What Do You Think of Salem's October Bullhorn Population?

Tell us what you think about our yearly bullhorn crowd in the comments, but please keep it respectful.

What would October be in Salem without people exercising their first amendment rights?

Oftentimes, these people carry bullhorns, which they use to amplify their messages.

In 2008, the Salem News reported a preacher with Repent America was arrested after he ignored police officers' orders to cease use of a bullhorn.

Last weekend, zombies took on preachers in Lappin Park.

This past weekend, some people took bullhorns into their hands, positioned themselves next to those sharing their religious views and had some other opinions and thoughts to share.

What are your thoughts on Salem's weekend bullhorn users? What do you do when you pass them, if anything? Does it affect your quality of life?

Tell us in the comments.

Remember to keep it clean. If you violate our terms of use (check it out here) your comment will be deleted and your account may be suspended. If you have the urge to use profanity, an asterisk "*" will not suffice. Please find another way to make your point so we can keep the forum a place where all are comfortable sharing and conversing about the city.

Jared Robinson October 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I think you should need a permit for amplification. Like a busker license. Maybe theirs gets held up a bit.
Erik October 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I just do not understand why people feel the need to force their opinions on others. Some of these people are there everyday don't they have jobs or families. I was there sat. and there was a child spewing hatred from a bullhorn at the fountain. So sad to be so young and so full of hate the parents should be locked up for child abuse.
Erik October 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I agree Jared isn't their a decibel law in Salem.
gene October 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I just checked the ordinances on the City's website. Chapter 22 only restricts the times of amplification. However, another section prohibits it if it annoys a person of "normal sensabilities," whatever that's supposed to mean.
kimmy the inept October 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM
There actually is a noise ordinance on the books, the mayor's office, board of health, city solicitor and police department just elect not to enforce it because doing so would negatively impact the revenues of a certain downtown bar that has outdoor amplified music 4 days a week. This same bar also just so happens to pay the City rent each month for the building out of which it operates and the land on which it sits. Interestingly enough, it's not uncommon to see this same City Soliciter frequenting the establishment. Go figure. Small town politics at its worst.
Diane Wolf October 15, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Each year the restaurant that you refer to goes before the licensing board, applies for and receives an entertainment license that allows the outdoor music. Should you read the license it is actually quite restrictive compared to others in the city. They have had outdoor entertainment for thirty years and are part of the fabric of the city; lasting through many mayors and city solicitors. I think you might be imagining special treatment here.
Chris Cole October 15, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Sounds like Kimmy the inept may actually be "INEPT".
Michelle Castiello October 15, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I don't understand what they are doing! I live in Salem, and have never heard of people using bullhorns. Someone please fill me in!!!
Gabe Roses October 15, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Setting aside the question of why a person would bring their bullhorn and pedestal, and force their opinion down others' ears... When the DNC was in Boston in '04 there was a "Free Speech Zone" set aside where I had the "pleasure" of listening to Fred Phelps and his clan from the Westboro Baptist Church. Why not set aside a distinct zone for these people too?
Bostom October 15, 2012 at 02:55 PM
It sounds like Kimmy didn't do all the research before purchasing "her" condo. Perhaps if there were a smell ordinance in town "she" would be upset over a certain ethnic downtown restaurant making "her" condo smell like Garam Masala.
Thomas Vallor October 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM
There are always more people recording what happens than actual preachers, is it that the main way these guys make money is through lawsuits. They push whatever limits they can to antagonize people and hope they get attacked so they can get money? That's my theory anyways.
Joe Betsill October 15, 2012 at 04:39 PM
If I believed in a magic sky fairy I'd probably try my damnedest to make other people believe in my magic sky fairy, so I wouldn't feel so stupid all the time for believing in a magic sky fairy. Luckily, these people just seem like crazies, so they're having the opposite effect; they're driving people away from their magic sky fairy club. Overall, this results in a positive effect on society. I say, let them be.
Erik October 15, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Very well said Joe!!! A positive view on a negative subject !!
S Coakley October 15, 2012 at 06:35 PM
The question is about the hollyrollers that yell at people in the streets with blowhorns not the restaurants. These people only show up in the month of October and are not arrested, because officially in the constitution they have the right to protest, but they are kept in a free speech zone. Also if you haven't noticed police and city officials have way more to deal with in the month of October in Salem then these religious zealots. On a side note, perhaps you are new to the city, but practically every restaurant and bar downtown has music every weekend in Salem, so the restaurant you are refering to is not alone. If you wanted a quiet, country life then downtown Salem was a bad choice, nothing to to do with "small town politics".
David Moisan October 15, 2012 at 06:39 PM
I'm just as happy the LaRouchites (they of the Obama as Hitler poster) aren't downtown. When I see the bullhorn people--or the placard people--I just tell them I will report back on Hell. I'm an atheist. I will surely, surely find out what that's like!
S Coakley October 15, 2012 at 06:40 PM
They already do have a free speech zone, but still some of them try to blend with the crowds until they are caught. Even in the free speech zone they yell things at people in costumes and shopping at the stores. It can be upsetting to people, because they are very insulting and in your face about the whole thing. Also sometimes they just walk through the crowd handing out pamphlets with disturbing images, which is difficult to corale.
Megan October 15, 2012 at 06:45 PM
These people have a right to say whatever they want short of making threats. Let them say their garbage. But the bullhorn is going to far. God gave you lungs, use them. Jesus did not need a bullhorn. We need to draw the line there. Whatever is needed to do so is fine by me. Should we start a Salem Lawsuit Pool to raise money to pay lawyers when these folks sue? I'll donate. Freedom of speech is different than freedom to harass people trying to enjoy the downtown or dine outdoors.
PJ October 15, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I absolutely agree, amplification (whether for tour guides or bullhorns) should require a permit-- on a year-round basis not just October. Amplified tours are only somewhat less obnoxious than the bullhorn crowd.
chester suchecki October 15, 2012 at 08:24 PM
organize a massive attack of water balloons followed by a coating of high fructose corn syrup then covered with halloween corn and cotton candy and sent back to where they came from. trick or treat
Roxie October 15, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Michelle, these are right-wing evangelical Christians who come to Salem every October to tell us all to repent, just because they're against Wiccans and see Salem as a sin-filled city of satanic devil-worshippers.
tina l cook October 15, 2012 at 09:21 PM
I agree, well said.
Cwheels October 15, 2012 at 09:29 PM
It would be nice to see some sort of gay pride event take place right in front of the crazies trying to save us. Wasn't there talk of a "gay kiss in" over the Chick Fil A controversy? If I was a gay man, or at least had more gay friends I would try to get something like that going. Fight fire with fire, peacefully.
Erik October 15, 2012 at 09:55 PM
we could all dress up as the disciples and make out in front of them while dancing to like a prayer by Madonna.
john October 15, 2012 at 10:47 PM
What we are seeing is an attempt by SPD to not go too far so as to disrupt the flow of halloween. Bullhorns should never be allowed if they are diturbing residents in their homes. Look back in time and I think halloween in Salem is becoming an event that will have to be squashed at some point.
gene October 15, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Gee and I thought the Constitution made the USA a "Free Speech Zone"
KlassySalem October 16, 2012 at 02:19 AM
I have an awesome picture from Halloween Night a few years ago of two of my lesbian friends kissing directly under a "You're going to hell" sign. It's perfect.
Billie McGregor October 17, 2012 at 01:16 PM
I agree that the fundamentalist Christians who show up for 10/31 are not really sharing the true word of their God, which is compassion and love - rather their own warped interpretation of the scripture. However, that being said, is it any better to see a local "celebrity" witch standing outside of a certain popular business shouting curses back at them only to be filmed and put out for all to see on you tube? I'd say that this only gives them more fuel for their fire, as it goes against all that is true of this religion also. It also sheds an unfavorable light upon all practitioners of this sacred craft who have chosen this as their form of worship, rather than a venue for a public display of inappropriate antics for their own personal gain. Shame on all of them.
Mary Lee October 18, 2012 at 08:53 PM
a modern-day version of tar and feathering. I like it!
Giles Corey Pannini Co. November 01, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I have done some research on these folks, and I will admit, some baiting of them with my own bullhorn ($34.99 at a store located ironically across from one of their favorite sites to preach...) First off, these people are violent. I have been threatend by them and their supporters no less than 4 times. On Halloween one of them even resorted to trying to physically shove me around. Rather unconcerting as I am not very tall and he was 6'4" if an inch. We need a better police presence within the crowds that gather around these folks. Besides the violence their followers bring (in the case of last night he was someone who was with them, but never spoke...) these guys egg on the crowd a lot. Which could result in some drunk taking a swing at someone. Secondly, our own SPD were poorly informed as to how to respond to the situation. I was told by two cops that I was breaking the law by not having a permit for my bullhorn. Yet the preachers did not. We eventually worked this out, but the cops need to be told what the law is and how they can respond. If amplified speech needs a permit, then people should be required to get one and should have to display it like the buskers do. Honestly, I at first was worried that these cops were shutting down one kind of speech in favor for another. Something that should never happen. Ever.


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