How sad. Apparently Turner Broadcasting has agreed to pay back all the costs resulting from their marketing stunt:Boston mayor says Turner to pay costs of scare
I can understand why Turner agreed, since they were in damage control mode, but it shifts the responsibility and sets a dangerous precedent, rather than setting up the proper set of checks and balances.
There is no question in my mind that the city of Boston should bear these costs. Otherwise, it just tells city officials that they should always act in exactly this manner, to always assume that anything “odd” is a terrorist device and not worry about the likelihood, because if they are wrong then they can pass the costs off on the perpetrator. For instance, the devices in this case looked so much like terrorist devices that they had been in place for two weeks in multiple cities and seen by thousands of people before anybody thought that they looked “suspicious”.
They even had been picked up and examined by passers-by and then replaced, that’s how dangerous they looked.
If the costs are borne by the city, then they might use some common sense before flying off the handle. If the devices actually are an intentional “bomb hoax” then sure, the perpetrators should pay. But if the devices are innocent and were not intended to cause a scare, then what do we accomplish by punishing the perpetrators out of proportion of what they intended? We simply encourage the city to over-react and we discourage even the most innocent pranks for fear that someone might take it wrong. I am all for law and order, but do we want to remove all aspects of fun from life as well?