An anti-terrorism campaign along interstate highways may have inspired the letter bombs sent to Maryland's governor and transportation secretary.
According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the incendiary device addressed to Gov. Martin O'Malley was accompanied by a note that said:
"Report suspicious activity. Total [expletive]. You have created your own self-fulfilling prophecy."
The note may refer to electronic highway signs along interstates in the region that urge motorists to report suspicious activity, O'Malley speculated.
"So somebody doesn't like seeing those signs," he told the newspaper.
Lots of people -- including me -- have seen these signs on highways in Maryland and in other states. Maryland deployed 23 changeable message signs last year.
Initially, these signs were meant to provide traffic information, such as the estimated time to major exits or intersections with other highways.
Lately, signs in the Baltimore and Washington region are more likely to ask motorists to report suspicious activity, as do posters in Washington's Metro system.
Unsettling? Yes. A "self-fulfilling prophecy?" Now that's total [expletive].
Thousands of motorists have seen these signs, and many dislike them. Only one, apparently, disliked them enough to send incendiary letters by U.S. mail.
There are plenty of very real threats to our security -- including the person responsible for those letters. These unsettling signs are signs of our times.
-- Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.