West Seattle, Washington
A small number of our fellow human beings do horrible things sometimes. Though there are far “worse” crimes, the offense that for some reason infuriates us more than almost anything is graffiti vandalism, aka “tagging.” This morning, our blood pressure is somewhere in the stratosphere because of what we just saw in the Junction.
First, there’s the tagging on the Hi-Yu parade mural on the side of the post office. An e-mail tipster told us about this a couple weeks ago, and we didn’t get around to checking it out immediately. Looking at it this morning, with the Saturday sun blazing against the beautiful mural and the hideous black scrawl across its lower left quadrant, we fumed.
Moments later, heading back down California, we saw an even fresher example of this type of brazen, pointless vandalism — tagging on several business signs on the west side of Cali Ave, including WaMu, Radio Shack, and Be’s Restaurant.
We’ve tried to figure out why tagging pisses us off worse than some of the more newsworthy crimes that involve blood, pain, and prison time. Perhaps it’s partly because the evidence is so public and flagrant — it takes time and money to arrange to have tagging/graffiti vandalism painted over, and until/unless you get that time and money, the crime scene just sits there, smirking at you. (Outside WS, a particularly galling recent example is a huge tag that appeared this week across the side of a classic brick building that’s highly visible to thousands of drivers daily as they drive northbound on the viaduct, into the Battery Street Tunnel. That type of vandalism can’t just be painted over, without ruining the beautiful old brick. Don’t even know if sandblasting will get rid of it.)
Anyway, the fact is, this morning the Junction is uglier, because of some idiot criminal(s) who decided to sneak onto business roofs, no doubt in the middle of the night, and deface signs. It feels like they’re spitting in the faces of the business owners and all those of us who live here and will have to look at it for who knows how long. (We volunteered for graffiti paintout patrols long ago and far away; do they still exist?)
Far from the first time, and we suppose it won’t be the last time. Is security too lax? Are the laws too loose? How do we stop this? We’ll be thinking hard about it. We hope you will too.