Maybe Boston is especially jumpy after being the base of some of the September 11 hijackers, or maybe people here just watch too many TV shows like 24, but an outdoor marketing campaign that ran in nine other cities without incident caused a terrorist bomb scare in Boston that brought transportation to a halt yesterday.
Artist Peter Berdovsky installed around the city a series of battery-operated LED signs that displayed characters from Turner Cartoon Network's Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The campaign, devised by the New York guerrilla marketing firm Interference placed the magnetically backed LED circuit boards in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia where apparently few people took notice. Even in Boston, the units were up for several weeks until an MBTA worker spotted one of the devices at 8:00 am yesterday on an I-93 ramp near Sullivan Square in Charlestown. The State Police bomb squad blew it apart with a water cannon and went on to discover more such devices later in the day. Eventually, someone recognized the image as that of a cartoon character and figured out it was part of a publicity campaign.
Boston officials were not amused and charged Berdovsky and a colleague with placing a hoax device. It's hard to see how they could be convicted, since the statute clearly requires "intent to cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort." While it appears that the defendants did indeed cause all of those things, there is no evidence that any of it was intentional.
You would think a real terrorist would know better than to put a bunch of attention-getting LEDs on a bomb, but then bombs on TV always have blinking lights.