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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Letters Segment

Air Date: Week of

Feedback from our audience on last week's Car Alarm story.


CURWOOD: And now it's time to hear from you, our listeners.

(Car siren)

CURWOOD: A number of you called or wrote after our report last week on New Yorkers taking aim at noisy car alarms. Many shared the sentiments of Stuart Goldsmith, who listens to KUOW in Seattle. "Car alarms should be banned," he wrote. "The noise pollution they create even when they're simply being engaged is annoying as hell. The devices," he says, "are a classic example of a mindless technology whose social and environmental costs outweigh the benefits conferred on the owner." Hill Nevens, who tunes to WBUR in Boston, wrote us by e-mail, "One night some yuppie decided to park his or her Saab 900 right under my window. The Saab decided to serenade our apartment block every 5 minutes all night long. The next morning the car was decorated with language I won't repeat in a variety of formats, including shaving cream. No eggs, broken windows, or scratches, though. Too bad." Other listeners found the tactics of the anti-alarm vigilantes, well, alarming. Dolores Scott, who listens to WLRN while in Miami, shuttles frequently to the Big Apple.

SCOTT: I'm a New Yorker that loves New York, and I have never heard any of these sounds that bother me. I don't know what they're talking about. If you're tired enough and you exercise enough you'll sleep. So, and as far as adults attacking other adults' cars, so-called civilized Judeo-Christian adults, I think it's outrageous. They ought to be all thrown in jail, and given a course in humanity.

CURWOOD: Andrew Barclay, who listens to WUNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, points out that eggs are far from harmless. "One night," he writes, "someone driving by my house threw an egg on my new car. By the time I washed it off the next afternoon there was permanent damage to the paint. No amount of buffing or waxing would remove the scars." And, he adds, his car had no alarm. Finally, from the relative quiet of Bainbridge Island in Washington State, a transplanted New Yorker, Robert Randlett, offers this solution. He says the sound of alarm should fit the musical taste of neighborhood residents.

RANDLETT: Why not opera? Loud opera? Extremely loud opera. And if you're of a certain mind, why not Wagner? Have Wagner blasts. I wouldn't mind, as I never minded falling asleep in New York to Wagner, listening to Wagner as I fell asleep.


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