Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

February 1, 2007

Boston Bomb Scare

by @ 8:15 am. Filed under Current Events

As a small article in today’s Globe points out, yesterday’s terrorist alert in Boston illustrates a cultural divide between a younger generation that has embraced new technology and new ways of doing things and (for lack of a better term), the “establishment.” Since one of the ongoing themes of this blog is to explore new technology and new uses for this technology, emphasizing this angle seems appropriate. It all began yesterday when a railway worker spotted a suspicious looking package placed under an overpass and called the police. When the police scrutinized it more closely and saw wires running from the device and an attached battery pack, they called the bomb squad. Through the day, other similar devices were located and seized. It turns out they were all part of a marketing campaign to promote the Cartoon Network’s “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” a program it seems no one had ever heard of (maybe that’s why they needed to do some marketing). By this morning, two of the men - “artists” - who emplaced the devices have been arrested and Mayor Menino and others have vowed to sue Turner Broadcasting (the owner of the Cartoon Network) for reimbursement for the cost of the public safety response. Watching a news conference of public officials late last night, I felt that their outrage seemed a little bit forced. I’m sure they were extremely and legitimately angry, but they may be overplaying the “threat to public” safety card. That in turn, plays into a counter reaction that is bubbling up now that asserts the officials in Boston grossly over-reacted, citing for support that fact that the same devices had been installed in a dozen other major US cities and no where else did anyone react in this manner. My view: I think the initial governmental response was appropriate. In the post-9/11 age, we can no longer afford to ignore strange or suspicious events or items, shrugging them off as innocent coincidences. This marketing scheme was just plain reckless, so there blame must be placed at the feet of those who came up with it and carried it out. Still, once it became apparent that there was an innocent explanation, the authorities should have ratcheted down the rhetoric while firmly explaining why this was such a bad idea. By carrying on at a fever pitch, however, they risk not only losing the attention of a whole segment of society, but of further alienating them and making them downgrade the importance of constant vigilance against terrorist threats.

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