A transit station in Colorado was shut down and evacuated for a brief period this morning after a pothead left behind his smoking apparatus, prompting all hell to break loose.
A security officer at the Boulder Transit Center alerted his superiors today after finding a “foot-long plastic pipe that was capped at both ends” near the bike racks, which he presumed to be a pipe bomb.
Concerned the device could go up in smoke, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) ordered an immediate evacuation of the station and closed nearby streets.
A keen police sergeant was eventually able to identify the device as a water pipe, or bong, filled with a leafy green substance.
“It was some kind of either marijuana storage or marijuana smoking device,” police spokesperson Kim Kobel said. “There was some marijuana in it.”
“Kobel said it appears the bong was forgotten at the station and was not intended to scare anyone,” reports the Denver Post.
The RTD lifted the evacuation order at 6:20AM, less than a half hour after it was instituted.
Police justified the overreaction to the simple smoking contraption, saying the plastic capping gave the bong a suspicious appearance.
Spokesperson Kobel said despite the item being inert, the security guard’s paranoid misidentification “was the right thing to do.”
“If you don’t know what something is, call us so we can get eyes on it,” Kobel said.
Indeed, terror instilled by the Department of Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” snitch campaign seems to be producing an increased frequency of illogical freakouts and theatrical police state overreactions.
In the run-up to the 2014 Boston Marathon, police set their sights on nefarious-looking kitchen appliances and disarmed a harmless, empty pressure cooker in East Boston, wagging their fingers at the responsible parties.
Also in 2014, a Florida middle school ordered a lockdown after someone reported seeing “suspicious items” in front of the building. Had a school official actually gone to investigate, they would have found the mysterious item was actually just a pile of pillows.
In November 2014, police in Austin, Texas, sent a bomb squad to investigate a “suspicious package” call near a RadioShack – every terrorist’s dream target. Police later decided the “black bag with some suspicious components inside,” in all likelihood left by a homeless person, posed no major threat.
In October of that year, San Francisco PD also freaked out when someone reported a “suspicious device” near Union Square, prompting a bomb squad response, traffic lane closures and a “shelter-in-place” order to be issued. Police later said the threat had “no merit.”
Of course, while a member of the public may be able to alert authorities to suspicious persons or people, they cannot be trusted to personally make the distinction between a bomb and a bong.