Seems the folks in Boston were scared out of their wits over a possible bomb threat today:
The discovery of a series of suspicious objects on bridges, near a medical center, underneath an interstate, and in other crowded public places have set off a wave of bomb scares across Boston, snarling traffic and subways across the city.
None of the suspicious objects have been determined to be actual bombs. It was not immediately clear if the incidents were connected or part of some elaborate hoax.
A law enforcement source who has been briefed on the investigation said officials have found “commonality” among some, but not all, of the objects recovered by Boston, state and transit police throughout the day.
None of the objects examined by police actually contained explosives, the source said.
Oh my! What could possibly be causing so much panic? Why none other than the Mooninites! More specifically it was a guerrilla marketing campaign for Adult Swim’s animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force of which Mooninites are a couple of recurring characters. It seems some marketing types got together and made up some LED signs featuring a Mooninite that they hung up in various places around Boston—among several other cities—without bothering to actually tell anyone. Someone who doesn’t have a clue what a Mooninite is spotted one and alerted authorities who also didn’t know what a Mooninite is and things quickly spiraled out of control from there with a bomb squad blowing up at least one of the devices before determining that they were harmless.
Now I can understand that the authorities may not have been familiar with ATHF or Mooninites because the show comes out in the wee hours of the morning when most responsible people are asleep and even if they had seen the show they probably wouldn’t understand it anyway. I’ve watched several episodes and the damn thing still makes no sense to me whatsoever. What I don’t understand is why, when other cities have had the same sort of devices in them for a couple of weeks already, Boston was the only city to freak out over them and shut down roads and try to blow one up:
The first device was found at an MBTA subway and bus station located under Interstate 93 on Wednesday morning. The device was detonated and determined to be harmless, but as a precaution the station and the interstate shut down temporarily.
Then, around 1 p.m., four calls came into Boston Police reporting suspicious devices at the Boston University Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge, which both span the Charles River, and the corner of Stuart and Columbus Streets and at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.
Another device was found in Somerville under the McGrath Highway Bridge. The latest package was found outside Fenway Park around 5:30 p.m.
Mayor Menino said the hoax cost the state and cities about $750,000. He wants Turner Broadcasting to pay for it all.
“It is outrageous, in a post 9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme. I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today’s incidents. Boston will look to coordinate our efforts going forward with Cambridge, Somerville and any other affected agencies.”
Apparently they’re just a tad more skittish in Boston these days. For its part Turner Broadcasting has apologized for scaring the hell out of Boston’s powers that be and are providing information on the location of all the lights to local authorities in all cities if they want to remove them. Personally I find the whole thing to be pretty funny.
For those curious as to what these installations looked like, here’s a video clip by the folks who put the project together as they install them around what is reportedly NYC:
Links via Boing Boing.