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Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:30 AM

The Loudness of the Helicopters (Berkeley Tear Gas Update)

Last edited Sun Dec 7, 2014, 05:53 AM - Edit history (10)

For the last week I've been listening to helicopters flying overhead. At first I chalked them up to news cams and police surveillance. Occasionally they were followed by the sound of sirens.

However, I've begun to take note of how nerve-wracking these nightly rounds of helicopters are. I associate this sound with surveillance and military action. Helicopters are capable of rendering "attack from above". Just the noise itself is a sort of annoying buzz that vaguely resembles tinnitus. The helicopters keep me on edge, stressed out, intimidated, in fight or flight mode.

I'm starting to wonder if helicopters actually have to be that loud: perhaps the police ones are noisy on purpose. Perhaps they are even amplified? Is this part of their crowd-controlling strategy, to use the noise of helicopters to keep people in state of anxiety, and thus make them more susceptible to any commands given by authority figures, i.e. the police?

****************

I'm updating this post from the comments: it turns out the helicopters are so loud because they are circling low and directly overhead. This is what is going on:

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/12/06/tear-gas-thrown-windows-broken-clashes-with-police-as-protesters-march-through-berkeley/

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_27084903/protesters-demonstrate-berkeley

http://www.dailycal.org/2014/12/06/protesters-take-streets-berkeley-looting-broken-windows-reported/

GREAT PICTURES HERE >>>>> http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/12/06/breaking-post-ferguson-demo-in-downtown-berkeley-march-continues-to-berkeley-police-hq/

The irony is earlier today I was looking for ways to join one of the protests in Oakland, which have been hard for me to get to. I was literally a block away from this protest when it started: I was picking up groceries on the same street at the time it says the vandalism started (though I didn't hear anything). I did see the helicopters start to circle as I waited for the bus, but I thought they were headed to Oakland. Arg - only a block away!

I'm weighing the thought of going out now. Obviously stuff is still going on given the level of helicopter activity. I'd like to go to join a protest, though, not to just walk into a cloud of tear gas.

********
From Berkleyside liveblogging:
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/12/06/breaking-post-ferguson-demo-in-downtown-berkeley-march-continues-to-berkeley-police-hq/

Update, 10:50pm: Berkeley Police officer Byron White posted on Twitter at 10:49pm: “Residents in the area of Telegraph corridor, shelter inside to avoid exposure to tear gas.” Witnesses on the ground report that police have “pushed” a group of protesters south on Telegraph and they have passed Ashby.

Update, 10:22pm: Police have deployed tear gas and ‘flash bangs’ at the remaining protesters in downtown Berkeley, according to witnesses on the scene, including Chronicle reporters Seung Y. Lee and Evan Sernoffsky. Berkeley Police Officer Byron White reports via Twitter that police patrol vehicles are being vandalized. “This is gonna be expensive…

(For reference, I live 2 blocks from Ashby, and a few blocks from Telegraph, so the protesters were being "pushed" south from Downtown Berkeley, in the direction of my place, toward Oakland. Not sure why the police are trying to pass this problem off to Oakland...)

***********

According to the latest note at Berkeleyside, the grocery store that I was at earlier was one that was damaged/looted. Had I not moved, the protest would have come to me...


***********

LOL - reading the Berkeleyside comments and there are a number of remarks about the helicopters. Perhaps they were exceptionally noisy after all (because they were flying so low). As a coincidence, they just stopped all at once. The cessation of noise was so abrupt, my ears actually popped. I wonder if there was some law that said they had to cut it out at 11:30...?

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Loudness of the Helicopters (Berkeley Tear Gas Update) (Original post)
daredtowork Dec 2014 OP
Jim Beard Dec 2014 #1
daredtowork Dec 2014 #2
daredtowork Dec 2014 #4
WhiteAndNerdy Dec 2014 #3
daredtowork Dec 2014 #6
WhiteAndNerdy Dec 2014 #9
daredtowork Dec 2014 #10
pinboy3niner Dec 2014 #5
daredtowork Dec 2014 #7
pugetres Dec 2014 #8
daredtowork Dec 2014 #11
pinboy3niner Dec 2014 #12
daredtowork Dec 2014 #13
daredtowork Dec 2014 #14
daredtowork Dec 2014 #15
WhiteTara Dec 2014 #16
daredtowork Dec 2014 #17
pinboy3niner Dec 2014 #18
daredtowork Dec 2014 #19

Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:35 AM

1. Add medical helicopters to the list

 

I don't think they are noisy on purpose, just there hasn't been much done to reduce the noise. Any added weight reduces the carrying capacity and also incresea fuel consumption so it is doubtful anyone would do it on their own. Public pressure is probaly the only answer.

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Response to Jim Beard (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:38 AM

2. Didn't think of medical helicopters!

I guess the helicopters are all necessary.

They do increase the sense of "heightened tensions", though. And I think that this does predispose to cowing people before the authority of the police.

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Response to Jim Beard (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:43 AM

4. Ah, this must have been it

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/us/article/Protesters-injure-police-officer-in-Berkeley-5940945.php

And I must have just missed it. I was grocery shopping on University avenue, and the nightly helicopter circling started shortly after I got to the bus stop. I don't recall seeing the protesters en route (I would have joined!) - much less vandalism or smoke bombs.

UPDATE: This is crazy - in a comment earlier tonight, I was just asking where to join a protest. It turns out I literally missed this one by being LITERALLY a block away. Because I assumed the helicopters were for Oakland, I just took my groceries and went home.

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/12/06/tear-gas-thrown-windows-broken-clashes-with-police-as-protesters-march-through-berkeley/

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_27084903/protesters-demonstrate-berkeley

http://www.dailycal.org/2014/12/06/protesters-take-streets-berkeley-looting-broken-windows-reported/

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/12/06/breaking-post-ferguson-demo-in-downtown-berkeley-march-continues-to-berkeley-police-hq/

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:41 AM

3. Noise pollution is a serious problem.

I doubt that anyone is deliberately trying to stress people out with helicopters that are louder than necessary, but your reaction is more or less normal. We now know that noise pollution negatively affects wildlife, too. I think that often people aren't even aware of how much they are disturbed by ambient noise; you're probably just more self-aware than is typical. I understand how you feel, though -- I am very sensitive to noise & very jumpy. I think that's part of the reason I'm such a night owl -- there is less human activity at night, so I'm less likely to be startled by unexpected sounds, like a door slamming or whatever.

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Response to WhiteAndNerdy (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:45 AM

6. I wasn't imagining it - it's directly above me

It turned out that there was protesting with looting/police defiance in my immediate vicinity. So the helicopters really are circling directly overhead.

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Response to daredtowork (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:49 AM

9. I didn't mean to imply you were imagining it.

I didn't say that at all -- I was just trying to say that being disturbed by it was normal. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

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Response to WhiteAndNerdy (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:51 AM

10. I was more or less confirming that to myself

I'm still trying to get over the fact that I was actually a block away from where all the action was and not there to join it.

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:43 AM

5. The Silence of the Helicopters...

Well, daredtowork - have the helicopters stopped screaming?



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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:46 AM

7. haha they are just GETTING LOUDER!

The Supremacy of Uruguay is at hand...

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:49 AM

8. Weather/atmospheric conditions can also affect how the sounds-

 

simply sound. Temperature gradients, cloud coverage, pressure systems, etc can all have an effect on how sounds are propagated.

Maybe there is a stalled weather system in your area?

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Response to pugetres (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:52 AM

11. Actually the helicopters are circling low and directly overhead, no paranoia

See the above comments for details as to why.

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 03:01 AM

12. A lot of the newer military helicopters seem to be a lot quieter

They're using advanced engines and even the wop-wop-wop of the rotors on the old Jueys seems to be quieter on newer helicopters that replaced the Hueys.

Hueys were used for a long time to shuttle Pentagon brass to Capitol Hill for meetings and congressional hearings. Being at the Wall on a hot day in D.C. when one of the Hueys flew over was a real trip!

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 03:05 AM

13. hmm on the other hand stealth might be even scarier.

Trying to decide if I want to go see if anything remains of the protest now, or if it's just a big ball of tear gas out there.

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 03:31 AM

14. Kicking this because I didn't know what it was

When I originally posted this, I didn't realize it was because my neighborhood was being tear-gassed.

Now people might want to check this out.

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 05:09 AM

15. theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey're baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Hello, 1am wake-every-grandma helicopters...

According to Berkleyside, police are having trouble dispersing some protesters from Telegraph avenue.

Not sure I'm getting the point of this. Are the Black Bloc Blokes with these protesters? Is vandalism/looting occurring? If not - just leave these protesters the frak alone...

Ps. If it is the anarchists again, why not just arrest THEM and be done with it? D'oh!

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 10:20 AM

16. I lived in LA and it was like a war zone every night.

I lived in a border neighborhood and they would hover over for what seemed like hours at a time. When the Rodney King verdict came in that neighborhood (we moved to northern California only one month before) almost burned to the ground. Only a couple of local businesses came through unscathed.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:34 PM

17. Yes it sounds like a war zone

And it leaves the psychological impression of living in a war zone. City leaders/planners might want to take that into account. Especially if government/law-enforcement officials are taking part in the splinter group "anarchists" who are turn mass protests "damaging" and "violent" to provide a pretext for police to shut it down.

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Response to daredtowork (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 02:51 PM

18. The Marines are about to invade L.A. again

The 15th Marine Epeditionary Unit will conduct urban operations training in L.A. this week in preparation for its Spring deployment to the Pacific and ME. Operations also will be conducted in Arizona and Nevada. Expect more "Helicopters overhead? WTF???" posts on DU.

Marines to invade L.A.: Don't know where or when. But don't panic
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-marines-training-downtown-la-20141205-story.html

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 03:48 PM

19. haha you're laughing now

But it really does get unnerving after awhile.

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