Keyboard Commando – Graffiti and vandalism go hand-in-hand as criminal activities

by Mac Olsen

Not to be the judge of “modern art,” but I find that the defacing of private and public property with graffiti amounts to criminal activity, and the perpetrators deserve fines, jail time and/or community service if they’re habitual offenders.

In early May, someone targetted the playground equipment at Ecole Providence with graffiti. No one has yet been charged in that incident.

Also, the Coaldale RCMP Detachment recently issued a news release about acts of graffiti there.

“The Coaldale RCMP is presently investigating a number of incidents of graffiti vandalism. Suspect(s) have spray painted a number of businesses at various locations within the Town of Coaldale.
“Unauthorized spray painting is a criminal act and causes businesses and individuals significant amount of time, effort and cost to repair. The vandalism appears random in nature.”

The Coaldale RCMP issued a photo of one piece of graffiti, which was spray painted on a building. The police are asking for the public’s help in identifying and apprehending those responsible.

I agree with the news release about the cost to the businesses and individuals that have to deal with graffiti. Those who carried out these criminal acts should be ashamed of themselves and consider the harm they’re doing.

What right do they have to go and vandalize private or public property? Is it simply out of maliciousness? Out of a sense of being wronged? To get even?

The better question to ask is, how would they feel if somebody did that to their property and possessions?

When I lived in Fort Nelson, B.C. in 1978, there was a particular case of vandalism.

Some young people spray painted “Grad 78” on the side of the post office. They were caught and made to paint over the wood as their punishment.

I also remember an incident at Kamloops Senior Secondary in the spring of 1985. One morning, the janitors had to scramble to paint over graffiti about one of the staff, which featured a four-letter profanity.

I don’t know if the perpetrators were caught. But if so, I hope they got fines and community service out of it.

What really stands out for me is the graffiti on the sides of rail cars. That is the most notorious and objectionable vandalizing of private property I’ve seen.

This isn’t to say that some perpetrators cannot be rehabilitated. If they demonstrate genuine remorse and wish to make amends willingly, then give them the opportunity, such as reparations and a direct apology to their victims.

Moreover, if they are artistic and want to show it the public, then give them a project like a community mural to work on.

The railway mural on the side of the Elks and Royal Purple Community Hall in McLennan is a good example of how they can channel their energies and talents into something meaningful and productive.

Whatever the motivations of those who deface public and private property with graffiti, they must be held accountable for their misconduct and make amends.

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