Posted in: Crime

Disneyland Blast Debate, Were Dry Ice Explosions Harmless Pranks? [Video]

Disneyland blast

What happened during Tuesday’s Disneyland blast scare now seems clear enough. Prosecutors say that 22-year-old Christian Barnes, a soda vendor in Disneyland’s Toontown, placed dry ice in two water bottles.

At the end of his shift, Barnes left one of the bottles in his vending cart on the way out. He tossed a second bottle in a trash can.

Both ultimately exploded harmlessly but noisily, causing Disneyland officials to evacuate Toontown and bring a bomb squad to the scene. Barnes was arrested on a million dollar bond, which was lowered on Thursday to $500,000.

But he’s still being held to face felony charges of possession of a destructive device in a public place. Christian Barnes has already pled not guilty to any felonious intent in the Disneyland blasts, and it’s open to question how destructive the water bottle “bombs” actually were.

At least one expert has told The Los Angeles Times that the charges are overblown. Missouri University of Science and Technology explosives expert Paul Worsey told reporter Joseph Serna:

“I don’t think the kid meant to cause a lot of damage, he’s just an idiot…Everybody calls everything a bomb now, right?…There aren’t enough terrorists to go around, so it’s obvious someone’s going to blow this out of proportion.”

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis forensic chemistry professor John Goodpaster told LAT that a dry ice “bomb” would have to be either very large or wrapped in shrapnel to cause harm — and, as far as we know, Barnes’ devices didn’t meet either of those criteria.

I’m going to show you what a large — and still harmless — dry ice explosion looks like so you can make up your own mind.

First, a warning: Please don’t try to pull off this prank and get yourself arrested as some kind of terrorist. I’m not gonna bail you out for being an idiot. Don’t copy this stunt and end like Christian Barnes.

Are we clear?

The purpose of demonstrating the dry ice “explosion” is so that you can see for yourself that the prank mostly creates a lot of smoke and noise.

I hate to play the race card, but a quick look around YouTube might suggest to the cynical mind that white kids have been setting off dry ice explosions for years without getting arrested.

Of course, in the Anaheim Police Department’s defense, there’s clearly a difference between setting off a scary-looking dry ice blast in the middle of the countryside and doing it in a crowded public place like Disneyland.

But I will note that the You Tube team had several bottles put together to get even that much of an “explosion.”

At the end of the day, I think The Los Angeles Time expert might be right. Christian Barnes was an idiot who picked the wrong place to play a stupid joke. I’m not convinced he’s a criminal.

But I’m not offended if you disagree, so feel free to fire away in the comments. What’s your take on the Disneyland blast?

[Disneyland Toontown photo by Jonnyboyca via Wikimedia Commons]

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11 Responses to “Disneyland Blast Debate, Were Dry Ice Explosions Harmless Pranks? [Video]”

  1. 'Jason Maples

    I was there Tuesday and Wednesday with my children when this happened. If this is harmless lets show one with you standing next to it or better yet holding it. No matter how harmless it may seem, can it be dangerous? If so then there should be charges filed. Could someone have been hurt? I think that's the point here.

  2. Dick Brandlon

    I'd say this cretin should be sentenced to spend the next 30 or 40 weekends picking up litter around Disneyland while wearing a sign saying "I'm learning to act like an adult."

  3. Justin Daniels

    Harmless or not, you have to be a complete moron in this day and age to pull this kind of "prank". Has he not watched the news the last decade? he should be charged based on the idiocy of it as it is.

  4. Cyndy Ward

    For goodness sakes, he's 22 years old. You would think he had more sense then to do something as stupid as this, especially in such a heavily populated park with children. His father claims he did not know what he was doing. BS. What/where would he even get dry ice? If they have it at the park for what ever reasons, (to keep vendor carts cold), then he would/should have been properly trained on the dangers of it. I agree with Jason Maples, it can be harmless and charges should be filed, if not for bringing danger to the public, then for acting like a complete a$$. "Both ultimately exploded harmlessly but noisily, causing Disneyland officials to evacuate Toontown and bring a bomb squad to the scene." Do you know how much that must cost? Thank God no one was injured.

  5. Marvin Machleit

    if you terrorize people, it is a terrorist act. what if an older person had a heart attack from an act like this? as the saying goes "it is all fun and games until someone gets hurt" or it scares someone to death.

  6. Marvin Machleit

    Bill Smith: you would not be saying that if you were close to that with your wife and children. he intended to terrorized people therefore it is an act of terrorism. you can not pick and choose your own definition of words. would you be singing the same song if someone detonated something like and it exploded with your grandpa and grandma sitting close enough to the device to scare the witts out of them?.

  7. Alex Marin

    I just think its so funny that Disney is still raising their prices on Sunday, June 2nd after this AND what happened with the man who lost his gun on a disneyworld ride as well. They're basically saying, "Hey, we're not providing the safest of environments, but give us more money". Greedy, and not ashamed of it.

  8. Carla Cosper

    ODV (OutDoor Vending) cast members are trained to handle dry ice with caution. My daughter was working the same cart the day before. This young man did a stupid thing. Is it worth a felony? I don't think so. He will most likely lose his job at DL. Will he think twice before pulling another stunt? I certainly hope so. Does he deserve to be punished? YES!

  9. Sam Batalon

    Bill Smith: In the wake of what happened at the Boston Marathon, for this "idiot" to pull a stunt like this in a heavily populated location…in a world renowned location…is truly a terrorist act. The goal of a terrorist attack isn't to create chaos in an empty open field or backyard. It's to do it in "high value target" for the intend of getting media coverage for the act. Terrorism doesn't have to cause death or injury. It simply has to cause terror.

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