Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vandalism at Armstrong School Greets Students After Memorial Day

The spraypainted mess of black and red flaunted its gaze upon us. Two selfish messages of blight appeared on the southside of Armstrong School. The taggers spray painted the limestone monument and yellow brick wall west of Hamilton and Greenleaf. My daughter and I encountered it upon our arrival at the bus drop off for Disney. Why do tagging vandals fail to understand the consequences of blight?
A photograph does little justice. Only clean up, deterrence, and perhaps remorse by selfish vandals will make adifference. I hope that the Rogers Park Community contacts Armstrong School. Perhaps, the tags can be quickly and carefully cleaned up as soon as possible with community consideration and support. Perhaps, it can be made to appear as if it never happened.

I won’t post a photo, because taggers’ want negative attention. A tagger's mark is a form of callous hatred and insensitivity for a community. If the huge Limestone sign must be replaced, then that is both a burden and a disappointment. Those who glorify graffiti and tagging do Chicago and the public schools a disservice. The Public School System can ill-afford the financial costs taken from educational funds due to those who damage and tag public schools. Schools need to afford to pay engineers and teachers to remain viable educational institutions. However, not in that order.

Blight can be litter, but also forms of insensitivity, bias and hate. Blight is also the spray painted tags from selfish taggers. Why don’t taggers care or realize that they commit acts of disrespect and greed? Why are taggers never taught to care by their parents, among others? How can we appreciate and divert the greed and inconsideration that taggers possess? Do we have to incarcerate taggers until they appreciate that they are no freer to kill than to damage property?

The taggers’ mark brings no prestige, only emotional and visual anguish to most residents. It contorts and converts messages of importance and improvement into a selfish act that defiles. A tag defames structures for the sake of greed and notoriety. A tag is a message of hatred and selfishness directed at an entire community. The cost of removing a single tag is more than just the money it costs for clean up or replacement. Tags must be perpetually and quickly removed or they multiply.

Graffiti or tags bring negative attention. Tagging, in effect, creates attention for selfish cowards. These attention seekers lack an agenda in life other than to pollute. Society may accept well painted murals and public art in our community, many of which now need extreme rehabilitation, but not the graffiti add-ons! Yet, in the end, in spite of these public concessions, we are still faced with these selfish acts of greed, immaturity and inconsideration.

Some taggers insist that they are anarchists. Tagging is not consistent with anarchy; anarchy depends upon having faith and trust that mankind as a whole will know good from evil for more efficient justice. This is why anarchy rarely works, since Anarchy lacks a reasonably effective system of justice. Then, again, democracies depend upon trust, as well.

Tagging is blight. Blight is evil. No matter who and how you verbally frame or spin graffiti or tagging, it is 'rarely' done with permission. Those who permit or tolerate it merely encourage blight as a consequence. Tagging is a form of destruction, greed and theft, rather than art. Those who encourage or ignore blight have a direct negative impact on communities. There are financial costs and personal toil to remove blight. The longer a tag remains, the more of a challenge it is to remove.

Blight left on walls sends a message. It communicates to those around us that we forgot how to care. We should make an effort to eliminate blight, not act like it belongs. These lawless forms of disrespect and greed deserve our immediate attention.

Sources for clean up:


ld said...

Vert well put. Its nice to see intelligent disucssion of these problems instead of just nay-saying all the time.

Like you, I've heard the "art" argument. Regardless of permission, which taggers almost never have anyway, I doubt random scarwled profantiy hasilty slapped on a road sign or store window counts as 'art' in most people's minds.

I've also heard that tags are used by gangs to claim territory. I don't really know if this is true or not, but it seems at least somewhat likely. Does anyone know the facts behind this?

lafew said...

There are not that many gang tags. The few that are legitimate are verifiable, because there is a message. The rest of the gang type tags are just scrawled for effect by wannabes. Most tags are from people passing through who want to put their mark down.

This is done with stickers and markers. Most of it is removable, but some is acid etched. Unfortunately, the taggers are eliminating our right to privacy by ruining are property. They are forcing us to either protect or secure, rather than simply moving on.

Frankly, if I were a tagger, I would prefer my privacy. The more video cameras that go up to deter drug and tagging activity, the less rights they have to make out in private.

Unfortunately, the average tagger has no appreciation of what it means for society to lose its privilege of privacy in public, yet relatively discreet places.