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Les Marcott
If I Had A Speech Jamming Gun
Scene4 Magazine-inView

April 2012

Pete Seeger – If I had a hammer…I'd hammer out danger
Bruce Cockburn – If I had a rocket launcher…some son of a bitch would die

If I had a speech jamming gun…well I've only begun to contemplate its uses and misuses.  What is a speech jamming gun?  It's a hot new invention developed by researchers in Japan.  Not overly complex, the prototype put together is based on the well documented study of delayed audio feedback (DAF).  The device contains a direction sensitive microphone, a direction sensitive speaker, a distance sensor, and a motherboard.  The gun is effective due to the fact that when someone's voice is played back to them at a slight delay, that person's speech can be "jammed". They become silent and disoriented. So far, the gun can work from up to 50 meters away.

My most immediate need for the gun would be to render the babbling fool on the hill, the village idiot, the drama queen…mute.  No more would I have to put up with their endless rants, ramblings, and their uninformed opinions.  I could become a kinder, gentler, Dirty Harry.  After all, the gun renders them speechless, not dead.  "Feeling lucky, punk?"  And I would have the biggest, baddest, speech jamming gun on the block.  "Make my day".

For those who perform, the gun would come in very handy.  Who hasn't come across the occasional heckler, or obnoxious drunken lout lurking in the audience to disrupt your performance? Shoot 'em.  It would send a message to anymore would be troublemakers.

Trouble with a spouse or significant other?  Arguing and constant fighting?  Is talking it out not working?  Well I'm not telling you what to do, but I know what I would do. Honey, you won't feel a thing.

As good as I'm feeling about my new weapon of choice, I realize that with any "weapon" of this nature, it can be misused.  Thus at some point in the evolution and usage of the speech jamming gun, government will become involved in its licensing and regulation. Carrying around an unregistered and concealed speech jamming gun?  Well that just might land you some prison time my friend.  And one can surely envision an organization which rivals the political clout and influence of The National Rifle Organization.  We'll call it The National Speech Jamming Gun Association (NSJGA) for now.

But on the more serious side, it is government itself which could be the ultimate abuser of this new gadgetry. The ability to assemble and peacefully protest might come under attack by those officials who feel threatened by legitimate grievances articulated by the crowd.  Using speech jamming guns would be the most effective way to silence them.  On the other hand, as much as I love and have been a proponent of free speech, there is one group I can't wait to silence.  The members of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas don't like Jews, homosexuals, Roman Catholics, and just about everyone else in the world including American soldiers.  They protest almost daily and you never know when they might show up at an event near you.  You can check out their schedule if you're so inclined.  But it is their "Thank God For Dead Soldiers" campaign that is utterly repulsive and morally reprehensible…Imagine a family that has lost their son, daughter, brother, or sister to the war in Afghanistan.  Imagine the suffering, sorrow and grief they must feel and then…to hear the taunts of the Westboro Baptist Church at the loved one's funeral!  So far, the courts have deemed their antics at military funerals as lawful.  But if ever a speech jamming gun was needed, this is the perfect situation.  Or better yet, maybe Mr. Cockburn's rocket launcher would be better.  Of course, I'm speaking metaphorically.

And one wonders if this device was invented earlier if the course of history would have changed dramatically.  The Hitlers and other charismatic despots of the world perhaps would have gone mute.  Their ability to mesmerize and influence large numbers of people would have been minimized with the use of this gun.  And perhaps there would have not been a Jonestown without the voice of megalomaniac Jim Jones.  These are just some things to ponder when you unholster your new weapon.

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©2012 Les Marcott
©2012 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Les Marcott is a songwriter, musician, performer and a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4. His latest book of monologues, stories and short plays, Character Flaws, is published by AviarPress.
For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives
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April 2012

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