One Mega Amp Could Smother Weekend Protestors
World Bank and IMF protestors plan to descend on Washington, D.C. this weekend to exercise their free speech rights.
When an issue is of such importance that large numbers of people turn out and non-violently make their united voices heard, that's a good thing.
And a chorus of united, unamplified voices can be loud, which also is a good thing.
But the District's noise law which permits unlimited levels of amplified free speech contains a sinister flaw: One single person with enough money can power an amplifier loud enough to drown out that chorus of unaided voices.
The only retribution is for the unaided voices to procure an amplifier bigger and louder than the first one. In which case the monied invidual will get a louder amp. Not only will a game of one-upsmanship result, but the outcome is not geninue protest speech--it's manufactured and artificial.
Under current D.C. law, free speech belongs not to those with the greatest number of people, but rather to whoever has the loudest amplifier.