Thought bombs

Mooninite bombsAm I the only one who sees the arrest of two artists as a scary thing. Boston had a citywide “bombscare” because of the “Mooninite” magnetic LED signs that had been posted near roadways in the city. The two men responsible for building the devices have been arrested for making “bomblike” devices. The CNN story reads: “Assistant Attorney General John Grossman called the light boards ‘bomblike’ devices and said that if they had been explosive they could have damaged transportation infrastructure in the city.”

Yes, and if Hello Kitty dolls were explosive, they could blow up thousands of children. If chihuahuas were explosive, they could do serious damage to the sidewalks of New York. So, what Boston police are basically saying is that these were bombs without the explosives. Or the timing mechanisms. You know, they had electronics and stuff. And LED lights: which, although they may not exist on most real bombs, are plentiful in movie bombs. Oh, and don’t forget the image of a character from television flipping you off–that clearly screams out “bomb” to me.

Obviously, these guys are not going to do any time: no reasonable person could have predicted that people would thing magnetic lights were bombs. What I deplore is the fascist public arrest and shunning of public artists. OK, maybe that public art in tinged with the grime of advertising, but I would prefer interesting advertising to the carpeting (carpet bombing?) of billboards that is the norm.

The only saving grace so far is the reaction of the two “thought bombers” who refused to answer any questions not related to 1970s coiffures:

Both men were cooperative with authorities, and neither has a previous criminal record in Massachusetts, Grossman said.

In a news conference, Rich told reporters he had advised his clients not to discuss the incident. Stevens and Berdovsky took the podium and said they were taking questions only about haircuts in the 1970s.

When a reporter accused them of not taking the situation seriously, Stevens responded, “We’re taking it very seriously.” Asked another question about the case, Stevens reiterated they were answering questions only about hair and accused the reporter of not taking him and Berdovsky seriously.

Reporters did not relent and as they continued, Berdovsky disregarded their queries, saying, “That’s not a hair question. I’m sorry.”

The mayor has come out and called the advertising stunt “outrageous.” I think that was the idea. “Unconscionable” has also come up–but I think that is the most appropriate way to label the police’s over-reaction. Is it appropriate to call out the bomb squad? Sure, why not. But only an idiot thinks that the device pictured here is a bomb. And as the article notes, a quick web-search would have told them what the device actually was.

Update: Great video of the interview is up on YouTube. Hilarious.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 2/2/2007 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Well done on the very cliche “fascist” accusation…

    But beyond that inaccurate assessment, it is the people who reported the devices are the ones who by rights should be fined for stupidity. Crying wolf benefits no one, but their money will help the city recover costs wasted on calming their feeble minds.

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