Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Imagination key to exposing Olympic farce

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Are we excited? Of course we are. In less than 100 days the five-ring circus comes to town. People who bemoaned Whistler's lack of Olympic spirit fail to appreciate the numbing effects six years of foreplay can have on anybody's libido. Finally we've rounded third base. Hell yes we're excited; just hope we can remember what we're excited about.

Between now and Feb. 12, we've got a new season to enjoy. If the whoops of giddiness this weekend were any indication, we've been looking forward to it like a good kid looks forward to sittin' on Santa's lap and a bad kid looks forward to lying about what a good kid he's been. We've got a film festival to keep us in the dark and entertain us. We've got Christmas and New Year's and their accompanying parties to crash. We've got January's credit card hangover and detox sessions. Then, bam, climax city.

So little time; so many protests. How we gonna fit 'em all in?

Let's face it, we need protests. It would be a shame if the billion-dollar Olympic security was all for naught. I know, security guys always say things like, "We hope we don't need it" - presence, weapons, mass force - but deep down inside, they hope they do. They don't buy all those toys to just sit around lovingly caressing them on dark lonely nights. Not to say that's not a comforting thing to do; it just pales in comparison to actually watching a perp dance to the electric tune played by a Taser.

The boys in blue recently announced they'd acquired LRADs (Long Range Acoustical Device) to use during the Games. Kind of an iPod dock on steroids, the LRAD fires high-pitched noise at noisy crowds on its seek-and-destroy mode and acts like a high-powered bullhorn on its Effective Communication setting. A Vancouver PD spokesfolk said they'd just be using it to make sure police instructions were heard clearly.

In an age where we can clearly hear a pimped out Honda Civic's sound system coming down a crowded city street from four blocks away, it seems just a bit disingenuous to say you've bought a product that can make peoples' ears bleed just so they can hear you clearly. In literature, this is a classic example of Chekhov's gun - "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it." Paraphrased in popular usage, a pistol hung on the wall in Act I is going to be fired in Act II.

It'll be difficult, in the heat of battle, to avoid flipping the switch from "talk" to "deafen". Though they claim they won't do it, VPD says jacking up the output to crowd control levels disorients protesters, can cause hearing damage and temporarily disrupts vision. I'm not certain in what other ways it differs from an ecstasy-fuelled rave but I suspect the VPD is downplaying its pain potential.

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