The highly annoying viral songs (‘Raining Tacos’ is also on the playlist) are played on a loop at the Waterfront Lake Pavilion, a venue often used to host private events like weddings and bar mitzvahs, according to the Palm Beach Post.
— Karen Zatkulak (@WLOSKaren) July 18, 2019
The city officials’ chosen method to deter the homeless has been “effective” and is a “temporary measure,” West Palm Beach Parks and Recreation Director Leah Rockwell told the newspaper.
“We are not forcing individuals to stay on the patio of the pavilion to listen to the music. The music is heard only if you are on the patio, a very small area relative to the rest of the waterfront,” Rockwell said.
But the idea has not found many fans online, with social media users reacting in disgust to the “abusive” behavior.
Torture in all forms is banned by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
— C.A. Rogers (@ClayAllenRogers) July 17, 2019
Omg!! What the hell is happening in this country!! Shame on you! That like borderline “psychological warfare”. You are still in AMERICA! Just disgusting!! How about we go to your house and play it continuously!! FIX YOUR HOMELESS SITUATION FIRST! Snob!!
— Patricia Riley (@ppr2007) July 17, 2019
“That’s disgusting. Try helping the less fortunate instead of abandoning them in the ‘home of the free,’” one unamused tweeter wrote.
Another person suggested that the city should “fire anyone who took part in this and use their salaries to build affordable housing or a shelter.”
Cities need to address the problem of homelessness instead of trying to drive homeless people out so they become another city’s concern. Homeless people have to sleep somewhere. It’s inevitable.
— Voting for a true Democrat for 2020 *Primary* (@scribunda) July 17, 2019
Wow such empathy and compassion and kindness for people in need.
— Rachel ~♡~ Elisabeth (@raelee514) July 17, 2019
Using annoying or repetitive music as a means of forcing a certain behavior is nothing new — in fact, it has been common practice for the CIA to use music as torture.
In 2003, Sgt. Mark Hadsell told Newsweek that pop music and heavy metal was being used by US PsyOps teams in Iraq. “If you play it for 24 hours,” Hadsell said, “your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.”
The infamous ‘I Love You’ theme song from the ‘Barney & Friends’ kids show in the US is reportedly one of the CIA’s favorite torture music choices. Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ and David Gray’s ‘Babylon’ have also reportedly been used regularly.
It’s also not the first time Florida officials have used music to drive homeless people from certain areas. A few years ago, the city had tried playing soft classical music throughout the day to keep drug dealers away from public spaces. That didn’t work, however, the Post said, because “people liked it.”
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