Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

Giving Crooks an EarfulWhen I read about the Banshee II, one question immediately popped into my head: “Where can I buy one of these babies?!”

In case you missed the latest military news, the appropriately named Banshee II is a hand-held noise-making device. It may be small in size (five inches by four inches), but it emits big sounds.

And I mean biiiiggg. It starts at 144 decibels. That’s like a rock concert or jet engine taking off.

This gizmo is being designed at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Alas, the more I read about it, the sadder I grew. Seems the thing is merely in the developmental stages.

Furthermore, a government official said something this powerful should never be allowed in the hands of the general public. “There is too much danger of misuse,” were his precise words.

To which I wanted to scream: “And your point is? OF COURSE I’D WANT TO MISUSE IT! So would every Eddie Haskell wannabe!”

(We pause here to enlighten any readers under the age of 50. Eddie Haskell was a character on the old “Leave It to Beaver” television series. He was a syrupy nice guy in front of adults but a complete jerk when their backs were turned. If “Leave It to Beaver” were on the tube today, Eddie would be saying something like, “Well, hello, Mrs. Cleaver; I was just introducing young Theodore here to the wonders and dangers of the Banshee II.” And as soon as Mrs. Cleaver walked out of the room, Eddie would stick Banshee II into the Beav’s ear and blast his brain cells into an adjacent county. Geez, why can’t they make quality television programming like that these days? But I digress.)

Banshee II — which came on the high-volume heels of the original Banshee I, in case you were wondering — is being touted as an anti-terrorist tool and non-lethal weapon for law enforcement officers. According to the news story I read, one short toot is so loud and so painful “a person has no choice but to drop whatever’s in his hands and cover his ears.”

Cool! And just think of the self-protection opportunities!

I’d love to be packing a Banshee II next time some kid pulls next to me in one of those open-windowed cars with the stereo turned to Quad-Max and the bass cracking plaster walls all the way to Kentucky. Like Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry,” I’d calmly walk over to his car and say something intelligent. Like, “Loud enough for’ya, punk?” Then I’d whip out my trusty Banshee II and splatter his ear wax all across the dashboard.

Oh, sure. There’d be a bunch of namby-pambies who would wring their hands at the very thought I might defend myself this unique way. Wimps. They probably wouldn’t want me packing a Banshee II in public parks and recreation areas, either.

But I’d be the first to remind them: If God hadn’t meant for us to have Banshee IIs, he wouldn’t have put ears on the sides of criminals’ heads.

Sam Venable is an author, comedic entertainer, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel. His latest book is The Joke’s on YOU! (All I Did Was Clean Out My Files). He may be reached at .