This is only text. You should read it.

I read a story in the print WSJ yesterday that shocked me. I tried to find it online, but couldn’t. Last April, a group of people cut some telephone lines outside San Jose and then proceeded to open fire on an electrical substation with high-powered rifles and destroy all the transformers. It was apparently the electrical substation that causes Silicon Valley to be well-lit. They fired for 20 minutes or so, then melted away into the night.

Authorities had to reroute some stuff and make a few power plants produce extra power to prevent the blackout. It took a month to repair the damage.

The police responding to the 911 call arrived 1 minute after the last transformer went down, and they found no one on the site. To this day, no one has been arrested. I have a few observations after the cut.

1. The most shocking part of it is that it happened a year ago and I just now heard about it. I am alert to this kind of thing. I wonder if it was suppressed because it looks so easy. It is not really easy to do that and get away in 20 minutes. See #2

2. Military efficiency and planning is implied in the timing.

3. It does not feel like an international operation to me. If I were the Director of the FBI, I would be hauling in some domestic extremists and interrogating them.

4. This touched off one of the best conversations I have had all month.

5. Did anyone hear about this before I wrote it? If you have never commented here before, this is your perfect opportunity.

6. Why was this not the first thing that Google showed me when I searched Wall Street Journal San Jose Snipers?

7. WTF?


9 thoughts on “This is only text. You should read it.

  1. I live in Fresno 3 hours away and didn’t hear about that.

    There are a lot of hate groups in the area according to SPLA so it might be one of them.

    Law enforcement may have asked that it not be publicized.


    • I tend to agree, on both counts. If there is an argument for keeping info from the mass media, it’s the details of events like this that should be withheld.

      I’m not really sure how I feel about the event itself not being reported, but the spread in the Wall Street Journal with graphic layout of the substation explaining just how the transformers were taken down was rather chilling. I probably should have made that more clear in the post – I just reread and it didn’t come through (I was in a hurry).


  2. Wow, I heard nothing about this, and I try to stay informed in case a student asks a question about a current investigation. It’s definitely a possibility that the reporting was kept to a minimum due to concerns over copycat crime. But that hush-hush edict had to have come from a pretty high level due to the nature of the crime (infrastructure attack). Very interesting. And scary.


    • Yes, both. I’ve been thinking about it a bit. I’m taking a weird comfort in knowing that such a thing can be hushed up.

      My final opinion is that the event should have been reported locally, and had its chance to go viral like everything else, but the details should have been buried.

      After careful consideration, the level of detail in that Wall Street Journal piece makes me uncomfortable, even a year later. But we do have a right to know this stuff is going on. That is a fine line for some bureaucrats and journalists to walk, I know, but I think i am being reasonable.


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