I realized I referenced this in my last post, but did not talk about it previous to that. True fans of my blog only get all of their information from this site, and may then not know to what I was referring. Sorry.
A few months back a few high school girls in Ravenna Ohio decided it would be fun to create a few Super Mario Brother’s question blocks. They are just cardboard boxes, wrapped in bright paper and had a large question mark painted on four sides, just like the blocks in the game. The girls then left them around town to decorate. It doesn’t get much more innocent than this people. Well, some idiots in the community totally freaked out because there were brightly colored blocks with question marks on them which is obviously a terrorist action, so they called the police. The police also totally freaked because it is a well known fact that the question mark is a known al Qaeda death cult sign. The police called the bomb squad. So the bomb squad dismantled all of these brightly colored boxes that had been left out in the open (as if on display!), only to find that they were just… boxes!
The girls got arrested for this. It hit the internet and caused such a hubabalo (I may have just made that word up, bare minimum: I made up the spelling) that all charges were dropped. They had to write an apology to the community and to the police. But where is the apology to the girls? Nobody had to write them a letter saying, “Sorry, I’m a paranoid idiot, that is either too scared or to stupid to know the difference between a sweet innocent act of community joy and beautification and a treacherous plot to kill Americans. My bad.”
This was crazy. The media and politicians have the US so freaked out that people actually thought that bright colored boxes with question marks painted on them were terrorist threats. The ONLY time boxes with question marks painted on them are dangerous is when you live in Gothem City and the Riddle is on the loose.
Plus why in the world would someone attack Ravenna Ohio? As Lewis Black said, “al Qaeda doesn’t want to kill you -- you idiot -- look where you live. You’re already dead.”
I was so upset by this whole mess (prior to the charges being dropped) that I sent every member of the Ravenna school board, the chief of police, and the mayor the following mayor. None of them responded.
[Standard my name and intro stuff] "I love Ohio. I consider it my home, even though I now teach in Japan. I think it is a fair minded, easy going place. It values community and individuals. So I was surprised when I recently read about the teenage girls that innocently placed cardboard boxes around Ravenna, only to have their act blown out of proportion.
"I was amazed to discover that the high school girls that created the “Super Mario Blocks” are facing potential criminal charges. This is asinine. I realize that not everyone would recognize the blocks as being from a harmless video game, but no one should have assumed that they were dangerous or the work of terrorists. Madmen do not go about harming people using obvious boxes with question marks spray painted on them. If anyone should be prosecuted for this it should be the people that reported the boxes as suspicious. Unfortunately, paranoia and stupidity are not crimes.
"We live in troubling times, but hysteria is not the solution. The girls did nothing wrong. If anything they were trying to bring a sense of joy to their home town. As respected leaders of your community, I ask you to help lead the campaign to have all charges that may be pressed dropped. Terrorists are not going to attack a target like Ravenna, and if they did, they would not use bright, colorful, large boxes left out in public view. In difficult times we need people like these high school girls to remind us of innocence, and the simple joy of laughter. From the community we need vigilance not paranoia.
So maybe I could have been nicer, but maybe those people could not be so stupid. That is a compromise I am always willing to make.
On Dan’s suggestion, had the girls been convicted I planed to start mass producing my own Super Mario blocks and mailing them to the mayor of Ravenna. This may have ended with me never being allowed to enter the US again, but it’d be pretty fun up until that point.
100% Shocked that happened[av]