An Irritating Sound

Those new Sirens that the D.C. Police use, the ones that make your brain vibrate, and your bones rattle are truly a modern marvel. The Rumbler Sirens maker says, “[its] vibrating tones provide feel with emergency warning sound” is seems like an absurd statement until your walking down the street and see a cop flying towards you, making you actually feel the dread of police presence instead of just the standard emotional drawback.

It makes me wonder, What’s next? Is this new siren capable of weaponization? Could tomorrows cops and G.I.’s be carrying Sonic-Rifles that make you compulsively shit your pants or rattle your brain until your head explodes? The thought of a weaponized “Brown Noise” is both hilarious and terrifying (unless you work for Fruit-of-the-Loom or sell washing machines that is).

I can see the merit that the police have with installing this on some their cruisers, though. I myself have grown accustomed to the high-pitched whines of emergency-service crews racing through city streets. It’s just something you inevitably adapt to when living in an city ripe with urban sprawl (if not you’ll probably go insane and begin shouting at innocent people from some umpteenth-story apartment window). More over, as people today tend to become lost in an audio abyss as they carry out their commute listening to iPods and car radios with sub-woofers, it seems pertinent to gain the attention of distracted motorists and mildly-deaf pedestrians for the benefit of society as a whole by any means necessary. It’s an emergency, after all, so wake up and get the hell out of the way.

I mean, I’d be kind of upset if I were laying in the back of an ambulance, hemorrhaging enough blood to rival old-faithful, while some prick in a Mercedes was too busy rocking down to Electric Avenue on a one way street.

Despite this, however, I can close my eyes and imagine police in riot gear shooting sonic waves at protesters. The scene would horrible: hordes of political dissidents shitting themselves uncontrollably as riot police bring protesters literally to their knees in puddles of their own crap. The smell would spread with wind, entire city blocks would be forced indoors as an irradiated stench smothers the senses.

“What if someones rectum prolapses?”, I wonder, “What if some poor old lady is shot with a sound wave and she just shits herself so hard that her anus literally falls out of her body?” Technically speaking, you can live if your rectum prolapses, but you’d undeniably be in a considerable amount of pain. Does this make it cruel and unusual punishment or effective, non-lethal crowd control? Is something that makes you wish for really death non-lethal?

Hundreds of Thousands Protest US Occupation in Iraq
Protesters represented varied causes, from anti-war messages to pleas for improved foreign policy and aid for needy countries. -photo by Tim Moraca

The following article originally appears in Volume 9, Issue 3, of the Montgomery Advocate , the student newspaper of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, Tuesday, October 4th,  2005.

On Saturday, September 24 hundreds of thousands of protesters descended upon Washington D.C. for the United for Peace and Justice Mobilization and the Operation Ceasefire concert, the largest anti-war protest since the start of U.S. Occupation in Iraq. The protest drew a number of powerful and influential figures including Rep. Maxine Waters (D) of California, former Presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and leader of the Bring Them Home Now Tour, a traveling protest aimed at bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq, which coordinated it’s conclusion to fall on the same weekend.

“All of us have a central responsibility in America,” shouted an excited Nader to sea of thousands, “[George W. Bush] has neglected his responsibility…You are the opposition… It’s time to take that opposition [and] with laser precision, tell [your representatives] how you feel about the war. This is the first war opposed by a majority of the people…Here is a president who plunged our nation into the greatest quagmire in American history. George W. Bush must be held accountable [and impeached] for his crimes under Article 2 – Section 4 of the United States Constitution.”

“I am sick and tired of George W. Bush,” cried California Congresswoman Maxine Waters. “We are tired of being lied to,” she continued with a fist raised high in the air, “The U.S. doesn’t deserve a president who left poor people, black people, and white people stranded in New Orleans [to die].”

“Today is a call to action… he has lied over and over again,” Waters went on, “[He] lied when he said he would hold corporate C.E.O’s responsible,” referring to the Enron and Tyco scandals. “On 9/11 he tricked us into believing Saddam Hussein was responsible…I ask you, where are the weapons Mr. President? Then [he] lied again when he said we would be there for 6 months, we want truth Mr. President,” concluded Waters to a roar of applause, whistles and cheers from protesters.

The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke briefly and with a proud assurance, “There’s something wrong with our country when we send folks to help in places that don’t need [help]. We have problems that need [solving] at home…The question isn’t why should we walk out of [the] war, the question is why did we walk in to the war in the first place?”

Operation Ceasefire, a free concert that was held at the Ellipse on the same day sponsored by United for Peace and Justice and Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.), featured such bands as Thievery Corporation, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Le Tigre, and Bouncing Souls.

“I think the fact that they had a concert drew more people out,” said Sarah Owens, President of MC-R’s Philosophy Club, “[but] a lot of people may’ve just come for the concert. When asked if the concert helped the cause, Owens replied, “I think it was good in the sense that it helped people to see the message that a lot of the protesters had, I just think some people didn’t take it seriously.”

D.C. Police quoted the actual number of protesters as upwards of 150,000 people, but protest organizers claimed over 300,000. Some still think that screams and signs of protesters just weren’t loud enough. “I didn’t like the [lack of major media] coverage, Owens says,“With Katrina fresh on peoples minds, they used [hurricane] Rita to overshadow what was going on. There we other protests in other cities all over the world [that day], and [the major news media] kind of just said, ‘Oh, yeah, this happened today too.’ I just think it should’ve been a bigger deal.”

Despite the lack of coverage, many feel that overall goal was accomplished. When asked her opinion about the future of the war Owens replied, I’m really optimistic…I would hope it gets bigger, [but] it seems like people might get pissed off for a little while and then forget about it.”

MC Professor Dedicated Himself to College

The following article originally appears in Volume 9, Issue 2, of the Montgomery Advocate , the student newspaper of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, Tuesday, September 20, 2005.

Douglas Gleason, M.C.-Rockville Professor
Douglas Gleason, M.C.-Rockville Professor

On Wednesday, September 7, Douglas Gleason, the Acting Instructional Dean of Fine, Performing and Visual Arts at the Rockville Campus died. Gleason started at Montgomery College in 1989 teaching photography and held numerous titles at MC including. Administrative Associate to the President of the college in the spring of 1996 as well as serving as the department chair of Visual Communications Technologies (now Communications Arts Technologies) for 6 years and as the Chair of General Education Committee.

Gleason was also a news writer and photographer for the U.S. Air Force from 1969 through 1971. Gleason spent time as a professor of photography at Chowan College in Murfreesboro, North Carolina where he was greatly respected by students and faculty.

“He was very easy to work for,” said Shirley Henry, Gleason’s Secretary in the Communications Art Technologies Department. “He looked for the best in everyone. He never forgot my birthday or Professional’s Day…I always got flowers and candy,” she said.

Photography professor at MC-R Brian Jones was a close colleague and friend to Gleason. “He kept the human element in his teachings and in his personal life. He told the truth,” said Jones, “He always told you exactly what the deal was…he would never lie to you. He knew students and faculty have the same issues.”

Those who knew Gleason never had issues with him. “If a student had an issue, he would help. He knew that sometimes you have to be flexible when dealing with people,” Jones said. “Whenever there was a problem, he was always the first to look for the great compromise. Sometimes a student just can’t afford the supplies around the holidays and you have to choose between buying gifts and buying school supplies. Doug was the kind of person that would say, ‘Go do your shopping first and then get your work done as soon as possible.’”

“Doug really believed in the college,” Professor Jones continued, “He gave the college his life. It was rare when he wasn’t here. He was a pillar; he understood what it took for his department, as well as the college, to survive. Whenever there was grant money available he would let us all know…I would say Doug worked hard, but he would say he only worked hard because he needed the money. He was honest…he was beyond pettiness. ”

“He had been ill for sometime,” remembers Henry, “we kept hoping he’d get better and come back, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. He will be missed by students, staff and faculty. [His death] wasn’t a shock, but a great sadness to us all.”

Gleason’s cremated remains will be placed in the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery on October 17 at 10:30 a.m. Friends and Family are encouraged to attend.