if you see something, say something

After 9/11, "If you see something, say something" appeared at bus shelters and train stops throughout the United States. The New York City MTA's is below.   

MTA see something image

The other day, as I was walking to the Watchung Plaza train stop to ride the train into the city, I saw this strange, solar-powered device chained to a metal post on the underside of the rairload bridge. Days later it was still there.  

image of mystery object under bridge

No doubt this is some kind of metering unit, but it lacks any explanation. I saw something, should I say something? Who should I call? What sound I do next?  Is it ok for mysterious boxes to just appear like this?

Instinctively, I say yes, that cities are ultimately filled with such objects and their mystery has the capacity to arouse in us a deep fascination and to encourage the imagination to take flight.



strange boxes

It's curious: why doesn't this object provoke suspicion?

Is it the professionally-cast aluminum case, complete with serial number and ergonomic handle? They suggest traceability and reuse, both of which qualities are laughably pointless in an explosive device.

Is it the solar panel? The fact that this thing is solar-powered seems to lend it legitimacy, as if to say that no religious fundamentalist bent on blowing up bridges in major American cities would bother making their bomb solar-powered (again, the pointless factor). For someone who grew up reading Edward Abbey, though, it's a measure of how notions of ecological justice have changed, even as environmental concerns have become a more common motivator of political action.

Certainly not everyone would be as unconcerned as you, but I think most of us would have the same reaction and shrug it off.