Bernie Sanders supporters have been known to “Feel The Bern,” but tricking them into making a deadly bomb seems a bit much. In a twist for the bizarre, a meme “Approve[d by] Bernie Sanders” has been going around the internet, which, according to Mic, allegedly demonstrates a bit of kitchen chemistry: a recipe for making glowsticks at home.
In actual fact, the meme is a recipe for a deadly chlorine bomb, calling for 70 percent isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and a chlorine tablet to be combined in a two liter bottle.
“First, pull the label off the 2 liter bottle so you can see that blue glow. then crush up the pool chlorinating tablet and shove the pieces down the neck of the bottle (the smaller the pieces the brighter it will glow but it won’t last as long). Finally, pour your trusty isopropyl alcohol into the bottle, cap the bottle TIGHTLY, and shake it up. Now just turn out the lights and watch it GLOW! Impress your family and friends with your Bernie Glowsticks!”
In actual fact, the recipe — which can even be found on Wikipedia under the name “chlorine bomb” — will rapidly produce chlorine gas, the same gas made famous by the Germans at the Second Battle of Ypres, likely produced with much the same recipe. A single pool tablet, mostly elemental chlorine, will, when combined with isopropyl alcohol (C3H7OH) very quickly produce more than enough chlorine gas to rupture the bottle. When inhaled, it reacts with water in the lungs to form hydrochloric acid and is rapidly fatal, causing the victim to asphyxiate in short order.
In other words, don’t try this at home, kids.
Here’s what a three-liter chlorine bomb looks like. Fair warning, there’s (unsurprisingly) a bit of harsh language when it goes off.
Not something you want to be around, even without taking the deadly gas into consideration; even plastic shrapnel can cause a fair bit of injury under the acceleration of an explosion.
Nobody actually knows where the “meme” got started, but, as US Uncut notes, it’s already shown up on Tumblr, Reddit, and DeviantArt, including in subreddits such as /r/KillThoseWhoDisagree and /r/EnoughSandersSpam. As best as anyone can tell, evidence is in favor of it having started life on Tumblr, where it was tagged under “memes for bernie.”
It’s also worth noting that even if the bomb proves non-fatal, people have been arrested on domestic terrorism charges before after making and detonating chlorine bombs.
It’s hard to tell whether this is just somebody’s idea of a truly evil joke, or if someone thought that this was a good way to remove Bernie Sanders supporters from the running. Fortunately, the largest Bernie Sanders page on Tumblr, Bernie Sanders Revolution, quickly picked up on it and spread the word.
If there’s any bright side to this, it’s that we would all have heard about it if there were a sudden rash of home-brewed chlorine bombs going off in the homes of Bernie Sanders supporters; it’s likely that the quick action of major Bernie Sanders blogs to block and condemn the meme has prevented at least a few disasters. But it’s hard to know how many times the meme has been spread on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and a Google Image search produces 16 pages of results.
One other theory, which has gone generally ignored, but bears mentioning, is that this meme could be a false-flag by overly-enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporters; while one hopes that nobody would go this far, we have to remember that this deadly meme might be intended to cast a negative light on those who oppose Bernie Sanders supporters — of which there are more than a few, and the clashes between the two sides are becoming legendary.
Whoever made the meme and wherever it comes from, and whether you’re a Bernie Sanders fan or not, please don’t go making bombs full of deadly chlorine gas.
Update: According to Snopes, the meme likely originated in March on 4chan’s /pol/ (short for “politically incorrect”) board, known for being the origin of a lot of unpleasant things. Interestingly, it appears that this meme was a bit much for even /pol/ posters, some of whom claim to have reported the post to the FBI.
[Image via Tumblr/Bernie Sanders Revolution]