Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid!
Contributed by: IdahoEv
Via Boing Boing today I read this story about the Boston Police Department blowing up a "suspicious device" found chained to a lamppost in the financial district downtown. Of course, the device turned out to be a traffic counter put there by the highway department.
So this goes beyond simple paranoia into seriously dangerous behavior. Yes, we know the Boston PD basically shut down half the city because of a bunch of lite-brite devices left outside as part of a marketing campaign. But if you watch the Faux News video about it, you can see that they blew this box up just by putting explosives under it. No particular blash shielding or anything.
Suppose this really were a terrorist device? If it were a bomb, a box that size could carry enough explosive to do serious damage for many yards in every direction. Detonating it would be criminally dangerous.
Suppose it were some kind of chemical or biological agent dispersal system. Detonating it out in the open would be even MORE stupid, because winds could carry the toxins or infectious agents very long distances, hurting people nowhere near the scene.
And if it's not one of those things, it should be investigated and perhaps taken back to a lab.
In fact, I can't think of any circumstance at all in which blowing the thing up would be the right thing to do. Either it's harmless, or blowing it up risks making things much much worse. The commentary by the Republicnewsdroids at Fox is particularly galling, prattling on about the cops "not taking any chances" when exploding an unknown box is a ridiculously unsafe thing to do, and clearly in implicit agreement that such "suspicious devices" are a severe threat to our security.