“Whip it good,” sang popular rock group DEVO in 1980, but today a group of downtown Reno residents is singing a different tune.
They say whips — yes, whips, the things cowboys typically use on horses — aren’t good for human bodies, souls, and most important of all, sleep. And the local PD agrees, citing a 61 percent increase in 911 calls for help involving whips.
The police calls come in as “shots being fired” because the sound of whips often mimics the sound of firearms.
Whip It Good? Definitely Not!
As a result, Reno officials are considering outlawing the use of whips in public spaces (with certain exemptions).
Since September 2020, there have been 176 calls to the Reno PD involving the use of whips. Ouch!
‘Whip cracking on a daily basis is not an average city noise,” observed one weary resident in written comments to the Reno City Council.
That, to me, seems a statement of the obvious, but I get the point.
“I am a resident downtown and I have not gotten a full night’s sleep in two years. They do this all night and day and there used to be one whipper, now there are dozens. The noise it causes slapping the concrete sounds like gunshots and it cannot be avoided as I have tried every earplug, all windows are closed, and white noise is turned on all day and night in my home to try to lessen it.”
Not only are the “whippers” disturbing apartment dwellers, but they’re intimidating people walking in parks and along public trails and sitting at outdoor cafes — generally making life miserable for those trying to enjoy life along the usually tranquil Truckee River in downtown Reno.
“We need the City Council to support the proposed ordinance as this nuisance causes me nearly daily anxiety hearing the cracks so clearly …
“We love the music and hum of the city and river area but the cracking is intolerable.”
Whip Crack Down
Under the proposed measure, unless granted a special use permit, no one on public property “shall use, carry, or possess a whip; or No person shall crack or use a whip as to annoy, interfere with or endanger a person.”
Still, Reno being a Western town, whips do have their place. The proposed ordinance does not cover ranch lands or the Reno Livestock Event Center, which hosts the Reno Rodeo.
And S&M fans (and dominatrixes) can breathe a sigh of relief. There are no plans to regulate the use of whips among consenting adults on private property. So, I guess it’s OK to sing out, “Whip it good” in those settings.
The proposed ordinance will come up for further review.
Meanwhile, one frustrated anti-whipper observed:
“I don’t understand how this became a thing?”
Meanwhile, as a middle-aged muddler looking back at DEVO’s 1980 wildly popular, but weird and highly problematic “Whip It” video, I also wonder how that song became a thing!
One More “Whip It” Note
As a former Californian, I know of another event where whips do have their day in the sun — or at least in the fog. That’s the annual Folsom Street Fair, the BDSM* and leather subculture street fair, part of San Francisco’s “Leather Pride Week”.
Definitely not PG-rated or for the faint-hearted, the fair is reportedly California’s third-largest single-day, outdoor spectator event. Started in 1984, it’s also a non-profit charity, benefitting both local and national non-profits organizations. There are even spanking for donations!
Chaps, Western crotch-less leather riding pants, are a favorite of the crowd, or at least, so I’m told! So, there’s a Nevada-California connection of sorts, a-hum.
* And what does BDSM actually stand for? Bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism.