damn lucky no one died of alchol poisoning. So which one should I think is the right description of fraternities: good charitable works or people getting drunk to get drunk. In my opinion, it’s both.

    These guys made a decision and hopefully it’s going to cost them. Who knows what kind of guys they are. Maybe misguided, maybe future psychopaths of America. It all depends on how they turn this around and behave.

  8. After reading the editorial comments of the original poster I do think they were tarring all fraternities but I’m a science not an english major, so I could be wrong.

  9. “Even though UVA athletes have a much higher crime rate…”

    I’d like to see the stats to back this claim up. I’ve taught a lot of UVA athletes–field hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball, track, football, etc., and I’m not at all prepared to accept your claim at face value without any evidence.

    I know there have been some highly publicized cases of UVA athletes breaking the law, but of course the media spotlight can distort perceptions about how often something is really happening.

    Do you have evidence to back up the claim?

  10. The basketball team during the Jeff Jones years for starters. Cory Alexander wife beater, the slasher, shoplifting et al. How about Womack and other football player’s troubles with the law. Compare the numbers of fraternity members with basketball and football players, 1,000’s vs. 100, the results are obvious. When you throw in other sports I most admit to having less knowledge given that their (possible) infractions receive less coverage. Does the University keep these stats-No and neither do I.

    So ultimately it’s a guess but not without some real data.

  11. Yes, it’s a guess. It’s one that accords nicely with what sounds like “common sense” to us–sure, of course the black kids on the big-money sports teams are more likely to commit crimes than the nice rich white kids in the fraternities. It’s easy to throw that claim out there and expect people to accept it at face value because it fits so nicely with common stereotypes.

    “So ultimately it’s a guess but not without some real data.” Real data? You named two high-profile athletes who got a lot of media attention for their crimes. That’s not real data.

    I’m not disputing that it might be true that UVA athletes commit more crimes than fraternity members, but you’ve given a reasonable person no evidence to support your claim.

  12. COURTNEY Alexander was the dude who beat his baby’s momma and subsequently was forced to transfer to Fresno State.

    CORY Alexander was here just before Courtney. His career was plagued by ankle injuries, but not brushes with the law. Cory’s a good guy.

    Sorry, but this is a common mistake that gets made all too often, and it’s not fair to Cory.

  13. This is nothing that a little good ol’ fashioned restorative justice won’t fix.

  14. I could only come up with two names but the slashee and the shoplifter were two other members of that same team. Also with Womack were two other athletes and there are others like the guy who was in the famous tackle that stop FSU. I already come up with more athletes then you have fraternity guys.

  15. you are correct and I apologize to Cory who is a great guy. I would have looked it up on the UVA criminal athlete’s web site but it must be under construction.

  16. um…my point is that coming up with anecdotal evidence–“oh, i misremember the name of that one guy who did that one bad thing”–is a pretty weak way to support a claim.

    i’m not trying to come up with names of frat guys because i’m not claiming that they commit more crimes–it’s YOU that made the (unsupported) claim that athletes commit more crimes than frat guys, and it’s you that can’t do anything more than come up with a few media-highlighted incidents to prove it.

  17. you know, universities do keep statistics on crime (how many committed, what kind, by whom). they have to–it’s federally mandated by the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, also known as the Clery Act.

  18. “the nice rich white kids in the fraternities”

    Having been in a fraternity I can tell you, I was not rich nor barely middle class. I was also in a fraternity that had african americans, asian,and middle eastern members. I was proud of the fact that the content of a person character (was he a “good guy” or not) was more important then anything else. I know that some fraternities are just rich white kids but a greater number aren’t. This just goes to show the inherent bias that would be called racist or sexist if it took another form.

    And what should wealth have to do with following the law. As I remember the son of the founder of FedEx(Fred Smith?) had no problem brutally attacking a UVA student with his rich friends.

  19. I sure they keep stats but is it by athlete vs. non-athlete vs. frat boy?

  20. you’re right–i was wrong to stereotype frats as entirely composed of rich white kids. there’s a wide variety of frats out there, and a wide variety of students who join them. i’m sorry i said that.

    i agree with you that wealth should have nothing to do with following the law–i was being sarcastic when i wrote the thing you’re responding to.

    i was reacting to the original poster on this thread who, in my opinion, is relying on his own unexamined stereotypes about college athletes (by which he apparently only means the black athletes on the big-money teams, football and b-ball–that’s where his few examples come from). it pisses me off that someone can toss off a really questionable claim about athletes committing more crimes on college campuses without having anything more to base it on than several half-remembered stories from the past 5-6 years’ newspaper reports (Courtney Alexander, the guys shoplifting at Belk).

  21. “it’s YOU that made the (unsupported) claim that athletes commit more crimes than frat guys”,

    Unless there exist a database that has the information, one must guess based on observed data. I admit to this. There is no way to prove this other than my observation which is supported by actually criminals. In just a few minutes I could come up with 8 CONVICTED members of a group of around 100(in any single year) athletes. I am not defending a PHD thesis. The other stats such as GPA and graduation rates may be verified by Dean Laushaway’s office at UVA because I have heard him report this.

  22. “Unless there exist a database that has the information, one must guess based on observed data.”

    That isn’t how research is done. You don’t wait around until there’s a ready-made “database” that has the answer to your exact question. You don’t throw up your hands and say “well, no one’s handed me my answer on a silver platter, guess I’ll just have to glance around, make some anecdotal observations, and go from there!” If you’re serious, you look up some things (on the web, at the library), you find out if anyone has written articles on this topic, you do research. You do something more than just remember some names from the news.

    Now, if you don’t WANT to do that research, that’s another thing, but it is NOT true that “there is no way to prove this other than my observation…”

    It doesn’t have to be a Ph.D thesis–it just should be more responsible than what you’ve done.

  23. OK, it’s seems to me that fraternity members are less likely to commit crimes then athletes but it’s just a guess until I get better data. Most athletes and fraternity are good and law abiding citizens who just seem more to be law breakers because the media is much more likley to report either groups transgressions than those of an unattached, independent college student.

  24. definitely agreed–being a member of either group and committing a crime is a more appealing media story than Joe-non-athlete-non-frat-guy committing a crime. it plays into widespread stereotypes that college athletes (particularly b-ball/football players) are thugs and that frat boys are date-rapists and vandals. so when one of those groups does something wrong, it’s big news–bigger than when joe-nobody does it. the media likes things that reinforce our sense of how things are, even if that sense is wrong.

  25. what kind of gpa do you have to have to go to uva?
    I guess a $500,000.

    And tell them boys to stop spray painting meg and tom!
    Its another cville joke.

  26. they tried to blow shit up and they are a orginized group, could we call them gangs or
    terrorist threats, trying to create hell in your little town,
    what are you teching up there in uva land?

  27. We all know that this stims form hoxes related to sept 11, pipebombs, anthrax,bombers. If these guys were smart there timing was way off, to make it look and feel of a terrorist plot in cville.

    If this were before 9, we wouldnt care. But now we have to care, i think they were trying to mock the terroist, and even creating “pipebombs” there only goal was to hurt not prank,they are un-american, and shuld be delt with as terrorist.

    I thought the school had a oath, or rule that blowing stuff up is bad.

  28. does anyone know what kind of chemical bomb they manufactured? (whether real explosives were used or if it was something more like liquid plumber and aluminum foil in a plastic bottle)

  29. No information on the exact chemicals used but the feds decided to take over the charges which seem to be more serious. Maybe there is no Wall Street in store for one of the young men. Stupid, stupid, stupid. They’re really lucky no one was hurt.

  30. hello- the point is not that they trashed mailboxes but that they manufactured bombs with the potential power to harm someone. that was the bad part. they could have seriously injured someone! not so harmless then

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