Government scaring us into thinking ‘it’s a bomb’

Julie Knapp

The other day in the Student Publications office, a cell phone was beeping, because the battery was low. When I asked what it was, someone jokingly said “probably a bomb.”

I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I do think the government wants us to be scared into thinking anything could be a bomb. They have their reasons – we are more likely to approve funding for military attacks against terrorists, we’re more likely to support legislation that takes away civil rights and we’re more likely to believe that handy dandy color-coded terrorism scale the government created after Sept. 11. The job of the Homeland Security Advisory scale is suppose to keep us always thinking about terrorists and “bomb-like” devices.

It worked this past week when a man called into the Boston Police Department reporting a suspicious device he thought was a bomb. In actuality, it was a new marketing campaign from Turner Broadcasting Company for “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” an adult cartoon show that I hear is funny.

The marketing campaign featured a black box, with lights sticking out of it in the shape of one of the cartoon characters. It resembled one of my favorite toys as a child – the Lite Brite. As I recall though, there were no Lite Brite images with a character flipping someone off.

How someone could think it was a bomb, is beyond my belief. What scares me more is that trained professionals also thought the devices could be bombs. The marketing campaign had been going on for days in many major cities across the United States before someone got the wild idea and decided to call the police.

While the marketing campaign went wrong in several different places – not notifying the city they were going to be hanging these signs on buildings and bridges, and using an obscene gesture, they should not be punished for the uproar it caused.

There was no intent to make people think this could be a harmful object. Blaming them is like saying if the Washburn Review stuck a box outside their office, and someone freaked out thinking it could be a bomb, we would have to take responsibility.

The people of Boston, and the Boston Police Department got carried away, and bought into the “let’s be scared of everything and trust no one” campaign the U.S. government has created. If anything, they should be fostering some responsibility and help pay for the day of havoc.