Now we all know that not everyone can get on with their neighbours; Lord knows I’ve had one or two that really wouldn’t play nice. Of course, there are those who argue that you can just win them over by being friendly.
I’ve got a gun licence now so I’ve been considering the ramifications to neighbour relations if I go all Gaza Strip on Cam’s dog next time it dumps a chocolate mine on the lawn.
But the reality is that I would rather have Cam continue to pop over for a yarn about the Broncos, or whether Kreepy Krauly is better than Barracuda, than have a turd-free lawn.
Living cheek-by-jowl with people who don’t share your DNA is a challenging thing to do, but can be worth the effort if compromise is employed.
Instead of pulling the trigger, that Lebanese shooter should have strolled over to the fence, said g’day and offered to hold the ladder.
Unfortunately, however, some neighbours just can’t be reasoned with in this way. There is, for instance, always the chance that the weird-looking guy at the end of your floor is actually a trained agent of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and right this second is at work preparing explosive material with which to blow your unbelieving ass off the face of the planet.
Luckily, the good people at Stratfor have given us this handy guide on how to spot that Timothy McVeigh down the hallway.
They should be suspicious, for example, if a new tenant moves several bags of fertilizer into an apartment in the middle of a city, or if a person brings in gallons of acetone, peroxide or sulfuric or nitric acid. Furthermore, in addition to chemicals, bombmakers also utilize laboratory implements such as beakers, scales, protective gloves and masks — things not normally found in a hotel room or residence.
Additionally, although electronic devices such as cell phones or wristwatches may not seem unusual in the context of a hotel room or apartment, signs that such devices have been disassembled or modified should raise a red flag, as these devices are commonly used as initiators for improvised explosive devices. There are also certain items that are less commonly used in household applications but that are frequently used in bombmaking, things like nitric or sulfuric acid, metal powders such as aluminum, magnesium and ferric oxide, and large quantities of sodium carbonate — commonly purchased in 25-pound bags. Large containers of methyl alcohol, used to stabilize nitroglycerine, is another item that is unusual in a residential or hotel setting and that is a likely signal that a bombmaker is present.
Fumes from the chemical reactions are another telltale sign of bombmaking activity. Depending on the size of the batch being concocted, the noxious fumes from an improvised explosive mixture can bleach walls and curtains and, as was the case for the July 2005 London attackers, even the bombmakers’ hair. The fumes can even waft outside of the lab and be detected by neighbors in the vicinity. Spatter from the mixing of ingredients like nitric acid leaves distinctive marks, which are another way for hotel staff or landlords to recognize that something is amiss. Additionally, rented properties used for such activity rarely look as if they are lived in. They frequently lack furniture and have makeshift window coverings instead of drapes. Properties where bomb laboratories are found also usually have no mail delivery, sit for long periods without being occupied and are occupied by people who come and go erratically at odd hours and are often seen carrying strange things such as containers of chemicals.
So there you have it. If your neighbours have platinum-blonde hair, white curtains and no furniture, you better be watching – especially if you’re always wondering why they need so much fertilizer to feed one sorry-looking pot plant.
You also could be tipped-off if they like taking their phone apart to play with the insides and apparently it’s not normal for people to start getting 10kg bags of sulphuric acid.