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Man Found With Cyanide In NYC Subway

Suddenly, this story from the New York Times a couple of days ago seems timely again:

Man Found With Cyanide Pills in Subway Tunnel


April 30, 2010

A college student dressed as a laborer and carrying a backpack with cyanide pellets, roadway flares and water was taken into custody early Friday as he walked along the subway tracks in the tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan, the police said.

The discovery of the 20-year-old man at about 5:30 a.m., walking alone in the dark tunnel under the East River, triggered antiterrorism alarms because he was in a vulnerable spot precisely at the center of the authorities’ cataclysm projections.

But the man, a Pace University student, told investigators he was there to take his own life -– not anyone else’s — and the police said they believed his explanation.

He was, however, charged with criminal impersonation, weapons possession, trespass and unlawful possession of noxious matter.

Detectives from the Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed the man while Emergency Service Unit investigators searched for explosives or other devices along the tracks of the No. 4 and No. 5 train between Bowling Green station in Lower Manhattan and Borough Hall station in Brooklyn.

“He felt he might be able to find an isolated alcove where his body would not be discovered,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman. “He did not want anyone to know he killed himself.”

The man entered the tunnel at the Fulton Street Station and walked through to the middle of the tunnel, police said. It was not immediately clear whether any portion of the man’s journey had been captured by security cameras.

The episode underscored the vulnerability of a system that critics say is easy to enter and lacking adequate video surveillance. Of the 4,313 cameras that do exist in stations and tunnels, nearly half do not work, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials, a lapse that was highlighted after last month’s fatal stabbings on a No. 2 train.

The Police Department also maintains booths at the entrances of the subway system’s underwater tunnels, but the police could not immediately confirm that they were staffed at the time the man entered.

That’s reassuring.

Transit employees on a work train first spotted the man on the tracks south of Bowling Green, wearing knee-high yellow boots, a reflective vest and a hard hat. They initially believed he was a fellow worker and took him aboard, only to discover he could not produce identification. They handed him over to the police at the Bowling Green station. The man was in custody Friday afternoon, with charges pending.

Since the student was probably white, we suspect ‘racial profiling.’

Investigators tested the chemicals at a mobile laboratory, confirming their initial belief that they were non-explosive but toxic sodium cyanide pellets.

The police said they were certain the tools in the man’s backpack were not designed for any kind of detonation. The pellets he carried, which were in a one-quart sealed can with a manufacturer’s label, are available commercially to clean jewelry. Investigators thought he may have considered using the flares to heat the pellets and inhale the noxious fumes. However, the man said he ultimately decided it would be more effective to swallow them with water…

A former roommate of the man said he was antisocial and depressed, often sleeping all day and spending his last birthday by himself, watching three movies in a row in a theater. But he never mentioned violence.

“He was completely harmless,” said the former roommate, Harold Cuartas, 19, a marketing major.

Of course the explanation the young man gave is possibly true.

But who would go through the trouble of rigging themselves out to look like a subway worker? Who would round up a quart of cyanide pellets? And who would use flares rather than a match or lighter to ignite them?

And who in the world even think of using cyanide pellets (not pills) to kill himself in the first place?

Instead, isn’t it far more likely that they subway worker costume and the flares were gotten together so that he could stop a train in the tunnel?

And, lastly, what is the young man’s name? Why aren’t we given that information? The Times notes his 19 year old former roommate’s name, but not that of the 20 year old perp.

But putting aside all these questions for the moment, it is painfully obvious that we are vulnerable to any number of chemical and biological terrorist attacks.

And even more so now that Mr. Obama has ruled out any nuclear response to such attacks.


The New York Daily news reported that the young man’s name is Aaron Fetto.

A quick Google search reveals that Mr. Fetto is a Poli-Sci major and an Obama supporter.

From Pace University’s student newspaper, Pace Press:

Presidential debate viewing continues


Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Obama has been my second choice since the primaries," political science major Aaron Fetto said

Big surprise, huh?

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “Man Found With Cyanide In NYC Subway”

  1. proreason says:

    Thank God we publicized that “vulnerable spot” in the “center” of the cataclysm.

    I’m assuming we are rushing a T-shirt vendor there as we speak.

    • crate says:

      LOL,, T-shirt vendor…… I bit of humor needed thank goodness he was alert yesterday.. I almost missed this story. I only found it here..(I never read the NYT) Oh off topic Taliban claims credit for failed bomb on you tube, just read it else where.. This is going on all the time now.. This administration I thought was going to change the way our enemys treated us. I just feel the love now don’t you????? [sarc/on?]

    • Dontmindme says:

      HAHAHAHA. You win the ‘First out loud laugh of the day” award :^).

      We need more t-shirt vendors!

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I would imagine that Pelosi is demanding that we must FIRST understand the guy’s anger and what motivated him. Then, we must appease that anger and apologize.

    That is the only true direction, people. The only true direction.


  3. Right of the People says:

    It’s amazing isn’t it that shortly after our fearless leader declares we won’t use nukes to retaliate against chemical and biological weapons what looks like a chemical attack has been discovered. Lucky for us the tangos and progressives aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

  4. canary says:

    student, told investigators he was there to take his own life -– not anyone else’s — and the police said they believed his explanation.

    At the very least an amateurish history student’s body charged with weapons on it, lit up with flames, would have no effect on a subway full of people running over it. Little 4th of July, communications down to warn other subways. What could go wrong.

    I thought attempted suicide (unless your a muslim) was against the law in this country.

  5. Mithrandir says:

    This doesn’t make any sense at all. Seems like a fairly elaborate scheme doesn’t it?

    Who would go through the effort of dressing as a rail worker, go into a tunnel with all this stuff just to kill himself? Anyone that depressed would just do it in his apartment, or where there were less people.

    To a casual observer, it seems he adopted gear to get deep in the tunnel, use the LONG BURNING FLARES to get a noxious chemical smoldering for a long period of time, while he could escape.

    Anyone else buying this?

    • canary says:

      Think the city is playing it off as harmless, so people don’t fear taking the subway.

  6. GL0120 says:

    I believe that the attempted bombing Times Square and this incident are both a result of Obama’s neglect.
    He’s been so busy pushing the heath care bill, cap and trade, and now illegal immigration to apologize for America’s colonialism, aggression, and being a world leader.
    The poor, downtrodden, and oppressed feel neglected and are acting up in an effort to get his attention.
    If only he’d once again show that he cares, these sort of potential man-made disasters could be avoided.

    • canary says:

      yes, and Obama’s parties, travel, campaigning, visiting colleges.

      and Michelle Obama is insisting again in Good Housekeeping, that they eat dinner every night together, and often snuggle.

    • proreason says:

      “Neglect” implies that someone cares but has been careless or forgetfut.

      It would be more accurate to say: “I believe that the attempted bombing Times Square and this incident are both a result of Obama’s neglect loyalties.

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