Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dawn to Dusk, Bullhorned Bullies Rule in D.C.

(CLICK TO ENLARGE) Was this photo made closer to sunrise or sunset? It would not be out of the realm of possibilities for you to answer “sunrise” because the broken District of Columbia noise law provides no decibel limits for non-commercial amplified speech anywhere in the city from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. No permit is required. (Copyright © 2006. David Klavitter)

This photo actually shows an amplifier and its operators blaring at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23—almost five hours of uninterrupted noise disturbed the residents and businesses at H and 8th Streets NE.

As I photographed at the intersection, I strained to converse with a woman who represents a church near North Capitol Street. She said she wants to counter one group’s amplified message with a different point of view—she plans to bring her own amplifier to H and 8th Street because she’s unable to be heard.

“Quiet enjoyment” and “health and safety” aside, the woman’s comment illustrates one thing: Free speech in Washington is guaranteed to only the amplified few.

The council’s failure to fix the flawed statute allows bullhorned bullies to dominate the free marketplace of ideas. Citizens from all walks of life have a right to speak, debate, argue, and be heard. The D.C. city council must wake-up: It should regulate unlimited amplified decibels or provide every D.C. resident his or her own personal amplifier.

A 7 a.m. Sunday morning amplified neighborhood wake-up call can be arranged.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to answer sunset only because I know the photo was taken facing west on H ST NE.

9:11 PM  

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