The tune of "Baby Shark" has tortured parents for years, but the song has now officially become weaponized.
City officials in West Palm Beach have launched a new plan to play the song along with another mind-numbing earworm, “Raining Tacos,” on a continuous overnight loop to keep the city’s homeless from sleeping on its Lake Pavilion patio, according to the Palm Beach Post.
The Lake Pavilion, a glass-walled venue that overlooks the waterfront and downtown’s Great Lawn, hosts hundreds of events and is expected to bring in more than $240,000 in revenue for the city this year, Leah Rockwell, West Palm Beach parks and recreation director, told the Palm Beach Post. She adds that patrons and staff should not be expected to navigate in the midst of sleeping people when exiting and entering the area.
City officials said playing music is a more humane solution to deal with homeless people occupying unauthorized spaces.
“It has been effective and is a temporary measure to make the area accessible for those who have rented the facility and for future events,” Jennifer Ferriol, director of Housing and Community Development, told the newspaper. “We are not forcing individuals to stay on the patio of the pavilion to listen to music. The music is heard only if you are on the patio, a very small area relative to the rest of the waterfront.”
The endless loop of “Baby Shark” and “Raining Tacos” will temporarily curb homeless people from sleeping on the property until the city formalizes official hours of use that will help enforce trespassing laws, she said.
Until then, anyone near the area will be forced to hear the maddening songs on repeat.
Illaya Champion, a homeless man, told the Palm Beach Post that “it’s wrong,” to chase people away with the continuous children’s songs. “It don’t bother me,” he said. “I still lay down in there. But it’s on and on, the same songs.”
This is not the first time music has been used as a weapon, the famed "I Love You" song by Barney the Dinosaur was used by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, as "futility music" to convince detainees of the futility of maintaining their silence, according to The Guardian.