You simply cannot send people to prison because you didn't get a joke. Yelling %22fire%22 in a crowded theater involves an intent as well as an act. If you yell %22I want that man fired%22 and a bunch of people mishear you and freak out should you go to jail? These were not intended to be viewed as a threat, and they have been up all over the country for weeks without anyone thinking twice about it. The police need to be able to %22take every precaution%22 without simultaneously demanding heads in exchange for it.
Intent is not always required, which is why we have terms like 'criminal negligence,' or in plain speak, 'you were too stupid to think about the possible consequences of your actions.' Many of the arguments I've heard have been, 'It was a cartoon character!' Well, kind of. It was a bunch of LEDs with the wires visibly exposed and again, it was an inside joke limited to a small subset of the population. Sadly, if the 'artist' had done a better job of tidying up his cables so that it was just a lit box, this probably wouldn't have happened. Next time replace the WALK/DO NOT WALK masks in crossing lights with these things and there won't be as much of a stink.
Again, I only find fault with the guy placing them underneath interstate bridges in an effort to hide them, which is what brought the well deserved suspicion to the devices.
RE: cbs4boston.com - Hoax Devices Creating Gridlock In Boston