Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Paging Ayn Rand...

Remember when private businesses could serve who they wanted, without people trying to ban their ability to say "get the hell out"?

Basically, that's what businesses in England and NYC are doing-- they're using a high-pitched device that's annoying to teens to discriminate for the more mature customer.

Yet, that's "wrong." We have to stop that.

No, don't boycot them. We've got to BAN them.

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At Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:35:00 AM, Blogger Dustin said...

I would need more information before deciding good or bad. Such as what the range of the device is, where it is pointed (public thoroughfare?), etc.

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:41:00 AM, Blogger JD said...

A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union said the organization does not have a position on the issue. But James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Boston's Northeastern University, said that putting crowd-monitoring devices in the hands of private businesses and citizens is "dangerous."

"There is a significant problem with giving people a tool like this and empowering the public to take over the tasks of law enforcement," Fox said. "It can certainly be used in a way that's inappropriate, and without a doubt, it will be."

And here I always thought that the citizen and the police worked together to keep us all safe, I didn't know use of a loudspeaker is taking over the tasks of Law Enforcement. . . Of course the guy saying this is a liberal from MA where they want us all to be nice little sheep and let the government do it all for us. . . .

Thanks, I will keep my right to protect myself and family and I don't think that steps on the job of the local cops. . . .

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:43:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Dustin, you're talking about the legislation of use. That would be fine. Don't blast it down a public sidewalk. Don't make it audible from a roadway or public park.

But don't assign the thing the title of "good or bad." That's a descriptor for people, or the actions of people.

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:04:00 AM, Blogger Brandon said...

I have a different problem with those things. I'm 33, hardly the target demographic, but I can still hear them quite clearly. Any place that puts one up around here will have lost my business. Frankly, I think the whole thing is a silly idea.

Nevertheless, I agree with the premise of your post. It's the business owner's prerogative to put one of those dumb things up, as long as I don't have to have it boring into my head whilst I'm sitting in my car on the street.

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is a significant problem with giving people a tool like this and empowering the public to take over the tasks of law enforcement,"

....seems someone (an academic Statist... figures!) has forgotten Sir Robert Peel:

"Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence."

Property Rights, people! If it's my store, I can kick anyone out I want to. I liked those signs I used to see (that cause Libs to screech "RACISM!" at ear splitting decibels) that said "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone. Thank You." It was a reminder to my young self that I had better mind my manners, or I'd be shown the door. Such signs have been banned by the PC Police, and Public Decorum has suffered for it. 30 years ago, if some disgusting fatbody had wallowed into the local malt-shop with her 6screaming brats, wearing cut offs, a tube top and shower shoes, she'd have been shown the door. If that happened today, she'd sue, saying she had (technically, at least)shirt and shoes, so she was entitled to service. Piffle.

Though I disagree with the reasoning behind them, I support the right of business owners to post those stupid "No Guns" signs. I am under no illusion that those signs will protect anyone or stop thugs and murderers from bringing whatever they want with them. I just don't go there, and neither does my money.

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Andrew C said...

I think these devices are a symptom of a greater issue in our society. Everyone is paranoid of directly confronting an issue. If you don't want teenagers in your store, tell them to get out!

These devices would make me go crazy. As far as I know, I haven't been exposed to this particular device. At 21, I probably fall within the "target group", and one of these would definitely make me leave the area - I hear this frequency very clearly. My wife, at 20, can't hear this frequency at all. The device may not be as successful as they hope.

These devices should remain legal. They're allowed to do whatever they want on their property - they'll just lose my business. If I can hear it once I'm off their property, I'll first request that they shut it off or turn it down. If they refuse, I'll contact the police.

Looks like it would fall under public nuisance.

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 1:18:00 PM, Blogger BobG said...

Hell, most of the teens I've seen wouldn't notice; they either have an iPod blaring away, or they're yapping on a cellphone and completely oblivious to their surroundings.

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:14:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Sorry, I'm with the these-are-bad-ideas camp. The linked article talks about an apartment building that put one up outside to keep loiterers from the immediate property... and a resident of the building is negatively affected by it, having to run to school to not be bothered by it. It's a shotgun solution that affects a lot more than the delinquents that are obviously the intended targets, and I'm not comfortable with that, especially since I'm skeptical whether you could actually control with much precision how far the effect extends.

The device is supposed to affect children older than 12. So, for the mall that wants to drive away skateboarders with it, fine, but what about the 13 year old that gets dragged to the mall with his mom (who can't hear it and isn't bothered by it) for back to school clothes, and doesn't have a choice? Is it fair to subject that poor kid to ear torture because the mall security guards think all teenagers are just punk kids? I don't think we should be encouraging private businesses (or anyone, really) to be looking at all teenagers as potential criminals any more than (for example) all gun owners, so I don't see a problem with banning this device for private use. If malls and apartment buildings want to shoo off troublemakers, they should do it individually, not with some indiscriminate crowd control device.

And what if it wasn't teenagers that were the target group? If it were, say, blacks that were being categorically refused service? Or white trailer trash? Would we really be so supportive of private business owners to refuse service to "anyone" if the only "anyones" being turned away were all women? Hmph.

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 7:27:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

"And what if it wasn't teenagers that were the target group? If it were, say, blacks that were being categorically refused service? Or white trailer trash? Would we really be so supportive of private business owners to refuse service to "anyone" if the only "anyones" being turned away were all women? Hmph."

Peter, I'm fine with private businesses being able to discriminate who their customer base is. I may very well find their stance objectionable, and would, if that was their goal. I don't like doing business with sexists or racists or hoplophobes, etc. But the right of the private business owner to choose his demographic is his own. Hell, I find most Muzak to be really objectionable, but you don't see me trying to seek releif from the government against the private business playing playing it in their lobbies.

Boys 12 to 20 are your biggest source of crime in the United States. They comprise about 90% of gangs. They are the the main source of gang violence. They don't have much money. Why would you, as a shopkeeper, want them loitering around?

If you're outraged at the device, then I certainly encourage you to take action on the private front against them. But (and this would be the Ayn Rand reference that I was talking about) it is philosophically wrong in nature to expect a governmental solution to this perceived affront.

At Thursday, April 24, 2008 8:32:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm not sure where you're getting your crime statistics from; the demographics in my state are, I think, somewhat different, but even if true, I still don't think it justifies private citizens or private businesses taking these kind of blanket measures. Just being a teenager doesn't make someone a criminal or potential criminal any more than owning a firearm makes someone a potential bank robber or murderer.

Let's ask this: why SHOULD private business owners be allowed to refuse service on obviously discriminatory or morally objectionable grounds? (Just throwing an idea out here - hear me out, and then direct all hate mail to peter.notmyrealemail (at) ). We don't let those same private business owners make employment decisions based on those factors, and that seems to be okay with most people. Maybe government action is required in some circumstances to push people to do the right thing (see: Jim Crow laws), even if maybe this isn't one of them. I'm not ready to say that going to the mall is a basic civil right, but what about the only grocery store in a low-income neighborhood? Or the Wal-Mart in a small rural Tennessee town? In theory, if there was unmet demand from an excluded population, other suppliers should enter the market as competition, but that doesn't always work the way it should.

At Friday, April 25, 2008 2:15:00 AM, Blogger EE said...

Sort of off topic but I can't hear that noise. It'd be kinda funny to walk in their store and hang out for a bit, just to see their reactions.

At Friday, April 25, 2008 4:56:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Peter, I'll gladly discuss it here, if you don't mind. The discussion adds to the post, I think.

I personally think that the concept that I, as a private business owner owe *everyone* the opportunity to use my business is cracked. A private businessman is not the government. There is not an Equal Protection issue.

We routinely discriminate against classes of people. Women-only gyms. Adults-only planned communities and resorts. We don't make private golf courses wheelchair accessible. (Silly to suggest, but then, it's a silly subject)

If you take government contracts and thus are acting on behalf of the government, then perhaps the situation changes. But if I'm a private business, I'll serve who I wish until compelled to do otherwise. The original government interference with this was back in the 1960s during the judicial activism period, when the Fed forced southern motels to take on blacks as well as white residents. This was justified under a doctrine that said that the motels, which were on the interstate, dealt primarily with out-of-state clients, and thus were subject to federal regulation under the "Interstate Commerce" clause. It was a reach, but they made it work.

And yes, good things have come from it. That doesn't stop the Constitutionality of the issue from being mighty shady, indeed.

At this point, though, we're talking about intrastate commerce, and I simply don't see how the Equal Protection doctrine applies. If the local businesses won't serve you, you can either: Move, shop elsewhere, or get really good at online and mail order shopping.

My stats are merely bits picked up from too many years studying this stuff as an undergrad Criminal Justice student and as a graduate CJ student. They're approximations, but I'll bet that I'm within 5-10% for the 2007 year. (The DOJ's FBI UCR for 2007 hasn't fully yet come out.)

At Friday, April 25, 2008 5:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The device is meant to scatter teens who are loitering outside. It does not prevent anyone from coming in the front door.

At Friday, April 25, 2008 7:56:00 AM, Blogger Tam said...

"And what if it wasn't teenagers that were the target group? If it were, say, blacks that were being categorically refused service? Or white trailer trash? Would we really be so supportive of private business owners to refuse service to "anyone" if the only "anyones" being turned away were all women? Hmph."

I have no problems with whites-only, blacks-only, women-only, or men-only, so why would I have a problem with "Adults Only"?

I remember when they could still have "adults-only" apartment complexes in this country. My first apartment almost didn't let me rent because my roommate was a month shy of their 18th birthday...

At Friday, April 25, 2008 10:11:00 PM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

It doesn't have to BE high-pitched---DUH!--- it's called "classical music." You play the overture to The Barber of Seville repeatedlym, and I guaran-damn-tee you won't have any teens hanging about.

Playing classical music worked to drive the homeless away from the downtown McDonald's in Dallas, and I'm betting the average homeless person has more refined sensibilities than the average teen. Call me ageist. I can live with that.

At Saturday, April 26, 2008 4:05:00 AM, Blogger KD5NRH said...

"Playing classical music worked to drive the homeless away from the downtown McDonald's in Dallas,"

I thought they just got tired of hanging out in one of the few places downtown that was dirtier than the Greyhound station.

It's interesting, though, that they're actually getting $1500 a pop for something anybody with a little electronics knowledge could hack together from junk in about 15 minutes. I've done some experiments along these lines, and while at 30, I can hear it, it takes about half an hour to start annoying me. The 18-25 crowd, OTOH, seems to be bothered in a minute or less. Now I'm plotting to make a portable unit to fit inside my hat.

At Saturday, April 26, 2008 4:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just my $0.02:

When your business chooses to open its doors to the PUBLIC, it becomes more than just a PRIVATE enterprise. Can I be arrested for PUBLIC intoxication at the mall? Yes, I can. Same with being drunk at a bar. I can even go to jail for driving drunk in an appartment's parking lot (also a private property).

Therfore, it has been well established that a private business does not get to dicate ALL of the rules of conducting its business. Like it or not, the precedents have been established.

I tend to side with Peter. In an IDEAL world, people would do the right think and boycott racist or sexist businesses. In the REAL world, it doesn't work that way.

Here's an idea: as a PRIVATE company, I want to make it policy that all female employees must wear skirts and no undewear. Oh, and let me grope them when I feel like it. Still OK with it?

Let's face it: ALL laws exist because not ALL people do the right thing. The laws are there to establish guidelines and punish those who don't follow them, private property or not.

At Sunday, April 27, 2008 12:10:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...


I've been to one or two establishments in my checkered past that absolutely had rules that demanded that their female employees wear skirts (sometimes) and no underwear (sometimes). My patronage of these establishments has almost exclusively been limited to bachelor parties; they're called "strip clubs." [blush]

As for the groping by an employer, that changes the field, don't you think? There's quite a difference between people who would like to discriminate what kind of patrons they will have in their business (simply by making their business annoying to some! Not by banning anyone) and an employer sexually molesting his employees. An employer has an employee's livelihood in his hands. A business owner does not have the same hold over his clients.

Let's face it: ALL laws exist because not ALL people do the right thing. The laws are there to establish guidelines and punish those who don't follow them, private property or not.

[Chuckling] I understand the principle, having been enforcing laws for a while, now. I simply don't agree with the principle that we always need governmental guidelines to do the right thing. Please note, though, that there is no law against placing a kid zapper noisemaker device in your business, at present.

I'm really surprised at the number of people here who support the movement to ban those things. If so, can I get criminal enforcement of my demands that they quit playing ghetto hip hop at some of the youth-focused clothing businesses at the mall, when I go in to buy...

Aw, crap, it all fell apart, right there. I spend less than 4 hours a year at malls, in my estimation. But the last time I was in a Banana Republic store, of all places (remember when they were actually kind of nifty?), they were blaring some over-loud, over-rhythm-guitar'd grunge crap that made me look around, and realize that everyone in there was in their late teens to mid-twenties. I thought I'd stumbled into a Gadzooks store. (Do they still have those affronts to sensibilities?)

At Thursday, May 01, 2008 1:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yeah, I realized I stepped into it (strip clubs) a few hours after I posted my comment..... Oh, well. Anyway:

Actually, I am not for banning those teenage zappers. I think if you want to put it on YOUR property, closed to the public and the measured noise on your property line is within the legal limits, fine. Say, you have a couple of acres and don't want teenagers fishing in your pond.
I think putting up the device in PUBLIC places does/should violate the noise ordinances. Just because some people don't hear it, doesn't mean it's silent.

Now, if the device IS less than the legal dB limit, that's one thing. That would be like playing country music to make your bar unattractive to Black customers, or playing hip hop to discourage middle age Whites. But I strongly suspect that the device's output level would be illegal if it fell at, say 1000 Hz.

I'd like to clarify the other issue, too:

Everyone here, with Peter's exception, is completely OK with the only gas station in a small town in the middle of nowhere refusing to sell to black people, right? Or a private school refusing to allow asians?

Those decision USED TO BE left to the business owners. That didn't work out too well....

At Sunday, May 11, 2008 3:54:00 PM, Blogger Rogue Medic said...

There are some things about this that raise questions.

"Santell said the noise can be heard by animals and babies but is bothersome only to children older than 12." Doctors used to say that kids did not feel pain during surgery, so they did not need anesthetics. I wonder how much is really known about the effect on pre-teens.

If there are all of these teen oriented stores in the mall and teens do not have any money, whom are they selling these products to? It can't all be parents. I have been in some of these stores with my child, now an ex-child, and there appeared to be plenty of kids alone and spending money.

Wouldn't these customers move to a place that does not annoy them?

I haven't been in a mall in quite a while. One of the reasons is the abundance of unpleasant noise, that is represented as music. I am not in their demographic. I like the idea of playing classical music. Of course, it does make me think of A Clockwork Orange.

It is an interesting book that, at least in the non-American versions (Americans not being capable of dealing with the material according to the censors), had Alex growing up and outgrowing his violent ways.


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