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Co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream arrested
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While Americans have the right to protest the government and other establishments, we have to follow the laws while doing it. But this rule often comes as a surprise to many progressives, who seem to be fond of engaging in demonstrations that include illegal activity.
Such is the case with Ben Cohen, co-founder of the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream empire, who was arrested on Saturday for putting amplifiers on a trailer and driving around his hometown of Burlington, Vermont while playing the sound of an F-35 fighter jet, in protest of plans to base 18 F-35s in Burlington next year.
Cohen was arrested for violating a noise ordinance in the city, after already receiving two citations for the offense.
Stick to the Ice Cream
Cohen, an outspoken liberal, was picked up at about 3:30 p.m. after more than four hours of driving around with the trailer, blaring jet sounds. Police in Burlington said Cohen meant to simulate the sounds of the jet taking off and landing, in an effort to protest what he called “extreme jet blasts” that would sound near his home “16 times per day, 52 weeks a year,” if constituents vote to allow that on Tuesday.
The Vermont Air National Guard has been engaged in a debate since 2012 with detractors like Cohen, who don’t want to see the F-35 VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) fighter based out of Burlington. Those opposed say that the jet’s presence will “erode the quality of life in the area and threaten the health of those living near the airport.”
Cohen added in a series of tweets that the sound of an F-35 is “either legal or not.” He argued that “if it’s legal for the F-35 to make this noise,” then the demonstration should be legal as well.
But apparently, Cohen knew he would be arrested — and according to the ice cream mogul, the fact that he was detained proves that the noise from the planes will be dangerous to the city.
Burlington Police are planning to arrest me today at 3:15p for a public service demonstration of the F-35 Jetblast, if you’re in Burlington, VT, go to City Hall to show your support.
— Ben Cohen (@YoBenCohen) March 3, 2018
The Debate is Over
While this high-profile demonstration from Cohen has leveraged some support for his cause, it is unlikely that he and other opposers will succeed. The Vermont National Guard has already put $83 million into set-ups for the jets, and is unlikely to be deterred at this point. NBC5 reports that 18 F-35s are scheduled to arrive in Burlington in the fall of 2019.
Additionally, the airport in Burlington has reportedly hosted F-16 jets for many years, which then-Gov. Peter Shumlin said in 2012 have a similar volume to the incoming F-35s.
“Listening to this has been a real eye-opener,” Shumlin said after comparing the sounds of the two jets taking off. “It’s a different sound, but it’s surprising how quiet the F-35 is… Volume, seems to me, is about the same.”
Residents of Burlington will vote on Tuesday on a non-binding resolution that would ask the Air National Guard not to bring the jets to Vermont.
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