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Security On The Blink In Boston

Friday, Feb. 02, 2007 5:45 AM

The overreaction of Boston authorities to an admittedly ill-conceived marketing ploy for Turner-owned Cartoon Network and their animated program, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," shows just how badly we have 9/11 on the brain.

Let's be clear. There's nothing wrong with citizens calling in to report a suspicious device. There's nothing wrong with police and other first responders investigating said device. But at some point, there has to be a measure of actual thought. As in determining, before or after securing the device, that it simply is in the wrong place to be an explosive device, and � most important � wasn't one at all.

Instead, we're treated to everyone from the mayor to the governor and a congressman grumping about how Things Should Be Different In A Post-9/11 World, that We Have To Take This Seriously. We get a news conference with an officer gingerly holding one of the offending devices, and if you thought the story was goofy to begin with, nothing brings it home like seeing solemn-faced authorities denouncing a Space Invader-like figure as a Danger To Homeland Security.

Overlooked is the fact that if terrorists really wanted to plant explosive devices on bridges, they wouldn't be putting them in boxes covered in attention-getting blinking lights.

Yes, it was a stunt on a par with Paramount's botched promotional for Mission: Impossible 3, where audio devices set to play the recognizable theme song fell off their mounting � scaring people out to collect their morning paper.

But these animated signs have been posted in ten cities for over three weeks, and no one in the other cities � including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia � has managed to demonstrate how easy it is to screw with our brains.

Nothing is well-served by this hysteria, propagated by elected officials, of all people. It only shows how ill-prepared they are in their self-proclaimed Post 9/11 World.

Even the judge presiding over the arraignment of the two artists hired to post the signs pointed out that the City of Boston will have to establish intent. Good Luck.

But perhaps Turner may want to consider a billboard for future ads.

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