There’s an important angle to the Boston story that is not being adequately reported in the press, as one Boston reader highlights:
True enough, in the dark and switched on, they look like toys. But in the semi-dark of a protruding abutment or bridge support, and unlit, they look just like what they are – a somewhat complex printed circuit over a box. At highway speed, they doubtless appear to many at first as strange, then ominous, then potentially dangerous and clearly out of place hi-tech fabrications. At least the one I saw did to me.Only an idiot would not question their sudden, unannounced, unexplained appearance on the roads, bridges, tunnels, and tall buildings of an American metropolis. Boston did the correct thing: sound the alarm before something disastrous happens. Investigate. Report. Hope they follow through and prosecute. Electronic vandalism is still vandalism. It is not as though these devices were advertising a product: they were left deliberately mysterious and threatening so as to create a stir. That they did.
It certainly should inspire confidence that the Boston police are so vigilant and well-coordinated that they picked up on these gadgets and investigated immediately — and as some readers have pointed out, at a distance the police couldn’t tell what they were looking at, and some of them were in very hard-to-reach places. In that respect, the police had initially to make some tough judgment calls, and they appear on balance to have done the right thing.