Determining sentence for invasively loud speakers

Published 6:41 pm Tuesday, November 4, 2008

At first, I thought it was thunder.

But I knew rain was not in the forecast.

Then I realized the noise was music – or at least something somebody considered music.

I was sitting at a red light. The rumble – obviously coming from another car waiting at the same light – was so pervasive it was overpowering the sound from the radio in my own car.

The sound was so loud, so invasive, that it rattled not only my car’s windows, but my teeth as well.

Looking for the source, I realized it was a small, not very new pickup – what folks where I come from call “trainer trucks” – in the next lane.

I have no idea what the sound system in the toy truck was playing. All I could hear was, “BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM.”

I do know, however, that the “artist” performing was not Waylon or Willie. Or even Elvis or anybody else I or anyone of my generation would have any interest in listening to.

I suspect the sound system in the truck cost more than the truck was worth.

I have no doubt its amplifier generated enough watts to power Gates County.

I know its speakers were more than sufficient to keep a capacity crowd at a Washington Redskins game fully informed even at the game’s high point and the crowd’s noisiest.

What a waste of good money.

I took a smidgen of comfort in the realization that the owner/driver of the teeny truck had surely damaged his hearing irreparably. He deserved every bit of that.

I pulled very slowly away from the light, giving that Matchbook truck time to pull far, far ahead and away.

Once he was gone, I turned my own radio off. The silence felt very, very good.

I’m opposed to government intervention in just about everything. I think the government is there to provide protection to its citizens. Beyond that, I believe it is of little use and is, in fact, potentially dangerous and, far more often than not, detrimental.

But as that truck drove off, it occurred to me that I would like very much for my government to protect me from it and its driver.

I thought about that for a minute and determined within my own mind and to my own satisfaction that an appropriate punishment for that driver’s total absence of consideration for others would be to be confined for 24 hours in a 10-by-10 room with walls covered by 22-inch speakers all operating without pause at full volume.

Then he should probably be sentenced to another 24 hours for not having better sense than to waste all that money in the first place.

Then to another 24 for being seen in that silly truck.

David Sullens is president of Roanoke-Chowan Publications LLC and publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and the Gates County Index.