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Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder Arrested for Blasting Sound of F-35 From Giant Speakers in Protest

Image from the Protect Burlington VT from the F35s campaign.

Burlington, Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s is well-known for Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake Truffle and Cherry Garcia ice cream, among other awesome flavors. The popular ice cream company founders are also known for supporting various causes including racial justice, marriage equality and fair trade, so it is no surprise that co-founder Ben Cohen has strong opinions. Unfortunately, Ben’s latest public stunt resulted in his arrest.

Over the weekend, the infamous ice cream entrepreneur demonstrated against plans in the works that would put F-35 jets in the air at the Vermont Air National Guard base near his home. Cohen was cited for violating the local sound ordinance after he strapped amplifiers to a rig behind his vehicle and repeatedly played the sound of an F-35 jet blast. How loud is an F-35 jet? says the F-35 is four times louder than the F-16, both when taking off and landing. Considering that Lmax is the maximum sound level, this is how the F-35 compares to the F-16:

When landing, the Lmax for the F-16 is 73dBA compared to 95dBA for the F-35. When taking off, the Lmax for the F-16 is 94dBA compared to the F-35 at 115dBA, roughly equivalent to a chain saw, depending on who you ask.

That means Cohen subjected Burlington residents to noise that is equivalent to the sound of chain saws/F-35 jet blasts repeatedly Saturday between 11am and 3:30pm. (I hope you weren’t trying to sleep in!) We can assume that Mr. Cohen was likely very successful in his efforts to raise awareness about the issue. I mean, how could you NOT hear this very loud protest? BOOM Chocolatta! (this writer’s favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor).

After being given several citations for noise violations from police, Ben Cohen went on Twitter and asked supporters to go to City Hall to show their support. He was taken into custody late Saturday afternoon.

The loud demonstration was staged to bring awareness to an upcoming ballot vote that will decide if F-35s are going to be housed in Burlington. It is expected that the Vermont National Guard will not be affected by Ben’s antics, since $83 million dollars has already been invested into the F-35 project.

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Kim Clark

Written by Kim Clark

Former CNN Radio News Network anchor Kim Clark is a freelance writer and editor, specializing in the aviation industry and financial markets. She currently freelances for S&P Global and works as a club and event Disc Jockey in Atlanta, Georgia, after having held positions doing news on radio morning shows and holding down the position of Music Director of commercial radio stations owned by Cumulus and Clear Channel.

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