The Sound of Freedom
Why can some people tolerate or even love Growler jet noise, calling it “the sound of freedom”?
We all have our opinions about different kinds of noise. We don’t automatically hate it just because it is loud. After all, people pay to go to deafening concerts. Others call the police late at night to complain about people outside, talking.
Loud noise is unsafe and annoying. That is why most towns and cities have laws against it. Island County law, under the heading Public Peace, Safety, and Morals, includes dogs, music, and a long list of other noise sources as illegal “when they unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of property owners.” People throughout Island County are protected by this ordinance.
Why would someone who might call the police over a barking dog love the sound of Growler jets? To them, jet noise is not an annoyance; it is tied to personal values allowing them to tolerate or deny both the health dangers and the life disruption for themselves and their children.
In noise vocabulary, the term “Noise Annoyance” runs the gamut from feeling irritated enough to possibly complain to being freaked out of your mind with fear. It can be physically damaging to your health, with heart problems posing the greatest danger.
Noise Annoyance is subjective. Who might love the sound of Growler jets?
- People who feel they are in control. They considered the jets when they purchased a lower price home and feel they are fairly compensated for the disruption and physical risks.
- People who fear their careers or financial well-being are threatened by any measurement or documentation of abuse that could close the OLF.
- People who believe that if the Navy was hampered in any way in their use of the OLF, the entire base, despite massive investment and strategic location, might be shut down and moved.
- People who believe the Navy to be an honorable institution. They assume that all decisions made by Navy brass, even those that put a flight path 250 feet over the homes of civilians and continue to escalate the number of planes that fly there, are required for the defense of our country and for the safe, effective training for young pilots. They would defend the Navy against speculation of any self-serving motivation.
- People who live and work in a vast network of strong Navy supporters that expect their loyalty. Loyalty save lives on the battlefield and is an important part of military culture, but it can also justify bullying.
- People who work to “score points” with peers by attacking complainers using signs, online comments, editorials, or any other type of “jab to the enemy.” Some have bragged that these types of attacks are a full-time job.
- People who see slogans, T-shirts, banners, and signs as a marketing tool to belittle complaints and make abuse patriotic.
- People who are jet enthusiasts who value the opportunity to see, photograph, or record the sound of Growlers up close, from the highway. Some openly fight to keep them there to preserve their hobby.
- People who see jet noise as being lovable as a fact instead of an opinion.
Who is likely to hate jet noise and be seriously affected by it, beyond the physical harm of its extreme volume?
- People who are enraged by deception originating from deceptive noise disclosure, county maneuvers, NEPA violations, title search failure, and legislators.
- People who can’t afford to move.
- People who didn’t know how life under the jets would affect their families. Many did not know that the almost invisible OLF was there when they bought.
- People who knew about the jets, but at some point, as the volume and number of jets ramped up and tipped the scale, it became too much.
- People who have seen the failure of the National Environmental Policy Act to protect them as Growlers replaced Prowlers with no required Environmental Impact Study and had to be stopped with an expensive legal injunction. Then, the Navy just resumed flights again as the “study” progressed, in further violation of NEPA.
- People who view OLF practice as the source of total disruption of their lives,
- People who know the noise is ruining their hearing, peace of mind, and health.
- People who know the Navy benefits from the pain inflicted on their families because of the convenience of the OLF runway. Fuel and maintenance money is freed for additional expansion and it increases the personal time for Navy pilots and personnel. They don’t like the trade.
- People who know that out of the almost $600 billion defense budget published for 2015 (other sources put it at $738 billion), not one dime has been allotted toward moving the OLF, a small, isolated, outdated runway that all Growler jets use for carrier landing trainings that extends right up to their homes.
- People who see from their windows how training is being adapted during the current Environmental Impact Study and know the planes will again fly lower, as training prescribes, when the EIS is over and the “no significant impact” stamp has been applied.
- People who know the Navy is funded for 153 Growlers that will all be delivered by 2017 and the realization of what that means horrifies them; and
- People who now know they have paid property taxes over the last 20 years on homes that are likely overvalued because they received no disclosure. This assumption is being asserted by two law firms that have filed a class action suit against realtors to recover the likely loss. The County snickered at the attempt of at least one couple to get them lowered.
- People who are expected to sacrifice their health and quality of life by others who would never make an equal sacrifice that was not of their choosing.
Arguing about whether or not Growler jet noise is lovable discounts the reality that it is an opinion, not a fact. Advertising “I Love Jet Noise” or that Growlers are “The Sound of Freedom” is an attempt to disrespect and disregard a difference in values and opinions and excuse abuse. It is an attempt to use slogans to justify mocking fellow citizens who are hurting. It is a way to get what you want by attacking people who have every reason to complain.
For more on noise annoyance and its affects, go to Noise Annoyance.