Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fear of dying

Details are emerging about the great Boston bomb scare and I want to revisit the story for moment because I think theres's some important lessons here. The two terrorists for Capitalists who put up the signs, pled not guilty and held a hilarious press conference about hair cuts. Alternet has the video that also contains some shots of the nefarious device. As I suspected, it appears to be the sort of advertising novelty one might normally see in a bar for a beer company. A plastic box with lights and affixed with magnets, hence the reason they were placed on bridge struts and other metal surfaces.

Capt Fogg gives the authorities a pass in the comments here, but I still say they overreacted. Now to be fair, since 9/11 orginated at Logan, they do have some really good reasons to err on the side of caution and the image is sort of meancing, but creating a mass panic and paralyzing the city, does more harm than good. For one thing, knowing Boston drivers as I do, I bet there were a lot more accidents because of the abrupt road closures. For another, the more false alarms there are, the less seriously the public will take a real bomb threat.

But most importantly, the boxes, with all their flashing lights, were all over the city for at least two weeks before anyone noticed. It simply illustrates the deficiencies in our vigiliance against terrorist attacks and the inability of our homeland security protocols to really protect us from anything. Actual terrorists would be unlikely to mark their bombs with lights.

Nobody can protect us from death. But fear of dying can destroy our quality of life. If we panic at every phantom threat, then the real terrorists have already won without lifting a finger.
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Blogger Kathy said...

I agree they overreacted, and the sentencing these two men face is way over the top too. I heard on the news this morning they face up to 5 years in prison. They didn't kill anyone, steal anything or assault anyone, but they're looking at 5 years! Meanwhile, the Bush administration is responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries and they don't even get a slap on the wrist.

Our country has lost touch with reality big time.

11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

This press conference is the funniest thing I saw all week. People thought cartoon characters giving the finger were bombs?! You're right, terrorists are not likely to mark their bombs with flashing LED lights like in the movies. Maybe in a little while some officials in Boston will be able to laugh about this. The "perpetrators" already are.

12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Kathy, I can't believe they'll ever see the inside of a jail cell, Boston's new law about hoax devices notwithstanding. It's clear they were just hired hands and Boston just wants to save some face by talking tough I think.

DoS - I thought it was pretty hilarious too. Those guys clearly knew what to do with their 15 min. of fame. I won't be surprised if they parlay it into a book deal or something.

3:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. People don't realize that terrorism is a daily concen onthe east coast. this is probably hilarious to people in flyover states, to whom 9/11 is a point of patriotism and not much more. that's why people in New York and Boston are so bullshit at this administration.

MIT has full functioning nuclear labs. There are women in full burqua walking around in the hospital district. the big dig is practicly collapsing as it is.

3:27:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Lester, I lived in Mass for many years, including those after 9/11. I think caution is good, vigilance helps but living in fear is destructive.

4:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there was a foiled plot on the Zakim bridge before 9/11, by some neo nazi guy who turned out to be half black or something. Plus, it's not like New York, there aren't wacky things and weird public art pieces everywhere. I'm the only one I know who thinks Boston police did the right thing, but really it's not going to take much to knock down the big dig.

5:35:00 PM  

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