CYBER ATTACKS and MURDER

When I develop a new murder mystery idea, one of the primary issues that must be7bd5f5d8-dc13-48e6-bd65-e45ed27b534c-2 solved is determining how the murderer gains access to his victim, preferably without leaving evidence that can lead back to the villain. In this age of advanced forensics, “leaving no trace evidence” is becoming more difficult to work out in a fiction story.

However, a good friend of mine, Walt Lapinsky—who happens to be an expert in cyber security—has provided some interesting information in his latest blog about cyber attacks on our personal and professional data to gain access to our lives.

The comments in Walt’s “The last word” section of his blog made me realize how easy it would be to use everyday digital data to gain access to our homes, no matter how secure we may think they may be.

2073317_cyber-attack_7hqdjmj4am3d2cszxsyeykq4xpncurxrbvj6lwuht2ya6mzmafma_610x457When I thought about all the possible murder plots using such technology to gain access to our most secure personal spaces, I knew I had to reach out to Walt to ask permission to re-post his blog.

Walt graciously agreed and the following is his take on how a villain can gain access to his or her next victim. Click here for the link to his actual blog. Thanks for the suggestions, Walt!

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Advanced Cyber Attacks (by WR Lapinsky)1dc9472

Last time I wrote about The Websense 2015 Treat Report and my key takeaways. One of those takeaways was that cyber attacks are more focused. Attackers are moving from being focused on an industry, like health care, to focus on a specific company, like Anthem. We are starting to see attacks that are aimed specifically at one organization within a company, targeting the people in that organization who are likely to have access to something the cybercriminals want.

Here is one interesting example from last year involving hacktivists. Hacktivists are cyber-criminals who attack a company not to gain monetary value but to impair the operation of the company. In this case, their targets were the few people in the company that managed the building security and environmental controls. From far away, these hacktivists locked the doors to the main server room and disabled the emergency override controls, then turned off the air conditioning and turned up the heat. The end result was a room full of physically destroyed computers.

How is this kind of specific attack done? Websense describes the seven stages of advanced threats.

  • Stage 1: Recon
  • The first step is to determine at least one individual who has the access to the information you want. They start by using professional websites (like LinkedIn) to determine who works at the company and might be in the area in which they are interested. Then, through the use of personal and social media sites, determine others who might have the information they seek. They are also looking for the kinds of lures that might work with these selected individuals.
  • Stage 2: Lure
  • Using the recon information, the cybercriminals create lures that can fool users into clicking on a link. These lures are dangled in emails and social media posts that appear to be from trustworthy sources.
  • Stage 3: Redirect
  • When the lure works and the user clicks on the link, they are redirected to sites with malicious content such as exploit kits.
  • Stage 4: Exploit Kit
  • An Exploit Kit will scan the user’s workstation looking for vulnerabilities which allow the delivery of malware including key loggers or other tools to enable further infiltration of the network.
  • Stage 5: Dropper File
  • Once the Exploit Kit has discovered a path to deliver malware, the cybercriminal delivers a “dropper file.” The dropper file contains software to start finding and extracting data, and often includes additional capabilities to deliver other malware in the future, even after the existing vulnerabilities have been fixed. The dropper file may remain dormant for a period of time to avoid detection.
  • Stage 6: Call Home
  • Once the Dropper File has infected the target system, it “calls home” to the hacker’s command-and-control system. Now the dropper file can download additional programs and tools, and get instructions. Now there is a direct connection between the cybercriminal and the infected system.
  • Stage 7: Data Theft
  • At this point, the cybercriminal begins to collect the data. The data could be anything: intellectual property, financial, health or other personally identifiable data, or data that will enable additional attacks.

Not every advanced threat uses all seven stages. These same stages are also used in more general, less focused attacks.

Each of these stages provides a place to stop the attack. A prepared company has a kill chain against these advanced attacks that monitor and defend at every stage.

These attacks may be directed at the victim’s personal accounts, accounts with less protection and where the victim tends to be less careful. Also a victim’s personal computer may be more vulnerable to attack than the IT-controlled office workstation, but that personal computer may be used by the victim for work-related activities and thus may contain information useful to breaking-in to the office network.

The last word:

Today, you have the ability to use your smart phone to control your home thermostat and lock or unlock your doors. Just like the hacktivist example above, somewhere there is a group of hackers attacking you and the company that manages the communications with these devices. That company might be your Internet Service Provider (Comcast or Verizon, for example), or your home alarm company. If not already available, it will soon be possible to buy the access codes to a house or company or more likely subscribe to a BIaaS (Break-in as a service). For $1,000 the hackers will turn off the alarm, disable the video cameras, and unlock the back door at 2AM, then relock the doors, enable the video cameras and turn on the alarm at 5AM. They will know that you are away that night because they hacked into your newspaper’s database and noted your stop delivery request on your daily newspaper.

Welcome to our brave new world.

Comments solicited.

Keep your sense of humor.

Walt.

Posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, All About Murder, Blog Trends, Blog Writers, Blogging, Culture Shock, Cyber Security Issues, Cybercriminals, Cyberterrorism, Cyberwar, Developing Storyline Ideas, Fiction Based on Facts, Future Shock, Guest Blogging, Internet Security, James J. Murray Blog, Lapinsky, Using Cyber Security To Murder, Using Malware For Murder, Walt Lapinsky Blog, Websense, wrLapinsky | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Memorial Day Reflection

american-half-staffThis coming Friday initiates the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the United States. It’s actually celebrated on the last Monday in May. By the end of the week, people will be wishing everyone “Happy Memorial Day” or “Have a great Memorial Day weekend.”

While I certainly appreciate the good wishes and hope that the three-day holiday IS a good one, it gives me pause that we can be so upbeat about the observance. After all, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who died while serving our nation.

On the one hand, it saddens me that we party in remembrance of those who gave their lives protecting our nation and its interests. On the other hand, it certainly is worth celebrating that our fallen soldiers did not die in vain. Our nation and its citizensMemorial-Day-Pictures-Freew remain free and the opportunities to be an individual and to achieve a successful and meaningful life are as viable today as during those first days after our nation came into being—all because of the sacrifices of those who gave their lives protecting our freedoms.

I can’t help wondering, however, if the true meaning of Memorial Day isn’t lost on our everyday citizens. I also wonder how many school children can even articulate why we celebrate Memorial Day (or Labor Day or Veterans Day for that matter).

To clarify, Memorial Day is a day of reflection of those who sacrificed their lives and died while serving in the US military. Veterans Day, however, is truly a day of celebration honoring all US armed service veterans. Maybe a bit of history will help us understand the difference.

Memorial Day, which was originally called Decoration Day, was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 and first observed on May 30th of that year when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. This day of remembrance was set aside to commemorate those soldiers who gave their lives in the American Civil War.

Happy-Memorial-Day-Wallpapers-Free-DownloadThere is rich history on record regarding how the fallen were remembered in the Union territories as compared to Confederate territories. But the common thread was that the graves of the fallen soldiers were decorated on a certain date each May and a “dinner on the ground” often followed the decoration ceremony.

By the early 20th century, Memorial Day evolved into a more general expression of remembrance of all the deceased who had served in the military, and in 1971 Memorial Day became an official federal holiday.

In the late 20th century, however, Memorial Day evolved into a day of picnics and mass market bargain shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for that. But a little reminder that Memorial Day is both a time to reflect and to celebrate is in order.

We reflect on the sacrifices of military personnel and the loss to their families even as we celebrate that the price of those losses results in continued freedom and a stronger nation.

Lastly, I want to share an interesting bit of information regarding how to flyHalfMastFlag our flag on this special day. Tradition states that on Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the flagpole and then slowly and solemnly lowered to half-staff. It should remain at half-staff until noon. At that time, it should again be taken to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The reason for this ritual is that the half-staff position remembers those men and women who gave their lives in the service of their country. At noon, their memory is celebrated by the living who resolve not to let their sacrifices be in vain and to continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Enjoy your holiday weekend! Those who are no longer with us made that possible!

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A Memorial Day Reflection, How to Fly the US Flag on Memorial Day, Memorial Day and It's Meaning, Memorial Day Flag Ceremony, The Reason For Memorial Day, What is Memorial Day in the US, When and How is Memorial Day Celebrated in the US | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scorpion Venom – A Lethal Opportunity!

deathstalker_240Scorpions are predatory arthropods—exoskeleton or shell-like creatures. They originated in England in the High Middle Ages (around 1200 AD).

Although scorpion venom has a fearsome reputation, there are only about 25 varieties (out of the over 1,700 species) that have venom capable of killing a human being.

Using the venom of one of these deadly varieties as a murder weapon could create an interesting plot twist and help craft a rather exotic murder mystery.

But to do so, we should focus only on the deadly varieties of scorpions and, in particular, on one of the deadliest species. The Deathstalker scorpion is just such a killer. It’s also known as the Israeli Yellow Scorpion and its tail is full of powerful, lethal venom.

A sting from a Deathstalker is extremely painful and will cause localized muscle paralysis. As the venom spreads throughout the body, the paralytic effects become systemic and a person will eventually die.

The venom contains a small protein called chlorotoxin, a chemical that blocks chlorideMH900438738 ions from entering muscle cells. Without chloride ions present, the body’s muscles can’t relax. They remain rigid and are unable to function.

The symptoms of progressive systemic paralysis begin with fine motor skill impairment—such as the inability to move a hand properly or to walk without a limp.

Eventually, the muscles of the diaphragm are affected and breathing becomes difficult. The person will drool when the esophageal muscles tighten, thus preventing proper swallowing. Speech will be difficult as the tongue muscle ceases to function.

MH900332900Death usually results from suffocation since the muscles that control breathing become totally paralyzed, although at times the heart muscle ceases to function first and cardiac arrest is the cause of death.

As is sometimes the case with natural poisons, the venom of the Deathstalker has been shown to have medical benefits also. The special proteins in the Deathstalker scorpion’s venom are used as imaging agents.

When dilute versions of the venom are injected into a person, they seek out brain tumors and other cancerous tumors. When stimulated by a laser in the near-infrared part of the spectrum, the venom proteins emit a glow that, although invisible to the eye, can be captured by a camera.

Special laboratories (there are only two in the world) “milk” the Deathstalker and otherMH900289343 venomous creatures to extract their venom for drug research and medical purposes.

When developing murder mystery plots using exotic murder weapons—such as scorpion venom—one of the prime considerations is a reliable source of your lethal agent.

In this case, one of those special laboratories or a specialty hospital using the venom extract for imaging would make excellent, believable sources for your murder weapon.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About Writing, Acute Poisons, All About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Bloodless Death Scenes, Chemical Poisons, Deadly Scorpion Venom, Deathstalker Scorpion Venom, Deathstalker Scorprion, Designer Drug Deaths, Drugs For Murder Plots, Drugs Used For Murder, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Instruments of Death, Interesting Murder Weapons, Israeli Yellow Scorpion, Israeli Yellow Scorpion Venom, Killing Off Characters in Writing, Lethal Scorpion Venom, Murder Weapons Discussed, Murder With Drugs, New Drug Discoveries, New Drug Research, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Plotting Murder Scenes, Poisonous Scorpion Venom, Poisons Used For Murder, Scorpion Stings, Scorpion Venom, The Deadliest Scorprion, The Science of Murder, Tools for Murder, Tools of Murder, Types of Deadly Scorpions, Uncategorized, Writing Death Scenes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Synthetic Marijuana – Fact or Fiction?

Often I write about interesting designer drugs that can be used as murder weapons (like “Molly” in a previous blog). Today, I’d like to discuss another popular designer drug that’s been in the news recently.

Synthetic marijuana first appeared in the United States around 2009. It’s aimages-1 psychoactive designer drug created by spraying natural herbs with legal chemicals that imitate the effects of cannabis.

The chemicals used in the spray are called cannabinoids because they mimic the effects of real cannabis. They’re used to avoid the laws that make cannabis illegal and, although these chemicals do create a psychotropic effect, they don’t produce positive drug test results.

The detrimental effects of using synthetic marijuana, however, include severe agitation and delirium, confusion and extreme sleepiness, kidney damage and seizures.

imagesThe drug is becoming increasingly popular among the teen crowd, with the biggest users in the 12-17 year-old age category. That’s because the product often is sold in stores as a household item and is sometimes labeled as herbal incense. In other retail establishments, like head shops and convenience stores, the product is marketed as “K2” or “Spice”.

The hidden dangers of synthetic psychoactive drugs, like synthetic cannabis, areMH900427604 that the legal chemicals used to mimic the psychotropic effects of the real drug often create a psychosis; that is, they facilitate the onset or worsening of existing psychiatric disorders and therefore can produce enhanced hallucinations, delusions, violence and impaired insight. So anyone with a predisposition to a psychotic episode could be pushed over the edge by using these legal alternatives.

When a product is designed to mimic the effects of an illegal drug but is made with legal ingredients, the DEA must create a specific law to make that product illegal. Until that happens, the drug is considered “unofficial but legal” in many jurisdictions. But, as soon as the DEA outlaws a specific drug, a new variation is often designed and marketed as the next big thrill.

Statistics show that there’s a growing parallel market, called the grey market, for these alternatives to illegal drugs, and as soon as their use is made illegal new ones become available. The DEA has identified over 200 such new substances in the last five years alone.

MH900439326It would seem possible to stem their growth by heightened laws and enforcement, but I continue to wonder if a more prudent approach would be public education starting at an early age regarding the dangers of using these “pop up drugs” ~

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A New Drug Abuse Threat, A New Street Drug, About James J. Murray, Blog Writers, Blogging, Chemicals Used For Murder, Deadly Drugs in America, Designer Drug Deaths, Designer Poisons Used For Murder, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Drug Abuse, Drug Misadventures, Drugs For Murder Plots, Drugs Used For Murder, Euphoric Party Drugs, Interesting Murder Weapons, K2 Use, Marijuana and Colorado, Marijuana Deaths, Murder With Party Drugs, Party Drugs, Psychoactive Designer Drugs, Spice and Recreational Drugs, Synthetic Cannabis, Synthetic Marijuana, Synthetic Marijuana and Colorado, Synthetic Marijuana and Teenagers, Synthetic Marijuana and Teens, The Science of Murder, Tools of Murder, Unique Murder Weapons, Ways To Kill, Ways to Murder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Foods Can Kill

I often write about poisons and toxins that kill. After all, I write about murder and what better way to kill someone than with a substance that’s lethal but not so easy to detect.

mh900406537Such scenes make for good fiction reading, but a devastating reality is the fact that normal foods can kill also.

Reports of contaminated foods being recalled because they contain lethal bacteria are in the news often when people become ill after consuming them. However, there’s another side to the story of lethal foods.

Food allergies cause minor, and sometimes severe, allergic reactions. A recent visit to my allergist convinced me that the problem is much more prevalent than I ever realized. In fact, the statistics are staggering. Food allergies affect over 15 million Americans, and every three minutes a food allergy sends an American to the emergency room.

One in 13 children are included in this category—roughly two in an average American classroom—and nearly 40% of these children have already experienced a life-threatening food reaction, called anaphylaxis.

That means the reaction to the offending food caused a rapidly progressing allergic reaction that, if left untreated, would likely lead to death. The symptoms include rash development, a weak and rapid heartbeat, plummeting blood pressure, swelling in the oral mucosa and a lethal closure of the airways.

MH900177951Researchers tell us that the numbers of people with food allergies are increasing at a significant rate—an 18% jump in the decade between 1997 and 2007—and that peanut allergies have tripled.

Besides peanuts, some of the more common causes of severe food allergies include shellfish, wheat, soy, milk and eggs.

Scientists don’t have definitive answers for why this spike is happening, but there are some viable theories. As America continues to become a “cleaner society”, our children are not exposed to the irritants that older generations encountered and adapted to as they progressed through childhood.

Regarding the rapid increase in peanut allergies, scientists theorize that roasted peanuts may be part of the problem. In other countries with lower rates of peanut allergies, peanuts are often boiled and children in those countries begin consuming the ground-up food at an early age—at a few months old rather than at three or four years old, like in America.

So what do we do with this new information? There are injections that can be given toMH900308894 desensitize a person to many environmental allergies—like cedar, oak, dog, cat, etc. But, like many insect allergies, there are no desensitizing injections that are available for food allergies.

Presently, studies are being conducted with children who are highly allergic to specific foods. Small quantities of the offending food are introduced, with progressively larger portions, under controlled conditions in an attempt to desensitize the child to the severe allergy. But these treatments are still in the experimental stages and inconclusive at this point.

In 2012 a new organization was established to address the need for a cure of lethal food allergies. The organization is called Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and it was created from a merger between the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI). FARE combines the expertise of FAAN’s food allergy information resources and programs with FAI’s large private source of funding for food allergy research.

The focus of FARE is increased awareness of this growing problem and the need for better education regarding the impact of food allergies. But, by combining advocacy at all levels of government with world-class research to advance treatment options, the evolution into finding cure options can begin.

Having lived through a severe, almost lethal allergic medication reaction when I was a child, I have personal knowledge that anaphylaxis is a frightening experience, one that will stay with you the rest of your life.

MH900448407When a severe food allergy leads to anaphylaxis in a child, the entire family is impacted. The best prevention is knowledge and preparation. To that end, every parent should go to Anaphylaxis 101 for a short education in food allergies, what symptoms to look for and what to do if a severe reaction should occur.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Anaphylaxis, Blog Trends, Blog Writers, Blogging, Children and Food Allergies, Common Food Allergies, Food Allergies on the Rise, Foods and Lethal Allergic Responses, Foods That Kill, Lethal Agents and Murder, Lethal Food Allergies, Lethal Substances Used For Murder, Murder With Food, New Methods of Murder, Peanut Allergies, Peanut Oil as a Poison, Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals, Plotting Murder Scenes, Severe Allergies Used For Murder, Severe Food Allergies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MADE IN AMERICA: What About Our Prescription Drugs?

From time to time, news features on TV report a trend to “buy American”. The reportsMH900177764 suggest that Americans are choosing items made in America over similar items made overseas. That’s admirable—right up there with the “buy local” slogans. But sometimes doing that to support our fellow citizens and to keep jobs within our borders may be easier said than done.

MH900321090These news features made me think about our nation’s drug supply. What about those prescription products that we have in our medicine cabinets? Those pills, capsules and liquids we slosh down our gullets each morning, noon or night—where are they made? Certainly, they’re not made local, but are they even made on the North American continent?

We trust that any meds we consume are pure and safe, and as All-American as our favorite quarterback. But are they? As I pondered that question and the importance of prescription drugs in our modern world, I wondered if that trust was warranted or misplaced.

If the drug products are made on American soil, then we could assume that governmentalMH900400871 oversight of the manufacturing facilities are in place. But what happens if the products are not made here? And how can we be sure that a drug product is safe to consume if it’s been made overseas? Who assures us of the quality of those drugs made offshore? Is it our government, the prescribing physician, the local pharmacy, or the distribution network that links the drug manufacturing houses to that pill bottle we pick up at the corner drugstore?

Statistics indicate that approximately 40% of all prescription drugs dispensed in the United States are made TOTALLY outside of the country, and 80% of all drugs dispensed in the U.S. have active ingredients (the main drug ingredient in the product) that ORIGINATE from sources OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY. Those are staggering statistics!

Why is there so much foreign drug manufacturing? American medical know-how and our scientists are surely the best in the world. But am I just lumping our trusted drug supply in with apple pie, ball games and hot dogs?

A reputable domestic drug manufacturer recently estimated that it costs about 25 percent more to manufacture generic drugs in the U.S. than overseas. As with most other things, it comes down to dollars and cents! That’s a sobering statistic, but it’s about much more than just the pay differential or raw material costs.

MH900321072With my past experience in pharmaceutical/herbal manufacturing, I know something about Good Manufacturing Practices. That’s the set of rules and procedures that manufacturing houses follow to assure the FDA and the public that the products made are of expected quality and potency, and that tests are made of the finished goods to confirm that. The FDA regulates that in several ways but conducting regular, periodic inspections tops the list for keeping everyone honest.

Reality begins to rear its ugly head when we link those percentages of drugs and active ingredients that are NOT made in the U.S. to the statistics of FDA oversight of foreign manufacturing houses. There are more than 3,700 foreign facilities that make finished drugs and/or active ingredients for the U.S. market, and the FDA admits to inspecting only about 11% of those facilities. By contrast, a U.S. drug manufacturing plant would be inspected about once every two years.

Such statistics could be a deadly combination moving toward a perfect storm of pharmaceutical disaster.

BUT there is good news! The FDA has been allocated additional funding for unannounced foreign inspections, and “surprise inspections” are a great way to keep everyone honest.

The even better news is how the FDA controls the distribution of our nation’s drugs. Independent sources estimate that the U.S. drug supply is the safest in the world, with only about 1% of the drug supply not being consistent with what’s on the label. That means the drugs in your medicine cabinet have a 99% chance of being what you expect them to be.

The FDA, the DEA and other drug enforcement agencies at the state level monitor andMH900431268 regulate legitimate drug distribution throughout the process—from the wholesalers to local pharmacy inspections. And great care is taken by legitimate wholesale and retail operations to know the source of the medications flowing through their distribution pipeline. It’s good for their business reputation and great for our peace of mind. That’s why it’s so important to buy from reputable pharmacy establishments.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Are Generic Drugs Safe, Blog Writers, Blogging, FDA and On-Line Pharmacies, Generic Drug Manufacturing, Generic Drug Safety, Generic Drug Use, Generic Drugs, Generic Drugs in the US, Made In America, Medication Safety Issues, Offshore Manufacture of American Drugs, Our nation's drug supply, Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals, Prescription Drug Safety, Prescription Fill Practices in the US and Canada, Prescription Trends, The American Drug Supply, The Pharmacy Profession, Where Are America's Prescription Drugs Made? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Powdered Glass – An Instrument of Death?

Let’s say that you have a particularly nasty villain in your novel and want to kill him or herimages off in some unique way. You have a brilliant idea! Crush glass into fine shards and mix them into the villain’s food. Your character will certainly die an agonizingly painful and slow death. I’ve seen it written that a teaspoonful of crushed glass will puree anyone’s intestines.

Well . . . maybe that could be true. But the science really doesn’t back up that statement, even though the use of finely ground glass covertly mixed in food has been used in murder mystery plots in the past.

We’ve seen it before, both in books and on film: Crush glass into a fine powder and add the pulverized fragments to whatever your victim is about to ingest. Shortly, your victim falls to the floor, writhing in agony and eventually dying a painful death. Supposedly, the victim’s intestinal tract would shred and the person would bleed out internally, eluding all but the most experienced medical examiners.

Unfortunately, the science behind this intriguing method of murder simply doesn’t pan out. In order for the glass to be undetected in food, it would have to be ground so fine that when mixed in food it couldn’t be detected. The problem is that finely powdered glass wouldn’t pose much of a threat to the GI tract. There simply would not be enough rough edges left to “chew up” GI tissue.

On the other hand, if the glass particles were crushed into fine pebbles, then the Plate-of-broken-glassresulting shards would have enough spikes and splintery angles to cause micro-tears to the GI tract and possibly cause enough internal bleeding that the victim would die. However, such gritty nuggets would not be palatable and would be detected when the victim chewed the food.

Hmm! Too finely ground and the glass doesn’t damage enough to kill, and crushing the glass into larger nuggets would kill but could be detected and likely be spit out by the victim before the glass had a chance to do irrevocable damage.

Now that’s a dilemma! This is beginning to seem like a Goldilocks Problem: thisMH900116044 one’s too finely ground, and that one’s too course and would be detected. So could there be a situation where the glass is ground just right to cause lethal damage but yet not be detected? Probably not, but glass splinters would be a good alternative if used in the proper setting.

Fine glass splinters in food or drink that’s quickly ingested could prove to be lethal and yet not be detected, at least not until it’s too late to spit out.

Think about dropping glass splinters into a shot glass, for instance. A shot of tequila, with some glass splinters discreetly dropped in, would go down in one big gulp—down the gullet and on their way to chewing up GI tissue along the way. How about a second shot? Add more splinters and down the gullet again—lethal glass splinters chasing more lethal glass.

dollar-oystersI remember my father loved to eat raw oysters in hot sauce. He’d pry open the shell, add some hot sauce and let the oyster slide down his throat. Sprinkle glass splinters into that hot sauce or over the top of those oysters and you’d have a lethal dose of glass sliding down the throat along with that oyster.

So powdered glass as a lethal weapon might not work so well, but break the glass into slivers and fine splinters and that might prove to be lethal and as painful a death as expected—a perfect combination for writing an exciting murder scene.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, About James J. Murray, About Murder, About Writing, Blog Writers, Blogging, Broken Glass and Murder, Characteristics of Murder, Choosing How a Character Should Die in a Story, Crushed Glass and Murder, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, Designing Murder Plots, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Glass Shards and Murder, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Instruments of Death, Interesting Murder Weapons, Killing a Villain in a Novel, Killing Off Characters in Writing, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, New Methods of Murder, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Powdered Glass and Murder, Prescription For Murder Blog, The Science of Murder, Tools of Murder, Unique Murder Plots | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments