West Palm Beach is now playing the Baby Shark song on repeat to drive the homeless away from their pavilion. It sounds crazy and maybe a little humorous at first, but their tactic is eerily similar to the one American interrogators once used to tormentin Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
Located on the waterfront, West Palm Beach's pavilion overlooks the great lawn. All kinds of events take place at the pavilion, and the city expects to bring in $240,000 from it this year. On the other side of its glass walls, however, poor people tend to congregate and sleep.
In an attempt to discourage congregation and camping out on the Great Lawn, officials have set two repetitive and annoying songs to blare on repeat: Baby Shark and Raining Tacos. The logic is that no one will be able to get any rest with these songs on loop, so they will move elsewhere. According to officials, this is a temporary solution and that the volume complies with the city's noise code.
In case you are wondering if the West Palm Beach really needed to select such irritating tracks, they apparently learned from another city's failed plan to play classical music. Lake Worth tried using classical music to direct people away from its Cultural Plaza, but instead, they enjoyed it and stayed for more.
According to West Palm Beach officials, it is not acceptable for early morning set up crews or late-night partiers to have to sidestep people sleeping on the Great Lawn. But is it really appropriate to use a tactic that resembles war torture? You have to wonder if maybe the city would do better to look at how it can better help its homeless residence. Perhaps more shelters or resources to help get people off of the street would make more sense.
It remains to be seen whether Baby Shark will drive the homeless away.