Monte Davis (montedavis) wrote,
Monte Davis

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Boston Blinkie

I try not to clutter this space with the nine-day wonders, but the Boston bomb scare story  has "culture war" and "project your phobia" written all over it.

One netizen I respect commented: "I tend to think this kinda stuff isn't funny in this day and age."
GMAFB -- look at the photos. What do you see? This is is not a duffel bag artfully left open with wires, a bundle of highway flares, and a bit of clock face showing. This is not (as other stories called it) a "package." Even the WaPo's choice of the words "small electronic circuit boards" and "[a] magnetic object, which looked like circuit boards with protruding wires" is loaded. What this is, what you see, what was  located and positioned for passersby to see, is a display panel.

To anyone in this culture over the age of 14 months, it says Here I am, look at me

much louder than Mystery hardware in inappropriate location...

let alone Doh dee doh, nothin to see here foax, move along while I get ready to explode

Is it super-extra-suspicious because it's attached to a girder under a highway? I've spent many happy hours in New Jersey traffic jams approaching the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. I've seen thousands of non-official signs and other forms of display attached to girders under I-95 and US 1. My heartbeat stayed steady.

Does the display panel show red numbers counting balefully down to apocalypse? (Cut the blue wire, Bond... the blue wire!)

Does it show the Arabic characters for

Surrender Laura!
(And her little dog Barney, too!)

No, it shows a stylized, chunky-pixel block figure flipping the bird. I've never watched the Aqua Teen show... but I like to think I'd know if this were the globally recognized Logo of Doom, spray-painted by Hezbollah teens, thousand-stitched into kamikaze belts by Aum Shinrikyo fanatics, branded into the privy door at the Unabomber's country place.

I can readily understand a Boston train passenger calling to report a quick glimpse. I have no quarrel at all with the decision to send a patrolman, even a bomb team, to check it out. But from the first moment someone got a close look at it, the response should have been ratcheting down, not up.

Now Boston's press and politicians and prosecutors -- and a good chunk of the punditocracy, not all on the usual GWoT Team -- are all committed to righteous indignation, and will have a hard time backing down.

Prediction #1: Legal charges and damage claims will, nonetheless, be quietly dropped. Too much fun for defense counsel otherwise.

Prediction #2: Right now, enterprising reporters are poring through 911 logs for all the other cities involved (and for Boston previously) to find out how many times authorities could have given themselves a wedgie about these signs... and didn't.
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