Whitey Markle: Noise is a mild form of anarchy

Published: Monday, June 17, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 at 9:18 p.m.

The Florida Senate killed a bill that would have allowed police to issue $30 tickets for drivers whose stereos could be heard more than 25 feet away.

Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, said the offense doesn't “rise to (that) kind of penalty.” Huh? $30? If I exceed the speed limit, which most drivers do on occasion, it's at least $125!

Of course, we must consider Clemmon's night job — He sings in a rock band. And a comment about the boom boxes being a “momentary” annoyance?” Well, that may be the case sometimes, but often it's not the case.

Add curse words to the language in the “music” and we have a totally different debate. Or do we? Clemmons said, “This is ridiculous we're having this debate” — but guess who was debating. Holy guacamole!

Sen. Audrey Gibson, D- Jacksonville, got to tell us she likes her music loud and 25 feet is too close (for a police officer to determine if it's too loud), but my car is only two feet from the source. If Gibson chooses to damage her own eardrums and not hear what's going on around her, so be it, but I take offensive and loud noise as aggression.

To me, it's a mild form of anarchy. To me, the aggressor is saying, “You WILL listen to my choice of speech whether you like it or not. As a matter of fact, I'm delighted to aggravate you with it and y'all can't do nothing about it”.

What happened to common courtesy and respect for fellow humans? Do unto others?

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, says boom box noise should be a secondary offense. Let's see, I'm speeding or don't have my seat belt fixed or I don't move over, so an officer pulls me over, I guess I won't be wise enough to turn the stereo down (in order to avoid this “secondary” ticket).

Did I get that right? These people are actually elected public officials. I just wonder how the lobbyists influenced these opinions. Maybe the police union?

Free speech — or anarchy? Alachua County voters expressed their opinion on the noise issue in 2010 when they banned airboat noise at night by a 12 percent margin in an off year in the election cycle.

So, where is the law at this point regarding public noise? Can I mount some of those marine speakers on my little car and play “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” top notch at every red light? In every neighborhood? Apparently I can, according to the Florida Supreme Court.

Whitey Markle is conservation chair of the Suwannee/St. Johns Sierra Club. He lives in Citra.

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