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May 10, 2013

FREY: Making an everyday appliance a deadly device

It is a common kitchen appliance used every day across the world. My Aunt Dot used one quite often, mainly to prepare sauerbraten, a German pot roast dish.

I never owned one, mainly because I was suspicious about the steam escaping out of the little hole on the top of the lid.

And because I have never owned one, I had never given much thought to the pressure cooker, that was until one week after the Boston Marathon bombings, when my friend Lewie came to visit.

The story goes like this.

The day that Lewie and his wife returned home from vacation, which was five days after the bombings, he decided to cook a piece of beef in his pressure cooker for dinner.

It would be quick and easy way to prepare a meal, my friend decided, and would allow time for unpacking and such.

After seasoning the meat and adding salt and pepper to the broth, and with lid firmly in place, Lewie turned on the fire under the cooker.

He said he took pause for a moment, and began to wonder what in the world would possess someone to use a lowly pressure cooker as a weapon of death, maiming, and overall mayhem.

Lewie solemnly pointed out that the pressure cooker, after all, is a utensil of love, used to prepare things like seasoned green beans and marinated roasts.

The food prepared in pressure cookers, at least in my friend’s world, ends up on the plates of family and friends, culminating in fellowship and laughter. Lewie said that he hails from a long line of women who used pressure cookers for cooking on a regular basis.

The recent developments in Boston were disconcerting, heart breaking, and so very sad, my friend added.

He ended with the statement: “The entire situation is repugnant.”

And I agree.

Clark Kent Ervin, former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, along with other people in the know, say that the two bombs were crude devices.

After checking the dictionary, crude in this instance means uncultivated simplicity and rough or inexpert in plan and execution.

I disagree.

There was no uncultivated simplicity in conjuring up such a demonic scheme, gathering metal ball bearings and nails, and then placing those ball bearing and nails in pressure cookers with intent to harm.

There is nothing inexpert in plan and execution about methodically placing the pressure cookers in back packs, showing up at the Boston Marathon, placing those back packs at the finish line, and diabolically using a remote-controlled detonator used for toy cars to trigger the explosions.

It was reported by a doctor who treated many of the victims that the bomb’s contents caused a “bloodbath.“ The was force so great that one of the lids was found on the roof of a building.

Where does crude come into play?

And to make matters worse, we soon hear reports that the two suspects were unhappy living in the United States of America.

Lewie had a comment about that as well: “Those two were unhappy living here? Well, I know a few people, myself included, who would gladly have scraped together enough money to send them back home. We don’t want or need those kind here!”

Crude devices? I think not.

And we don’t have to look much past the image of then 7-year-old Richard Martin, with his beautiful smile and wide eyes, holding a light blue poster board that read: “No more hurting people. Peace” to determine if the bombs were crude or not.

Alvia Lewis Frey is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at alewisfrey@aol.com.

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