Saturday, February 10, 2007

A New Step for the Boston Knee-Jerk

Sounds like a catchy name for a line dance, doesn't it? The Boston Knee-Jerk. I almost wish it was.

Turns out that Jim Samples, the head fry-cook over at Cartoon Network, has resigned in light of the Boston fiasco. One of my first reactions was, "Wow! There's actually a guy at the top of a company willing to take responsibility for the actions of his company rather than 'cleaning house' among the lower ranks! That's actually the kind of person that you would want to be in charge of a company." Then the reality set in that he was no longer in charge of the company. Ironic, isn't it? My next thought was, "Why on earth should he resign? At most, the advertising company (not the network) deserves fines for placing advertisements without filing proper permits and such. The hysteria created was not their fault."

The city leaders in Boston in that oh-so-"liberal" state of Massachusetts have more in common with the Bush camp than some in the right wing would like to admit. Boston leaders could have just said, "We figured it was better to be safe than sorry, and it turns out that it wasn't a bomb," and gone about their day. Nobody would have thought badly of them. They were just being cautious. Instead, we get, "We weren't wrong at all. We didn't overreact, and to show you just how serious this was, we're going after the people who put out the offensive devices." It rings very close to, "We didn't goof on intelligence. We weren't wrong to preemptively invade a sovereign country that was not a threat based on solid intelligence. Saddam Hussein was a very bad man, and we're going to stay in there until we have figured out a legitimate purpose for being there and then stay even longer until we've resolved it. By the way, we're going to send more troops."

But now this has cost one man his job and could potentially result in jail time for others, so I'm going to state the obvious. The devices were in several other cities, including New York (the city most affected by 9/11), and no other city had this reaction to the devices. The very obvious truth is that Boston officials overreacted. Period. Get over it and move on, guys.

Okay, so the thing had wires and batteries. So does my television remote control. The big question would be as to whether or not it could have carried a payload and, if so, whether or not it was big enough and placed well enough to do any significant damage to life and/or property. The answer to both questions is no. There was absolutely no place in the devices that would have been capable of holding a payload. The batteries might have been a possibility, but the device was working, so they were actually batteries. Then you have to consider that, if there were explosives, would it have caused significant damage to life or property. Unless someone was holding it when it detonated, it's not likely. It surely wouldn't have caused any structural damage. (Think about how much damage it would do if you attached a few firecrackers to the side of your house.) I'd be more suspicious of an abandoned vehicle or strategically (mis)placed gym bag.

So you ask, "Really, what kind of person would know that?" The kind of person who is on a bomb squad and anyone who has access to Google and way too much free time.

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