I’m off to D.C.

Tuesday I make a quicky trip to D.C. to demostrate the project I have been working on for the last few months.   Sort of a weird demo.  I demostrate a computer vulnerablity that has for the most part never been exploited.  This is so we can “scare them” into giving us money to develop the countermeasures to it.  [Deleted on May 18, 2005 in an attempt to please PNNL management] I leave early Tuesday morning (way, way too early for me), have a one hour meeting on Wednesday morning, then arrive back in Richland that evening.

Steptoe Butte

Yesterday afternoon Barb and I went to Steptoe Butte hoping to go on a hike.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find a trail that we could hike on.  We enjoyed the view and took a few pictures.  The one thing that I thought was very interesting was that “Steptoe” is a term used to describe a particular geological formation.  But it was Steptoe Butte, here on the Palouse, that was the inspiration for that term and it is used worldwide now.

I made a phone call and got someone arrested

Monday evening a friend of Xenia’s sent me a couple chat sessions she had with a 14 year-old boy in Tennessee with a somewhat cryptic message:

If you need information I will give it to you.

It seemed very odd. It’s extremely rare that I get email from her and in general she seems to be afraid of me. I started reading the chat session and realized this was something very important. I called my daughter to see what she knew about the situation and after chatting with her a little while called her friend’s father. Basically he knew all about the situation but didn’t quite know how to execute on the appropriate plan of action. I asked if he wanted to me to handle it and he said that would be fine.

I composed the following email (with names and other identifying information removed) that night.

The following message and attachment was sent to me by XXX XXX who is a friend of my 16 year-old daughter. The attachment contains two instant message sessions between XXX and 14 year-old YYY YYYY in —, TN.

XXX is also about 16 years old. She lives with her father, AAA, in Moscow Idaho. Her phone number is: 111-111-1111

Some of the more interesting bits of information in the attachment are the following messages from YYY:

Mm, and school has been taxing, what with the tauntings and whatnot of my peers. Ah, well. Let them feed my anger all until senior year. Joke’ll be on them.

Hahaha. -Strokes all of my school blue prints.-

I’ve not said any details, and if I did shoot a school up.. I wouldn’t come out alive.

I would kill that bitch, if I could make that detour before sending the school to Hell.

Columbine’s gonna’ have NOTHING on me.

Additional information XXX provided for me:
Firstname Middlename Lastname
Home: 731-222-2222
Home Address:
— — —
—-, TN 00000
E-mail: —-
Birthdate: —

My cell phone number is 208-301-4254. My work phone number is 509-375-2201.

Please don’t hesitate to call me if I can help in any way.


The next morning I called the number I found for the police in that town to try and get an email address. The lady that answered responded with an appropriate amount of concern but said she didn’t think the address was in town and that I should call the sheriff’s office. She gave me the number and said to press “15” when I got the automated receptionist. I did that and it ran a number of times and then transferred to what the machine said was the receptionist. That rang a number of times before it said to try later. I called again and this time listened to my options for who to contact. It turns out “15” was for the prison tower. “20” sounded like a better option which was the detectives office. Another woman answered and listened for about 30 seconds before telling me, “I’m going to let you talk to my chief.” Fine. Three times I get to tell this story and all I really want to do is get an email address. But the chief came on and he listened carefully. I finished my story and asked for an email address. He gave it to me without any hesitation and I asked him to send me a confirming email if he got it. Otherwise I was going to call back in 10 minutes or so. He agreed and three minutes later I received this:

Message received. Am contacting investigators immediately. Thanks for your help. Will advise if further assistance needed.

About 40 minutes after the first message from the chief I received the following:

Subject well know by school officials. Officers on the way to take him into custody. Will advise.

A little less than five hours later and I received this:

Subject is custody of Juvenile Court. Mental health counselors and parents are also involved. Thanks for your concern. You may still get a call f/ one of the investigators.

Then a couple days later I received this:

Just a final follow up;

YYY has been charged in Juvenile Court. He has been removed from the school system and ordered to counseling pending the hearing. He is considered a realistic threat. Thanks again for your quick thinking and concern.

Game over — I hope. Xenia’s friend is apparently a “little freaked out” but realizes she did the right thing. Xenia seems to think it was no big deal. Her friend had a problem and Dad took care of it for her.