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View Diary: NRA's lobbying creates policies that hamper criminal investigations (187 comments)

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  •  If you want to go with a break-in metaphor... (0+ / 0-)

    Taggants in powder are like getting sticky strips of paper where the entire package has a pre-printed series of colors. You take the package and stick a strip to everything you own. If the cops come across a bunch of stolen stuff they look at the color code and track it back to you.

    The problem is, these strips of paper are sold nationwide and they are only so many millimeters in length, plus there is a limited color palette that is functionally fit to use in the color codes.

    All of which leads to the problems I already mentioned. Limited color palette means there will come a point where the number of unique color combinations has all been used up, but there are still more households untagged... So the maker will start doubling up on combinations, resulting in ROYGBIVROY being used by me in pa and who knows how many others in how many other places possibly far or right next door.

    Plus, taggants in powder will not necessarily remain at the scene in a manner that can be collected accurately enough for a correct identification. Sorta like the hypothetical color strips being exposed to the heat / cold / damp / dry / sun and degrading enough so that what was tagged with your strip is now pointing to a different person.

    Taggants are FUCKING STUPID. They are science FICTION, just like the ignorant way people have placed so much faith in ballistic fingerprinting when jamming a brass brush down the barrel for a minute scrapes away all those CSI special effects that made great entertainment but were almost as useful as directions on how to fly by flapping your arms.

    And you know what, MB? I wonder what the hell happened to you. You used to scrutinize things for feasibility and scalability. You should have noticed that the factors of limited materials plus powder batch size would reduce the number of unique 'tags' to an ineffective level, not to mention how cartridge longevity plus unreliable 'tag' collection at a scene would be plenty enough grounds for reasonable doubt and even mistaken identity to happen.

    How many more SWAT teams descending on the wrong house because the public swallowed some shiny special effect propaganda are you okay with?

    You should have thought this through, what has happened?

    •  You're dissing 20th Century technology ... (3+ / 0-)

      ... No surprise there given how little attention has been paid to creating unique tags for explosives.

      But isotopic tags avoid all the problems you raise because they don't depend on color combinations or 0.1mm taggants. See:

      Development of a Dual-Isotope Procedure for the Tagging and Identification of Manufactured Products: Application to Explosives

      These scientists don't think taggants are fucking stupid.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:42:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Next You Know (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber, FogCityJohn

        We'll have handheld communicators like in Star Trek.  Ha--you and your science fiction.

      •  Even if they get the technology to work safely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happy camper, PavePusher

        What would it actually tell us?  I think that most powder loaded in the U.S. is from foreign countries.  Powder is made in huge batches, then separated into drums and sold worldwide, wherever ammunition is loaded.  The drums arrive in the U.S. and are distributed to several companies, who then separate the drums into smaller cans and put their own labels on the cans.  Some of those cans are separated into even smaller cans and distributed to stores all over the U.S. for sale to shooters that reload their own.  Other cans go to any one or several ammunition manufacturers who load it into their cartridges which they then distribute under their own and different brand names all over the U.S.  All of this has the same taggant signature from the manufacturer(??) and how do you know who bought what ammunition where or who bought what can of powder where.  Don't even try to tell me that they would attempt to add a different taggant to each one of tens of thousands of cans of powder because that wouldn't be practical.  

        Gunpowder for fireworks is even more convoluted.  Foreign manufacturer of the powder and foreign manufacturer of the fireworks, which is then shipped to many hundreds (probably thousands) of outlets in dozens of countries.  

        And then, there is potassium nitrate fertilizer.  Tag all of that?  Tens of thousands of pounds are manufactured in a batch, bagged and shipped to agricultural suppliers and garden stores all over the U.S. where it is ultimately sold to thousands of farmers by the truckload or by the pallet and tens of thousands of individuals by the bag.

        Dynamite and high explosives are used by fewer companies and in lesser quantities, so that is probably doable, but explosives are rarely used in a criminal enterprise so taggants may not be worth the trouble.  When you get into the tens of thousands of users tracing becomes impossible, anyway.

      •  Thanks for the cite, and lack of bile. (0+ / 0-)

        I have been trying to wade through:

        Really slow going.

        “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

        by frenchy339 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:35:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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