In the June 20 edition of the Gothamist.com, David Colon wrote an article entitled “Man Arrested for Crime of Having Way Too Awesome Van (That Played Crazy Loud Music”). Colon stated that “freedom” means the right to “own a bitchin’ van and blast some kickin’ tunes from it. OR SO WE THOUGHT, as the arrest of a man in Queens merely for the crime of being a public nuisance with his van full of 50 speakers shows there are apparently limits to freedom in Obama’s America.”
Colon’s adolescent rant shows a complete misunderstanding of the issues. First, “freedom” is not absolute. One person’s “freedom” ends with another person’s rights. One person’s “right” to excessive noise ends at other people’s ears. No one wants to be subjected to extreme noise from someone else’s “bitchin’ van.” Excessive noise is a trespass upon other people’s property.
Second, there are many types of public nuisance violations which can result in imprisonment, including public drunkenness, public urination, and prostitution. Public nuisance laws are intended to protect public welfare and the right of property owners to peacefully enjoy their property.
Third, citizens care about noise pollution. More than 85 percent of the calls to New York City’s quality of life hotline concern noise. Also, a Census Bureau report found that noise is Americans’ #1 complaint about their neighborhood and the #1 reason they wish to move.
Fourth, excessive noise is physically harmful. Excessive noise is associated with headaches, sleep deprivation, hearing loss, decreased cognitive abilities, heart disease, and aggravated behavior.
Fifth, noise enforcement has nothing to do with “Obama.” For decades, every state and virtually every municipality has had a noise ordinance. The Obama administration has done nothing to assist states and localities with noise ordinances or noise enforcement. New York City’s noise policies are entirely the domain of New York City.
Mr. Colon’s statements are thoroughly juvenile. The NYPD was completely justified in arresting the man in Queens for flagrantly violating New York City’s noise laws. Citizens have the right to not be subjected to extreme noise from car stereos.