THE WEEK IN COMMENTS: Readers debate hearing loss lawsuit, Occupy COMO demonstration

Sunday, October 16, 2011 | 6:34 p.m. CDT; updated 9:09 p.m. CDT, Sunday, October 16, 2011

This week, Missourian commenters discussed an MU professor's lawsuit alleging permanent hearing damage from an acoustic crowd control device used against protesters during a 2009 G-20 summit in Pittsburghas well as David Rosman's opinion piece celebrating a local increase in liberal voices through Occupy COMO.

MU professor first to sue over long-range acoustic devices

Comments: 42/ Commenters: 13

At a Pittsburgh G-20 summit protest in 2009, police used a long-range acoustic device to disperse the crowd. This was the first time this technology had been used against civilians in the U.S. MU professor Karen Piper said while attending the event to do research for a book she's writing, she suffered permanent hearing loss. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the city on her behalf, but readers disagreed about who was most at fault: the city, for using the device, or Piper, for attending the event.

Chuck Kane said people who expose themselves to potentially hazardous situations need to be prepared for the consequences: "We have had way too many demonstrations in this country that have turned heated and violent. In this case, ignorance is no excuse."

Corey Parks, who said he has experience with LRAD technology, suggested that all Piper had to do was leave the area: "The cool thing about them is the fact that they have pinpoint accuracy. You can isolate 2 to 3 people, yet the people standing to the left or right can barely hear anything. Depending on the distance the person is from the device determines the intensity. We never used it less than 75 feet away from the targets. The times it was used against us in training, if it got too high, you just have to walk away."

Sally Willis questioned whether the whole story was being told: "So what are the police allowed to do? We just heard one side of the three-sided story because as we all know, there's your side, my side and the truth. So there was a police barrier and she crossed it, also the police told them to disperse and she was still there. Also I'm sure it was not as peaceful as she claims or why was this tool used?"

DAVID ROSMAN: The people are now speaking, and it's about time

Comments: 47 / Commenters: 16

Columnist David Rosman related the Occupy COMO demonstration taking place in downtown Columbia to some residents' outrage over city ward reapportionment. Although Rosman praised these groups for ensuring their voices were heard, some commenters didn't share his feelings.

Matt Arnall weighed in on the banks and bailouts: "It made sense to bail them out as to stabilize our currency and avoid even further loss of jobs. Problem is that after our tax dollars saved these banks, they are sticking it to the public more than ever, and that is just wrong. The auto bailout worked out great. Saved some American companies, a lot of jobs, money has been paid back and these companies are earning money again. Isn't that good?"

Tony Robertson asked responsible members of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators to keep the others in line: "I am sure there are fine, upstanding Americans among the protest crowds. Maybe they can straighten out the less responsible ones, such as the fine chap doing No. 2 on the five-o, the ones who leave their trash lying around, the ones who revere a cool T-shirt silhouette of a thug and a butcher, the ones who actually take Keith Olbermann seriously."

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