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Submission + - McCarthyism 2.0?

An anonymous reader writes: The Register is running an interesting follow up story (previously mentioned on Slashdot) of the bomb scare in Boston this past Wednesday. For those of you who don't know, Boston was brought to a standstill on Wednesday by what amounts to a marketing misunderstanding when people mistook promotional neon signs as bombs. The blogosphere was abuzz with questions of the validity of these "bombs." What is dangerous here is the fact that these two non-American marketing freelancers may ultimately be punished (and possibly deported) when they very likely had no intent, nor even any reason to believe, that this marketing campaign would cause this type of commotion. If there intent was to create a marketing stunt where they designed a number of props that looked like bombs then this is something that should definitely be prosecuted. And, if these gorilla marketing agents knew that they were causing this scare and did not speak up, then this too should be prosecuted. Bomb threats should not be taken lightly, in all likelihood the city of Boston did the right thing. However, in their vigilance, these occasional bomb threat misfires will occur.

What is scarier here are the implications: "The government has ceased with even the formality of asking questions, instead deciding to take the most punitive route possible." Though it is very important that Mayor Menino is "going to take this seriously," this may very well be a situation where the city of Boston feels it has to prosecute-to-the-max because it has egg on its face. Taken a step further, if the government starts prosecuting without being thoughtful first, at what point does one go to jail because their neighbor "felt threatened" over the box of old electronic junk you accidentally left on your curb?

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.