The simulated pipe bomb, while not a real pipe bomb, was a legitimate emergency situation, given that public safety people were spread out all over the city.
Once you read and absorb that piece of information, read the next few parts after that. It turns out there was a flurry of bomb threat calls into the Boston Police Department all right around that time. Some pointing to Lite Brites, but one pointing to the simulated pipe bomb found on the Longfellow Bridge.
More information in this post.
The Lite Brite That Menaced Boston. Photo from Boston.com
The Head-Slapping: Turner Broadcasting
It appears that both Turner Broadcasting and Interference Inc., the New York City marketing firm they hired, failed to get permits or permission to place magnetized Lite Brites around the city. This is in sharp contrast to two other cities — Seattle and Philadelphia — where apparently they (or someone else) did go through the permitting process.
In my mind, if C&C Convenience Store on the corner needs a permit to put out a stationary sign in front of their store advertising a 2-for1 beer sale, then Turner and its subcontractors sure as hell have to do it, too.
Turner and the Cartoon Network have owned up, apologized, and (reading between the lines) there may be restitution for yesterday's massive fuck-up. Good for them.
The Annoying: Local Officials
In the middle of yesterday's War of the Worlds-style Wellesian freak-out, a lowly police analyst was the first to call shenanigans. Nice to know that someone in the city government watches Adult Swim. In any case, the police analyst, upon seeing the Lite Brites that had menaced the city, spoke up.
This was about 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Even before that, the police figured out they were Lite Brites when they noticed the things they removed lit up when they were taken out of the sun and into a darkened space.
Somewhere this time, the artist who placed the Lite Brites around the city came forward, copped to what he did, and told the cops where to find them all.
Now, considering that the local officials appear to have known hours before Turner Broadcasting called to let the police department know the Lite Brites were not bombs and released a public apology — Why the hell were they feeding hysteria?
No. Seriously. Between (let's be generous here) 2:30 p.m. and when the city of Boston officially called off the hunt for dangerous Lite Brites, city officials were issuing vaguely ominous statements, complete with dog-whistle phrases, instead of saying, "Whoa! Let's step back a little bit here."
The chest-thumping you heard last night? That was the dance of, "You made us look stupid. You gotta pay!"
The Infuriating and the Hopeful: Charging the Artist
The folks at b0st0n staged a rally for Arlington artist Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens of Charlestown, pointing out that the guys were hired to do a job, and that they aren't responsible for the chaos that erupted in Boston (that was due to Turner Broadcasting and the local pols). If Turner or its marketing company failed to get the permits or win permission from the city, put the blame where it belongs. Don't put it on the artist, Ktnxbi.
Also something that I think should be taken into consideration, Berdovsky stepped forward and copped to it without any prompting from police. He has cooperated and done everything the police asked him to do. Dude! So much for being honest. If the state or city has any balls whatsoever, they'll drop all charges against Berdovski and Stevens because, of everyone in this mess, they're the only ones who are truly innocent here.
Good on b0st0n for staging the protest this morning at the arraignment. Hope people are smart enough to listen.
For anyone who's interested in the whole sordid tale, check out the Boston Globe's online collection of the 2007 Boston Lite Brite Scare.
Sean Stevens (left), 28, and Peter Berdovsky, 27, today pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct and placing a hoax device that caused panic. Photo from Boston.com
ETA: It appears that Berdovsky and Stevens are being held on $2,500 bail each, and both expect to post bail later today. The good news? The judge thinks the state's case sucks, especially since the artists were only doing the job they were hired to do.
Don't forget to download Alice's Restaurant (link up above in this post). If you feel like it, pass the link on to others on your FList. I only ask that you explain that it's to show virtual support for Berdovsky and Stevens if you do. Okay. Yeah. Not much of a protest on my part. I just think it would interesting to see how far this goes.
ETA2: As it turns out, city and state officials may have had legitimate reasons for their over-reaction.