Beware of the Brown Note.Here's a surprise:
That's the word among some political activists as the Democratic National Convention nears.
As legend has it, the Brown Note is an infrasonic frequency believed to resonate through human body parts and cause a loss of bowel control. Some protesters are convinced that Denver police will amplify such low frequencies to subdue them in August.
"They'll bring out all the technologies they can get their hands on," says activist Ben Yager. "I wouldn't put anything past police in terms of crowd control." . . .
The source of much chatter is Glenn Spagnuolo, co-founder of the Re-create 68 activist alliance and who claims to have inside information about the Police Department's cache of so-called less-lethal weapons — a term as absurd as "low-fat Oreo."Update: Jim Paine of Pirate Ballerina reminds in comments that he was way out front on this one. In an interview I did with him back in April, 2005 he described one of his sci-fi stories:
As Spagnuolo tells it, the list includes new Taser guns that stun people for 20 seconds (as if the 5 seconds in the good old days wasn't long enough).
Activists also prognosticate that Denver will dispatch the mother of all less-lethal weapons — a microwave ray gun said to cause a burning sensation in the skin. The Pentagon hasn't used the system in Iraq, lest it be accused of torture. Lefty activists speculate that Raytheon is seeking to test a limited-range civilian version for domestic crowd control in Denver this summer.
"That, we think, is not a conspiracy theory," says Re-create 68 co-founder Mark Cohen, 62, who cut his teeth in activism when the highest technology that protesters feared was wooden billy clubs.
I did get a rejection slip back in the 70s from an SF editor who said "This is perhaps the most disgusting story I've ever read." It was a story of a subsonics researcher who discovers the resonant frequency of the human anus, sells a device that emits these subsonic sounds to the police for riot control, but fails to mention that low frequencies are omni-directional. Now that I think about it, it was a pretty disgusting idea, though the wording was pretty tame [Uh-huh—ed.]. I think the title was "The Brown Button."Update II: Letter to the editor in the Rocky from the former chief of police of Westminster, north of Denver:
I am beginning to think that the biggest problem that the police will encounter at the Democratic National Convention this summer will not be the group that calls itself Re-create 68. Instead, it will be the American Civil Liberties Union. . . .Who cares? As long as the cops have the Brown note and the itchy-skin device, Denver will be safe.
First, the ACLU sued to make sure that the First Amendment rights of convention protesters are protected, then they filed suit to ascertain what types of equipment the Denver Police Department will be buying to combat any lawlessness during the DNC. Let's make the bleeding-heart ACLU happy: Let's just require that all police officers working the DNC be armed with canisters of Silly String instead of Mace, nerf batons instead of wooden, plastic or metal ones, and "Tickle Me Elmo" dolls instead of Tasers.
Update II: EP links to the Brown note wiki.