MSNBC ran the startling headline this morning: Man arrested near Capitol faces WMD charge. How intriguing! Was a criminal mastermind skulking through the streets of DC with a nuclear bomb in his trunk?
[The suspect] tried to manufacture a “weapon of mass destruction, that is, an explosive device capable of causing multiple deaths or serious bodily injuries to multiple persons, or massive destruction of property,”
At the height of the Cold War, “weapons of mass destruction” meant nuclear warheads that were capable of eliminating broad swaths of humanity with a single explosion. With the onset of the “war on terror” we expanded WMD to include bio-weapons that could infect the water supply for an entire city or chemicals that could poison the air of a local community. …