The Situation:
In Times Square, hundreds of thousands of people are milling around. Everyone was moving past the newly installed high-def screens during a "Good Morning America" broadcast.

Meanwhile, in Nevada, the roads were empty (rush hour is when 5 cars come in a hour. That's actually the legal definition there).

Back in Times Square, the screens all flicked off and emitted screeching noises at 127 decibels for 1.27 seconds. The noise then stopped and the screen switched to displaying the empty, streetlight-lit Nevada road for 12 seconds..

The glitches then escalate into randomness, ending with a message "Submit to us". Then the screens fell off (yes, all of them), hitting some people.

The Question:
What would be a realistic response from the mass of humanity there? Additionally, what would the reactions be for the Good Morning America anchors?

  • $\begingroup$ To the close votes, this question appears to be on topic. Specifically the bullet point: "Effects of events or world elements, including technology and magic, on specific aspects of that world's societies, cultures, and environment". Or is there some other reason three people, thus far, have voted to close as off topic? It's admittedly not a awesome question, but that's what downvotes are for, right? $\endgroup$ – Samuel Apr 23 '15 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know about off topic, but the question isn't very clear. It seems to assume we know what he's talking about. $\endgroup$ – GrandmasterB Apr 23 '15 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps not off topic, but it still feels open-ended and hypothetical $\endgroup$ – Seth Apr 23 '15 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Samuel no need to get personal here. I voted off-topic, because the OP is essentially asking what would happen if the screens in Times Square fell off the buildings. I'm not an expert worldbuilder, but at first glance, that does not seem like worldbuilding to me. Apparently it is though $\endgroup$ – Seth Apr 23 '15 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ As in it isn't about the social and cultural changes stemming from the event, we don't have the information to even answer that question as we don't know what is actually happening, we don't know the actual event or at the least what the event is to appear as (in the sense of if 9/11 were to have been an inside job) which does a lot more to determine how society responds and what impacts it has on the culture at large than the initial event itself. $\endgroup$ – John_H Apr 23 '15 at 21:52

The realistic response from the mass of humanity there?

People would suspect an act of terrorism. Fleeing the area would be difficult because, with hundreds of thousands people, Times Square would be as packed as it is for the New Year's celebration.

While the person next to them is breathing down their neck, they would idly wonder why there is a legal definition for rush hour. They would not recognize "the road" of Nevada because it would just be a black screen; it's 4 a.m. in Nevada when Good Morning America is airing in New York.

No one would notice to the millisecond the duration of the screeching noises, nor would they be able to determine the volume, nor would they recognize that the dark screen was displayed for exactly twelve seconds. The initial events would appear to be random, so no one would recognize when things escalated into randomness.

Nobody would see the cast of Good Morning America reacting because all the screens were displaying a dark road before falling off.

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