Hey, Boston, do you hear that sound? Yeah, that's the one...that faint hissing noise...the one that's getting louder by the second. Do you recognize the sound? If not, let me clue you in: It's a large, flying skewer....and it's heading right for you.
from MSNBC online
Young Bostonians familiar with the unconventional marketing tactics used by
many companies tended to see the city’s reaction as unmitigated hysteria.
Trust me, oh sheltered ones, it's not just "young Bostonians" who feel this way. There are some of us that fall in the "middle-aged hayseed hicks from the Corn Belt" category who also feel that "unmitigated hysteria
" is a fair analysis.
Tracy O’Connor, 34, a retail manager, called the police response “silly and insane,” contrasting it with that in other cities where no one reported concerns about the devices — an advertising gimmick for the Cartoon Network show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”
“We’re the laughingstock,” she said.
To be fair, Tracy, you're
not the laughing stock at this point. But your city leaders and anyone else who is towing the "better safe than sorry
" line in anything other than a politely tongue-in-cheek fashion most certainly are
For example, this is an official statement from Boston police commissioner Edward Davis:
“The city clearly did not overreact. Had we taken any other steps, we would have been endangering the public,” he said.
No, Mr. Davis, the city most certainly overreacted. More accurately, the city hyperreacted. After it was determined that the first "device" was nothing more than a Lite-Brite
with a battery pack, it might have been wise to not
put the entire city on DEFCON 1
. What you effectively did was the metropolitan version of "crying wolf."
“People can be smug and say all you have to do is look at this and know this is not an explosive device, but the truth of the matter is that you can’t tell what it is until it’s disrupted,” Davis said.
Evidently, officials and citizens in other cities disagree.
The devices didn’t prompt calls of concern in any of the nine other cities where Turner said the devices were placed. Police in the other cities fanned out to find and remove them after Boston’s scare.
Most of Boston’s colleagues in law enforcement in the other cities chose their words carefully.
“I wouldn’t want to give my opinion, but in today’s world it’s better safe than sorry. Someone (in Boston) clearly thought there was a threat,” Atlanta police Officer Joe Cobb said.
In the Seattle area, authorities thought the devices were “obviously not suspicious.”
“In this day and age, whenever anything remotely suspicious shows up, people get concerned — and that’s good,” King County sheriff’s Sgt. John Urquhart said. “However, people don’t need to be concerned about this. These are cartoon characters giving the finger.”
How very diplomatic. Of course, there are others who are not being so subtle
. I tend to fall in the latter category.
Falling in the former category (laugh on the inside, remain composed on the outside), like most
of the uninvolved public officials who have commented on the record, the judge who presided over the arraignment of Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens (the two guys who have unwittingly started the clock on their 15 minutes of fame over this ordeal) had this
Judge Paul K. Leary told [Assistant Attorney General John] Grossman that, according to law, the suspects must intend to create a panic to be charged with placing hoax devices.
It appears the suspects had no such intent, the judge said, but the question should be discussed in a later hearing.
Ultimately, it appears as if the final question will be "who pays for this?
" Obviously the city of Boston and the State of Massachusetts would like to wash their hands of the matter quickly to avoid further embarassment, but at this point, it's fairly easy to predict that they will likely not be making the wise decision to shut their collective mouth anytime soon. They will continue to go on the record, making ridiculous statements about their not-excessive and not-overblown reaction(s) to this mystery-device menace.
For example, here's congressman Ed Markey (D - Mass):
"Whoever thought this up needs to find another job."
"Scaring an entire region, tying up the T and major roadways, and forcing first responders to spend 12 hours chasing down trinkets instead of terrorists is marketing run amok," Markey, a Democrat, said in a written statement. "It would be hard to dream up a more appalling publicity stunt."
What? What in the fuck is this guy talking about? A major question in my mind that remains to be answered is were Bostonians more alarmed by the illuminated signage or the bomb-squads, the closed interstates and the paramilitary lock-down that was imposed upon them by their elected and appointed authority figures?
What dumbfucks like Markey fail to realize is that authorities
caused the hysteria...
Some people have suggested that just because these signs were odd and unfamiliar, they should not be used for marketing in this fashion...as if this is somehow irresponsible. Right. Like anyone could have forseen this absurd reaction. A commentor at NielsenHayden.com
made the following comparison:
It would be different if there where a bomb was disguised as a weird looking device. Using history as a guide, bombers put bombs in normal looking things that don't draw attention. The IRA put them in trash cans. Ted Kazinski put them into normal looking packages. Bombers in Iraq put them in parked cars and piles of rubbish. The Red Army Faction put the bomb that killed Alfred Herrhausen in a bicycle book bag.
By carefully examining weird looking devices all we are doing is making sure that bombers are only putting bombs in their usual locations. It's like having a guy come to your house and make sure cattle aren't nesting in your chimney. You can't argue that it wouldn't be a problem if they were, what with carbon monoxide and all, and yet I doubt you'd pay money for the service.
Also, in this situation they didn't yell fire in a theater. What they did was yell something like, "Hey Mike!" Someone else concluded that the only reason you'd want to get Mike's attention was because you had finished dumping gasoline on the floor and he had the lighter. If your goal is preventing arson there is probably a better way to go about it.
Brilliant! Now, check this out from the Guardian
“The packages in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger,” Turner said in a statement. It said the devices have been in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas, San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Police said only that they were investigating where the device came from. The Department of Homeland Security said there are no credible reports of other devices being found elsewhere in the country.
Emphasis mine. You realize, my friends, that this was the official DHS position even after Turner admitted the blinking signs were distributed nationwide. I don't know about you, but I feel a little screwed by the government. They designed and built DHS to protect us from the world and these are the results we get? That's one well-connected agency, folks.
1. The devices have been up for weeks in ten other cities, and no one’s panicked.
2. The devices have been up for weeks in ten other cities, and the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t know about it.
What in the name of God are we doing, America?
More on this later, I can't get enough of it.
Labels: ATHF, Boston, Democrats, fear mongering, First Amendment, terrorism