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RE: Boom Car Ad Promotes "Cardiac Arrest"
Well, I bought the magazine, and it's pretty scary. I wrote the following
letter to our provincial AG and I am going to follow up with a letter to
the federal Minister of Justice.
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh
Province of British Columbia
Victoria BC V8V 1X4
Re: Boom Cars
We would like to draw your attention to the growing problem of the
aggressive use of car stereos, which we consider to be a form of assault as
well as a violation of the right to peace and quiet.
The phenomenon of "boom cars" which has reared its head in the last few
years is causing sleeplessness as well as a sense of anger and frustration
among its victims. A single boom car in the course of a half-hour drive
through the streets of a city can assault many thousands of people both on
the streets and in their own homes, even blocks away from the source of the
noise. The police seem powerless or unwilling to do anything against the
perpetrators of these assaults, even though noises of this magnitude coming
from a house party would generally be dealt with quickly and firmly.
There is a growing body of evidence that noise is a signicant contributor
to stress and therefore to stress-related illnesses, as well as being a
direct cause of hearing loss, myocardial infarction, and other health
The use of superamplified car stereos, emphasizing the low frequencies that
have a particularly threatening effect on the human psyche, has nothing to
do with music appreciation and everything to do with aggression and
contempt for others. As evidence of this assertion I am attaching some
advertisements from Car Stereo Review, which focus almost entirely on
loudness, not sound quality. I would draw your attention to phrases like
- "Research shows excessively loud car stereos are the number one annoyance
to people over 40.... The new Prestige P-84...will put the over 40 set into
- "For best results: Play Loud." [Then in small print:] "And hey, our
lawyers say play loud but play it safe, but they can't help it, sometimes
they think they're your mother."
- "So deep it hertz"
- "It will be loud. I will win."
As further evidence of the promotion of noise as power, the same magazine
has advertisements for theft alarms that make statements like the
- "To a thief, it's the equivalent of a nuclear disaster."
- "Thieves receive painful bleeding eardrums."
These advertisements are telling evidence of the attitude of contempt for
the rights of others that is behind the boom car phenomenon. In fact, we
would like you to consider whether there is not an outright breach of
Canadian law in the distribution of this material in British Columbia.
In particular, the advertisement for Prestige on page 4 of the October 1997
issue of Car Stereo Review, by counselling readers to "put the over 40 set
into cardiac arrest" - and this is too real a possibility to be considered
a joke - is likely in violation of Section 464 of the Criminal Code.
Moreover a case could be made that this advertisement is in violation of
Section 319, which forbids public incitement of hatred against an
identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of
the peace. Also, the advertisement on pages 2-3, promoting a product that
will inflict bleeding eardrums on thieves, may counsel a violation of
Section 38(1) of the Code, which permits defense of personal property only
if the defender "does not strike or cause bodily harm to the trespasser."
We ask you to consider carefully the effect that boom cars and their
associated car alarms are having on our society. Our health, our right to
the quiet enjoyment of our homes, and our freedom from physically assault
are all being violated by these acoustic weapons, which are completely
We urge your cabinet to consider putting regulations in place under the
Motor Vehicle Act or other appropriate legislation that would enable peace
officers to ticket or impound vehicles emitting electronic noises audible
more than 25 metres away from the vehicle. (This is the approximate
distance set by a Chicago ordinance.)
We also urge you to examine the question of whether Car Stereo Review and
similar magazines are in fact violating Canadian law by printing
advertisements such as those I have brought to your attention.
Enclosed also please find a copy of our brochure, "Noise Is a Serious
Problem," which outlines our concerns about the devastating impact noise is
having on our environment.
Enclosure "WINMAIL.DAT" received as "file:///D:\MINUET\MAIL\ENCL\WINMAIL.DAT"
QUIET-LIST: Internet Mail List and Forum for discussion of Noise Pollution,
Soundscape Awareness, and the Right to Quiet. Email: "firstname.lastname@example.org"
To subscribe, email "email@example.com" with message "subscribe quiet-list".
For info, send message "info quiet-list" to same.
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