October 1, 2007

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Ron Czapala
[email protected]

Mike Smith
[email protected]

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Madison: Lakeland, Florida has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for allowing boom car thugs to terrorize innocent citizens. A Lakeland man was so incensed by the constant booming that he was driven to pull a gun on boom car thugs.

In September, The Ledger reported that “a Lakeland man who’d had enough of cars blaring music through his neighborhood is accused of walking up to one and pointing a shotgun at one of the occupants,” according to the Polk County’s sheriff’s office. “Michael M. Hyde, 39, approached the car, which had been driving around his neighborhood, just after midnight in front of his home, in the 8400 block of Pinecone Drive, Lakeland, an arrest report stated.”

The Ledger states, “Armed with a double-barreled shotgun, Hyde told the men inside the car, Daniel K. Schiff and Steven C. Ragsdale, both of Lakeland, to stop, then told the driver to turn down his music and stop driving around his neighborhood, the report stated. When the driver tried to move his car, the men told police, Hyde raised the shotgun and pointed it at the driver’s chest.”

Ron Czapala, an anti-noise activist in Louisville, Kentucky, stated that “this story seems outrageous at first glance. However, it perfectly illustrates the frustration many people feel after years of being assaulted by vehicle noise from thumping bass and trash can mufflers. While most cities have noise ordinances to protect our right to peace and quiet in our homes and communities, enforcement is weak or non-existent.”

Czapala also stated that “across the country, there are numerous instances of noise inciting violence. These tragedies were caused by people who do not respect the rights of other people and believe they have a ‘right’ to unrelentingly annoy others.Many people are afraid to complain about noise for fear of retaliation.”

An anti-noise activist in Pulaski, Virginia, Mike Smith, stated that “Lakeland, Florida joins the ranks of many other cities and towns across America that have fallen victim to violent confrontations with thumping boom cars. This confrontation had the potential to escalate to terrible violence. It is clear that the pleas of Lakeland citizens for peace and quiet have fallen on deaf ears. Now an innocent man will have to pay for his attempt to stop audio terrorism in his neighborhood.”

Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, noted that “constant exposure to noise is incredibly frustrating and irritating. Noise takes away one’s right to peace and quiet. Noise causes intense aggravation. Noise can lead to violent confrontations. The police in this country have the responsibility to strictly enforce laws against disturbing the peace. The situation in Lakeland is evidence of the city’s failure to protect its citizens.”

Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Youngstown, Ohio and Lincoln, Nebraska. Noise Free America’s web site is at www.noisefree.org.