August 21, 2004

Now Hear This. Every day, our democracy recedes a little further into the distance ...

Reuters, March 9, 2004:
"The US military is about to add a controversial new weapon to its huge arsenal in Iraq. ... A defence contractor announced securing a million dollar deal to supply the First US Marine Expeditionary Force with a so-called Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD ... [which] deliver[s] a shrill 145-decibel tone over a distance of more than 300 metres, causing splitting headaches, pain, panic and even hearing loss. The sound is about twice as powerful as the scream of a standard smoke detector. And earplugs will not be of any help. ...
At the time, more than a few people on the left semi-joked that the Bush administration was using Iraq as a testing ground for this weapon and its real use would be on protestors during its late-August convention in New York City. Pretty loony, huh?

Well, guess what?

AP, August 19, 2004:
Authorities to turn up the volume for GOP convention - a 150-decibel 'megaphone'

Police will have a much more high-tech -- and louder -- option to make themselves heard over the din of Manhattan traffic and noisy protesters outside the Republican National Convention. It's called the Long Range Acoustic Device, developed for the military and capable of blasting warnings, orders or anything else at an ear-splitting 150 decibels. ...

The department recently bought two of the 45-pound acoustic sound machines for $35,000 apiece, and plans to mount them on Humvees posted outside Madison Square Garden. It would mark the first time the instrument -- which can beam sounds for 300 yards or more -- has been used by a civilian force. "We believe we'd be able to use them in a number of scenarios," said Paul Browne, the police department's chief spokesman.
My YLP offers another perspective:
I've read about these weapons before. There's been much talk about all the high-tech devices the NYPD has at its disposal, for use against "anarchists" "if necessary". I feel strongly that this kind of talk is designed to frighten us into staying home -- to intimidate us into not protesting.

It goes hand in hand with not letting us use Central Park to rally, the FBI visiting potential protestors in their homes, and stories about how anarchists are planning violent protests. Will those anarchists be real protestors - or RNC plants? Let's not give in to fear-mongering. Let's not spread the leftist version of terror alerts.

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