Sunday, December 12, 2010

Man Watches Hollywood Bomb, Decides to Build His Own Bombs

I blame John Cusack.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone lambasted “2012,” a movie about the end of the world, for “sheer, cynical, mind-numbing, time-wasting, money-draining, soul-sucking stupidity.”

USA Today’s Claudia Puig called it a “cheesy, ridiculous story.”

But James Byron Birkhead of Owensboro took the 2009 release seriously.

He told federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents that after watching the movie he feared the world would end in 2012 and was making bombs to protect his family when the government fails and food riots occur.

Agents and police found all the materials needed to make pipe bombs when they raided his house on March 26. And on Thursday he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Owensboro to possessing and manufacturing explosive materials without a license.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. But the government has recommended six to 12 months behind bars when Birkhead, 52, is sentenced on March 4 by U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley Jr.

ATF Agent Kevin Kelm said police were called to Birkhead’s home when a social worker for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, sent to check on the wellbeing of his 11-year-old daughters, heard that he was acquiring weapons to defend his family.

Kelm said that, when state and local police and federal agents went to the house, they saw bomb components in plain view on Birkhead’s kitchen table. Kelm said they could have been readily processed into pipe bombs.

In a complaint, Kelm said Birkhead told them that he needed to protect his family because, according to the Mayan calendar as depicted in the movie, the world will end in 2012.

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