Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Application of Forensic Chemistry

            In recent events in the United States, more specifically Boston, there were three explosions that killed three and injured over a hundred. The explosions were caused by bombs inside duffel bags and placed around the finish line and by a local library. These bombs according to an online source, were homemade claymores that were crudely made but were sophisticated by the means of activation (Investigators 1). With forensic chemistry, we can identify what kind of bomb it is and reconstruct it and the impact it had. It is even more essential that I help my community understand the science behind incidents such as the Boston event because we may never know what and when it will happen again.
Forensic Chemistry
            Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry in the pursuit of law, particularly in solving crimes. In the past I have written about chemistry and can be read more in depth here. With chemistry, one can determine identities via fingerprints, blood and the presence of drugs. There are many very specific forensic tests. For example, some tests can detect the presence of minute traces of gunpowder on clothes or skin (Forensic 1). Now instead of gunpowder, we can actually detect the debris coming out of the explosive around the scene or on people. The basic knowledge of forensic chemistry will help readers understand the full extent of the post.
Boston Marathon Event
            On April 16th, 2013, the Boston Marathon was interrupted by two bomb explosions after the winners crossed the line. The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon held on Patriots' Day - the oldest annual marathon - and all races and ethnics join in. According to "investigators", "the double bombing killed three people and injured 176 near the race finish line" (1). Currently, there is an investigation following a young man placing down a duffel bag near the second bombsite and dashing away. It is tragic that people would do such a thing, but with the application of science, we can bring those who do evil to justice.
Application of Forensic Chemistry
            To begin the forensic study of the area, there is a process that must be done before any scientists enter the area. The area must be deemed safe for anyone to come in, preventing anymore explosions with any hidden explosive yet to be triggered. Bombs in any case, have a similar protocol. After the explosion, scientists search for traces of debris and or explosive residue to reconstruct the bomb (Explosives 1). Scientists have discovered nails, brads within this crude homemade bomb incased by metal through screening tests and results from injured victims. These components have made the bomb more lethal. With the application chemistry to recreating the bomb, forensics can open more pathways for investigators to solving the case.
            Although forensic chemistry wasn't the only use in this crime, there were many uses of the science. Forensic chemistry is a vital part of the reconstruction of the scene and can help by fingerprints and analysis of the debris. The Boston Marathon is a multi ethnic event and this terrorist act is a threat to all, not just Americans. With forensics, we can hone down investigations and condense them to more specific searches to find the criminal at hand. Nonetheless, the impact forensic science has on any crime, not just the Boston Marathon, can help bring solace to the once tranquil world and imprison those who reap havoc.
Works Cited
"Explosives (historical cases)." World of Forensic Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Science In Context. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
"Forensic Chemistry." World of Chemistry. Gale, 2006. Science In Context. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
"Investigators 'zeroing in on Some People' in Boston Bombings, Officials Say." N.p., 16 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.

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