Denver: zero tolerance for misfit toys

"They blew him up???"

It’s rough out there for a robot.  Check out this story from the Denver Post this morning:

A robot met its end near Coors Field on Wednesday night when the Denver Police Department Bomb Squad detonated the “suspicious object,” bringing to an end the hours-long standoff between police and the approximately 8-inch-tall figurine.

Denver police spokesman Matt Murray said a citizen called police at 3:27 p.m. to report the presence of the plastic, white, toy robot, cemented to the base of a pillar supporting a footbridge near 20th and Wazee streets. Police closed 20th Street between Blake Street and Chestnut Place but did let a few people past the police tape to retrieve cars parked in nearby lots.

Nobody was allowed within about 100 yards of the robot.

Thank goodness state and local governments got all of that federal grant money after 9/11 to purchase anti-terrorist equipment and beef up their bomb squads!  Otherwise, who knows what havoc misfit toys could wreak upon the citizenry?  At least some inconvenienced passers-by figured out the right way to pass the time while the footbridge was blocked:  “Some pedestrians, unable to reach their vehicles at a lot adjacent to the robot, decided to wait it out at a bar on 20th Street, asking uniformed officers to let them know when the road reopened.”  Thanks, peace officer!  Have one on us!

That was funny.  Here’s the part that really cracks me up:

A bomb-squad robot was sent to examine the troublesome robot. Then a bomb- squad officer, dressed in heavy protective gear, took a turn.

Murray said the bomb squad couldn’t be sure whether the robot was safe, so the squad remotely detonated it about 5:30 p.m. to “render it safe.” The robot exploded into several chunks.

Robot v. robot action!  I know what I want for Christmas. . .

0 thoughts on “Denver: zero tolerance for misfit toys

  1. This is heartbreaking. It sounds to me like a lighthearted piece of guerilla art was interpreted through a paranoiac lens. What kind of citizen is threatened by a plastic robot? Why blow it up? Clearly, people have too many fantasies of persecution.

    In my city, there is a guerilla artist who cements small groups of bright, shiny tiles to overpasses and other features of the urban city scape. S/he does it in the middle of the night, usually in a high spot that requires a ladder. The tiles usually form some sort of image or pattern. Last spring, I had to drive SweetCliffie to the courthouse for jury duty every morning for a week, and I noticed that the artist had begun one such project. Every day, a few more tiles would be there. The robot strikes me as a similar initiative that terrified a bunch of numbnuts.


  2. I wonder if the motivating emotion wasn’t so much fear as an eagerness to play with their own bomb-squad toys (their robot, their cool gear, etc.) But, yeah: I absolutely agree with you that this was a rather silly overreaction on the part of the DPD.

    How much plastique (or whatever) could you really pack into a toy that’s only EIGHT INCHES tall?


  3. Those rock-’em, sock-’em robots ™ remind me a lot of the vintage 1980s “Bumbling Boxers” game that I gave my bro-in-law one holiday season back in the days of Big Country and Men at Work. We couldn’t stop winding them up and playing with them, even when the Rose Bowl went into a third overtime! Why would anyone want to get on an airliner when you could go to a post-holidays Toys R Us blowout sale and get enough “stuff” to paralyze the whole country and use up that winter’s snow plowing budget on SWAT overtime? The TRRSTS win here, I think.


  4. “How much plastique (or whatever) could you really pack into a toy that’s only EIGHT INCHES tall?”

    Somewhere in the ballpark of 20 cubic inches, it seems to me.

    Information about the explosive force of different quantities of plastic explosives seems to require some digging to get to–and I’m a little nervous about doing too much bomb searching on the open web…


  5. Mark,
    Go to roughly the 1 minute mark on this video to see what 20 cubic inches of C4 will do. On the other hand, if the TSA can determine, in less than a minute, if I have handled explosives somewhere in the distant past, can’t the bomb squad, or its robot proxies, do the same with a poor doll (uh, I mean ACTION FIGURE) in situ.


  6. I’m sorry to hear that you “hate Denver.” That is the only possible explanation for your reaction to this. I, for one, am scared to death about this new weapon of terror and recognize that “everything has changed.”

    I know in my house we will be cancelling Christmas. Sure, toys are fun but even if we discount the unfortunate penchant robots have for becoming sentient we now have to recognize that they are also bombs. First its robots, next Barbie, Ken and GI Joe will be “packin’ plastique”

    Be afraid. Be very afraid!


  7. I second Comrade PhysioProf’s conclusions. I motion that we adjourn to the bar for martinis or Manhattans to discuss further the problem of outlaw toy robots.


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