MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) — Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

“We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation,” he said.

But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.

Boy, there’s no pleasing today’s parents.

As Emo Phillips put it:

“I love to go down to the schoolyard and watch all the little children jump up and down and run around yelling and screaming… They don’t know I’m only using blanks.”

Still, the kids have learned a valuable lesson, that’s for sure.

Update: The school’s position on the incident.

It’s starting to look pretty empty in the house, as most of our stuff is now boxed to go. With that in mind, here’s our approximate planned route:

I-90 to NY via Springfield, MA.
I-90, I-87, I-84 to PA. Possible stops at New Paltz.
I-84, I-380, I-81 via Scranton, PA. Possible stop at Harrisburg, PA.
I-81 through MD to WV, via Hagerstown.
I-81 through WV to VA.
I-81, I-66, I-64, I-81 again. Possible stops at Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Roanoke.
I-40 through TN to AR. Nashville, Memphis, Johnson City, Knoxville.
I-40 through AR to Little Rock, 167 to El Dorado, I-20 to Shreveport LA.
I-20 from Shreveport LA to TX, via Tyler and Waco. Possible stop at Corsicana.

Suggestions for things we simply must see are welcomed. With a little luck we’ll have a Prius with GPS navigation. Failing that, we’ll have an iBook linked to a GPS.

Suggestions for good places to eat are welcomed too. As I’ve discovered on previous road trips, You can only eat so much Taco Bell before going insane.

Authorities have located weapons of mass destruction. Actual weapons of mass destruction, enough illegal chemical weapons to kill thousands of Americans. The weapons were located on American soil.

For years, William Krar lived with his common-law wife Judith Bruey in New Hampshire. Krar first came to the attention of police in 1985, when he was arrested in New Hampshire for impersonating a police officer. In 1989, he started fighting back against the Federal government in the traditional New Hampshire style—he stopped paying taxes.

Then in 1995, Krar was investigated by authorities. They discovered he was linked to a network of anti-government and white supremacist organizations in New Hampshire. Still, nothing unusual about that, so they dropped the inquiry.

Soon, Krar and Bruey had moved to Tyler, Texas. Then in January 2003, Krar was stopped by a state trooper in Tennessee. Inside Krar’s rental car the trooper found 2 handguns, 16 knives, a stun gun, a smoke grenade, a gas mask, and 40 bottles filled with an unknown substance. Coded documents labeled “trip” and “procedure” listed rendezvous locations across the US. You might think that that would be suspicious enough to get the attention of Homeland Security, but you’d be wrong.

Krar’s schemes were finally revealed to the FBI by accident. Krar mailed five fake ID cards to a member of the New Jersey Militia. One was a fake ID for the Pentagon; another was a fake Social Security Card. Also enclosed was a note saying “We would hate to have this fall into the wrong hands.” Unfortunately for Krar, the envelope was misdelivered, and the recipient called the police.

As a result, FBI investigators began monitoring Krar’s mail, as well as his (common law) wife’s. They discovered that Krar and Bruey were renting three lockup garages from Teresa Staples, and that they visited them every day. Each garage was piled high with clothing and garden equipment; Staples thought they were gardeners, or that they resold gardening supplies at flea markets.

FBI agents were more suspicious, and took a closer look. They discovered a cache of weapons hidden behind the gardening equipment. So they checked Krar’s home in Tyler, Texas, and discovered more.

The eventual haul totalled 500,000 rounds of ammunition, 65 pipe bombs, remote controlled briefcase bombs, machine guns, silencers, land mines, and plain old explosives. Krar wasn’t licensed to hold automatic weapons; I don’t know if Texas issues landmine licenses. The weapons cache wasn’t the disturbing part, however…

Teresa Staples realized something was seriously amiss when a team of agents turned up in HazMat suits. The FBI had opened an ammunitions canister and found nearly a kilo of sodium cyanide, packed next to a quantity of acid sufficient to dissolve it into cyanide gas. Enough cyanide gas to kill literally thousands of people, if released in an enclosed space like a stadium or subway.

There were also anti-Semitic, racist and anti-government publications in the lockups, in case you hadn’t guessed. The KKK had even left a business card.

Krar and Bruey have plead guilty to all charges, as has Edward Feltus, the person who was supposed to have received the fake IDs. While Feltus faces up to 15 years in jail, Bruey will be out in less than five. Krar’s crime of possessing dangerous chemical weapons is sufficiently rare that authorities don’t seem to have gotten around to setting minimum sentencing guidelines. Krar’s lawyer is pointing out that there’s no evidence he actually planned to use the cyanide bomb.

It could have been a bigger mass-murder than 9/11. The Justice Department seems keen to publicize victories in the war against terrorism, so why haven’t we heard more about this story?

Perhaps because the story isn’t over. More cyanide was found in Krar’s house, and in his car. Authorities think he might have already sold cyanide bombs to various right-wing militia organizations.

Last month, a letter laced with ricin nerve toxin was sent to the Senate. Last November, one was sent to the White House. The perpetrator of the anthrax attacks of 2001 is still at large. Sleep well.

[Guardian/Observer link]