Thursday, June 22, 2006

Overheard During ‘Amplified Free Speech Day’

For two hours on June 11, residents from the H and 8th Street NE community assembled at the corner of Wisconsin and N Streets NW in Georgetown to demonstrate the absurdity of the broken D.C. noise law. It allows unlimited decibel levels of non-commercial free speech anywhere in the city between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

In addition to a very loud amplifier (112 decibels), the demonstration included signs and flyers, which explained the effort to get the city council to fix the statute. Most people understood our plight, but the few that didn't offered some interesting thoughts. It was obvious to everyone, however, that the noise was disturbing. These are but a few of the comments uttered during the event:

“We’re only here for two hours during one day of the year. Imagine this very thing happening for four hours each and every Saturday. Today we will experience how unlimited noise volume affects residents and businesses alike.” --H and 8th Street resident via amplifier

“No limits? This is crazy!” --Georgetown resident
“It certainly is. Please contact the city council.” --H and 8th Street resident

“How long are you going to be on this corner? We’re trying to enjoy our dinner.” --Georgetown restaurant patron
“Another hour.” --H and 8th Street resident
“Well, this is just ridiculous.” --Georgetown restaurant patron
“Yes, I can totally relate. We deal with it for four hours every Saturday.” --H and 8th Street resident

“Are you from D.C.? Please call your councilmember and ask them to fix the noise law.” --H and 8th Street resident
“I’m French and I don’t give a care.” --passerby

“Wow! I totally get it; thanks and good luck!” --passerby

“I’m sorry the noise caused you to leave that wonderful Georgetown restaurant. But what chance does H Street NE have at getting an outdoor café with four hours of this racket each and every Saturday afternoon?” --H and 8th Street resident via amplifier to quickly emptying tables

“It’s a horrible law, something needs to be done about it,” --Georgetown resident

"I'd love to get all liquored up and really yell about stuff...I got a lot to say." --passerby reeking of booze

“I live at 10th and G, NE and hear those guys too. I will definitely e-mail Graham.” --passerby

“You can call 911. Call 311. There’s nothing the police can do to stop this racket! It’s completely legal in D.C.” --H and 8th Street resident via amplifier

“I find it ironic that you’re using noise to fight noise.” --Georgetown business customer

“What was that?” --H and 8th Street resident #1
“I don’t know, but I think it was thrown from the restaurant across the street.” --H and 8th Street resident #2
(Upon further inspection) “Oh, it looks like a slice of tomato.” --H and 8th Street resident #1

“Great way to make your point!” --passerby

“I was going across the way to read and work, but I can’t do that with all this noise.” --Georgetown business customer

“Jim Graham is a hypocrite and a pussy. He lives in the Ontario in Mount Pleasant, that’s where you should be protesting.” --passerby

“My 2-year old kid can’t sleep because of you!” --Georgetown resident
“So sorry, please contact your council member.” --H and 8th Street resident
“Fuck you!” --Georgetown resident

“This is awful; I have to go across the street and work among this!” --Georgetown business employee

“I need to be inside [this business] and won’t be able to have a conversation with my fiancé, who is overseas. You’re ruining everything!” --Georgetown business customer

“You don’t fight fire with fire!” --passerby
“Sometimes you do. Please call your city councilmember.” --H and 8th Street resident

“What are you doing?” --H Street resident on the amplifier to man blowing smoke in his face.
“Infringing on your rights. How do you like it?” --shaking cigarette smoker
“I don’t, so please call the city council and urge them to fix the noise law.” --H Street resident

“If you step foot into my [business], I’ll have you arrested for trespassing.” --Georgetown businessman

"Are you protesting the noise from cars and loud radios? Because that's also very bad." --passerby

"What about the noise from the police boats? Those are very loud, and they go by my house two or three times a night." --passerby

“You should use the upcoming election to your advantage.” --passerby

“Fuck you. I'm just trying to have a nice afternoon.” --Georgetown customer

“Get a job!” --passerby

“No thanks. I’m okay.” --passerby
“Well, the residents of H and 8th Street NE are not. Please call your city councilmember and ask him to fix the noise law.” --H and 8th Street resident

“Shut up!” --Georgetown restaurant patron

4 Comments:

Blogger Brian Duvall said...

Hi Dave.

How's it going? Any progress?

Cheers,
Brian Duvall
brian@dirtsurfer.com

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you. I temporarily crashed in your neighborhood a couple of years back and felt completely harassed by the screaming maniac on Sunday afternoons - especially when I, a white woman, had to walk by him. Oh, did the anti-white stuff get even more amplified then. I'm not a D.C. resident now, so there's not much I can do other than offer moral support.

Again, kudos to you for bringing this issue to the public's attention.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the suggestion of doing it near Jim Graham's home turf, say 18th and Columbia....

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Abu Khamr al-Murtad said...

Greetings Q4Q readers!

What follows is only superficially relevant to this particular blog entry, and thus I hope Mr. Klavitter forgives my posting it here. However, I chose to post it here because this is the entry at the top of the blog entry, and thus it will receive the most views.

I'm sure most are familiar with the angry fellow who Mr. Klavitter dubbed "Sunglasses Man" (AKA Furious Zion, AKA Anya Shawamar, but his real name is James Henry), who stole Mr. Klavitter's photos to post on his blog, and who got a counter-interview with Express Free Ride. Well, those who are familiar with this person might find the following blog discussion of interest:

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/jesusboy_1988?p=1

Now, the substance of the discussion is a particular theological dispute, but that is not what I wish to draw the attention of Q4Q readers to. There is a point to be made about this particular discussion which is separate from the theology being debated.

On the street, Mr. Henry uses an amplifier to drown out the arguments of those who disagree with him. On his blog, he often deletes the posts of those who disagree with him. However, in the blog discussion above, he could not yell over people, and he could not delete the posts of others. He was forced to argue on an equal playing field, and that actually put him at a disadvantage!

He came into that blog with his typical vituperation and contumely, and the young man who owns the blog requested others help him respond. As a result, Mr. Henry got "ran out of there" (or, to use ISUPK, he "got shut down"). I'd be very surprised if he returns to that discussion. Very interesting in my opinion.

10:36 PM  

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