Mar 072007
 

Police these days are seeing bombs everywhere, even though there really aren’t any actual bombs. It’s clear that they need help.

The January 31 scare in which Boston and Massachusetts government officials terrorized the city by treating harmless light boards, being used in an advertising campaign for a cartoon show, as bombs, is unfortunately not an isolated incident.

In Santa Fe, N.M., on Wednesday, an apparent teenage prank in which someone left CD players under the pews at a Catholic church, which were playing streams of profanity during Mass, led to the police bringing out the bomb squad and blowing up two of the three CD players – after removing them from the church themselves. They knew, of course, that the CD players weren’t bombs, but blew them up and scared people anyway.

Bureuacrats in Northern Ireland scared people and disrupted traffic for several hours after a tape dispenser was found outside a police station. Yes, the sort of tape you attach to things to hold them together. Again, they inexplicably blew up the tape dispenser. A police official said it might have been a booby trap.

And a surveillance operation Dutch police were conducting went awry when the person under surveillance discovered the police transmitter attached to his car and called the police thinking it was a bomb. The bomb squad came out, but fortunately did not blow up the person’s car. He was then told that the device was a police transmitter being used to monitor him.

Security expert Bruce Schneier explains why police and government officials do this. It’s called “cover your ass security.”

“Much of our country’s counterterrorism security spending is not designed to protect us from the terrorists, but instead to protect our public officials from criticism when another attack occurs,” Schneier writes. “All the money is in fear-mongering, re-election strategies, and pork-barrel politics. And, like so many things, security follows the money.”

And that’s why you’ll never get security from the government.

In the meantime, I suggest that all government officials and police officers spend some time at Bomb or Not.

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