Disneyland blast

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

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]