Roselyne Bachelot, the French Minister of Health, would like to ban outright the “anti-youth” device known in France as Beethoven, and in England as The Mosquito. The device, a CD that emits ultrasounds at 17,000 hertz over an area of 20 yards, is designed to disturb the hearing of the young, which is much keener than that of adults. Businesses and apartment buildings where gangs congregate and commit mayhem use the device to repel the youth, and it seems to work! At least in England where it has been in use since 2006, in front of certain stores, in buildings and parking lots.
But according to Bachelot, as quoted in Le Figaro:
I hope it will be totally forbidden whatever legal form that may take. [...] This ban requires an inter-ministerial effort: we have been working together with other government officials ever since the issue became a public controversy. [...] We have no study on what its effects are: the question of its harmlessness is therefore raised both for young people and pregnant women. Since this is a question of health, precaution must be exercised.
It is hard not to be amused by this. Nobody is allowed to speak negatively of the “youth”, arrests are infrequent and short, cops are restricted in what they can do to stop criminals, the media use doublespeak when describing criminals, and yet it is clear that the citizens are at their wits end and resorting to a type of “insect repellent” to get rid of the troublemakers. Life is unlivable in many neighborhoods, but no one is willing to stop the root causes of violent behavior.
French readers will enjoy Le Conservateur and his readers’ comments. He feels the device has no future in France since it is bound to be regarded as discriminatory against a particular group (i.e. criminals). He and his readers also suggest that just playing classical music loudly might do the trick, and speculate on how undesirables could be dispersed by the sounds of the great composers of Western civilization.