MANY NOISEMAKERS are UNRESPONSIVE to PLEAS for QUIET When reason fails, then trading Noise for Noise might work. Here’s an example where it worked to perfection Some inconsiderate dog owners are so dense that trying to reason with them proves futile. In these instances something else is required, but unfortunately that "something else" (such as reciprocal noise) can be in breach of other laws. The mindset of many unintelligent dog owners is so illogical that if a distressed person retaliates with a noise rebuke (such as trading one noise for another as a free and unsolicited aid to learning) they become incensed and call the police. I recall over twenty years ago being tormented by the loud barking of two large black dogs next door. Of course I politely told the owner about the noise but his riposte was the common "All dogs bark!" so I knew another method of getting through to him was required. I chose Noise for Noise. Just on my side of the paling fence between us was a gum tree. I climbed it half way to a point where I could nail a car horn ($5 from the wrecker's yard) and aimed it downwards towards his barking dogs. Then I connected it to my car battery with heavy-duty automotive cable running down the side of the tree and secured to it. When I became too distressed with the din invading all parts of my home I'd go outside, lift the car's bonnet and tap the wire onto the positive terminal of the battery. I'd make the circuit intermittently so that if a dog went "WOOF!" my horn went "HONK!" Similarly if the dogs went "WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! my horn went "HONK! HONK! HONK!" This is what I call trading noise for noise. The owner was outraged. He called the police. Two police constables came out and said to me "You can't do that!" whereupon I quietly convinced them that I actually could. They repeated "You can't do that! It's Disturbing the Peace!" whereupon I asked them politely "What peace?" They then threatened to arrest me if I did it again but as they did so, Mr Next-door's two big dogs started their engines up and the terrible din was startling. I said "There! Now you've heard for yourself what we have to put up with!" The two officers, now somewhat freaked out at having heard the alleged offence with their own ears, immediately left my front porch and entered my neighbour's premises. Maybe 20 minutes passed. When they came back they said "We have spoken to the owner and you'll be pleased to know he's getting rid of the dogs in two days!" Quite surprisingly, he actually did, and peace reigned for several months. Then the oaf obtained two more large black dogs and the procedure repeated - but this time the police did NOT come out. You see, I had delivered a four-page letter to the town's police station outlining the problem and the distress it was causing, and informing them that if the owner repeated his offences I would double my responses to TWO honks per woof - and that's exactly what I did. It seems the police eventually felt that they'd better just leave the matter to my neighbour and I to sort out between ourselves. He fumed that his phone calls to the police were clearly futile. At some point I realised that aiming my very loud horn at the dogs was not fair to the dogs - themselves victims (as is so often the case) of owner stupidity. I recognised that their extreme barking was not their fault but their owner's, so I climbed the tree again and this time aimed the horn directly at my neighbour's bedroom. This now proved altogether too much for him, particularly when, after one long din-for-din session, his wife told me that she'd just spent two hours trying to get their baby off to sleep - and then HORN! I did not know about the baby. She was a reasonable person, and fair. Her husband was neither. This neighbour became resentful because he could not induce the police into condoning his lawbreaking - or to defend his self-perceived right to practice it at will. He came down my driveway to remonstrate with me. I forget what he said, but I recall his parting curse: "I hope your house burns down!" Tough luck mate - it was never my house, and over twenty years later it's still there. He and his family moved out, and the dogs with them. The above story, all true, shows what can happen when an aggrieved person trades noise for noise. There can be trouble but there can also be success. In this unique instance, very satisfying relief had been achieved by putting my horn up a forking gum tree. But there's more. Before this donkey moved out he had a visitor. It later became apparent that this visitor had been regaled with stories of my outrageous behaviour. There was a loud knock on my front door. A somewhat inebriated man stood there. He had my horn in one hand and in the other hand was the horn's connecting cable trailing across my front yard and along my drive and into next- door's driveway. He demanded to know, while standing beside his car parked in his friend's driveway and minding his own business, how suddenly, from out of the sky, came this object. It had landed on his windscreen and cracked it. He pretended to great shock and affront. At first I did not know what to make of all this, then the truth of the matter dawned upon me. What this moron had done, on behalf of his gutless dog-owning friend, was to put his arms across the top of the paling fence to grab hold of the power cable, and then jerked it with such strength that the horn and its mountings were wrenched from the tree trunk. This was evident from the damaged horn terminals, too. I appraised him of my conclusion and he denied he'd done anything of the sort. Before departing, this liar declared "I don't care who did it, but I'm going to get a new windscreen out of it!" My poor horn. It had given such sterling service for peace - but there it was, terminally wounded. It never worked again. Even in death it represented the best $5 investment for peace that I'd ever made. Peter Bright Hobart Tasmania This article may be seen on the (We) Can do Better website