Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unrestricted Noise Is Just Legalized Harassment

Returning to work last week, I heard sounds of amplified commotion somewhere down 7th Street NW.

I walked another two blocks and rounded the corner. The noise was much louder and now just a block away. It sounded like a large mass of people yelling at each other through bullhorns.

I expected to see dozens of protestors huddled or parading for or against some issue. But only four people prowled the courtyard. They carried signs with photos of sad puppy dogs.

And three protestors employed blaring bullhorns.

The tiny band was harassing some downtown building dweller with nearly unintelligible noise. Perhaps the competing amplifiers or their masked faces garbled sound, I couldn’t tell.

But it was loud and disturbing.

It seemed the group was not intent on anyone understanding their message. But it was an effective display of one teensy-weensy number of people employing the harassing and disruptive power of unrestricted noise.

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