[ RadSafe ] Man pleads guilty in plot to build mobile death ray

Mon Jan 27 15:29:34 CST 2014

Intent to commit a crime has always been punishable as long as that intent was leading towards an illegal act. So, for example, saying "I ought to kill (fill in the blank)" is just spouting off; buying a rope, lead bricks, a body bag, and conducting surveillance on (fill in the blank) is against the law, even if you never actually use them.

Similarly, conspiring to commit an illegal act - putting together a team, developing an action plan, and taking concrete steps towards your nefarious goal - is illegal even if you are busted before committing the crime. In fact, this is usually lauded as good policing.

The question that this particular case raises is whether or not it's illegal to have a conspiracy that plots to do something that's physically impossible. In other words, should these jokers go to prison, to summer school for remedial physics, or should they be institutionalized?


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Clayton J Bradt
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2014 4:23 PM
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Man pleads guilty in plot to build mobile death ray

It is frightening that thought crimes are punished in this country.  How
did we come to this and how do we get out of it?

Clayton J. Bradt
Principal Radiophysicist
NYS Dept. of Health

From: Brad Keck <bradkeck at mac.com>
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Man pleads guilty in plot to build mobile
		 death ray
To: "The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing
		 List"		 <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Message-ID: <61D58084-AEFC-45C1-9D25-FA26796047BD at mac.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

In most states,  even an implausible attempt is regarded as a crime,
especially if more than one person contributed to the effort.  If the
attempt is really poor, then a jury or a prosecutor may go easy or seek
psychiatric treatment rather than criminal punishment.

It is, legally speaking, the intent that counts.   A lot for these guys, I
would think, will depend on whether they were just mouthing off or if they
really wanted, however poorly skilled, to actually harm someone.

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