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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 25, 2004 5:57 PM. The previous post in this blog was Cha-ching. The next post in this blog is Sad, sad night. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, October 25, 2004

Tagger bagged

They busted a notorious Portland graffiti "tagger" last week. This guy had been all over town with the spray paint, for weeks. He's 20 years old and lives in Beaverton. He had an accomplice with him when he was caught, but their story is that the one is the main man.

I'm not going to link to the news stories about this fellow because they came too close to glorifying him. Surely they gave him exactly the kind of publicity that will thrill him.

Here's what has to happen next. Multnomah County criminal court judges, please note:

1. Restitution. And if his parents insist on whining about what a "good kid" he is, maybe they'd like to pay for the damage he caused.

2. Mental health services. Graffiti taggers are sick people. This kid needs help. Maybe his parents should have to go in, too.

3. Communty service. I'd say 3 hours for every tag he confesses to, with some reduction if he rats on others in the "community of taggers" (as a busted graffitist once put it).

4. Last chance. Serious probation, with the next graffiti offense bringing real jail time.

Thanks to the Portland police officers who caught this guy in the act.

Comments (16)

I'll bet that when he's not "tagging" he's spamming comments.

Jack, I love those suggestions!!

First off you make tagging out to be some sort of murder or rape, it's art. Yes it is stupid for ruining people's buildings and trains and such, I know. They are making him pay for all the graffiti and he has spent a night in jail and had all of his art taken from him. He has felt the pain for doing what he has done. Please though, he is a person and a friend. He will continue to suffer and by no means was he happy to have his name being public on the news and in the paper, he has been fired and worse. Just live your own life.

http://www.livejournal.com/users/bambam81/

Above is one of the tagger's blog. Seems he's acquainted with my daughter.

You can find a lot of stuff you really wish you hadn't these days just by an aimless click here and there.

Screw him!!

Have you ever have something you own defaced? When you have, maybe you can show some sympathy. Otherwise, Jack's suggested punishments seeem quite rational and reasonable. Restitution at the very least seems pretty damn reasonable!

He has felt the pain for doing what he has done.

Not hardly enough, sweetheart. Come on out to my neighborhood and clean up some graffiti with me, week after week. That's in my life.

It ain't art. It's trash. Your friend is a human cockroach who needs mental health counselling immediately. Deal with it.

Wow! I checked out that kids LiveJournal at the address posted by Justrosi. This guy brags about every illegal thing he's done in the past several months. I hope the Cops have printed off a copy. What a Moron.

I like your suggestions. Too bad it's like pulling teeth to get anything close to good results in our courts.

I don't consider myself a tough guy. But I really think all of Jack's suggestions are the norm. Aren't most vandals required to pay for the damage and then perform community service.

And I'm all for art. But pay for your own canvas. Don't use mine.

for once, i agree with mr b. as i've said before, i live in nopo and a few years ago, the city/state/feds put up new sound walls along I5. these make a huge difference for noise and such. it only took a little time before someone began tagging them. the city/state was extemely quick in overwriting everything, but it made me angry because it was like they were spraypainting my home. i even caught a little punk writing on the skidmore bridge and called the police immediately. they were just down the street and snatched him up and carted him off to jail. he was crying. serves him right.

so, here's a question- people are putting up anti-bush signs on the bridges. they put them up so they are difficult to take down without tools. is this a form of vandalism? or is it forgiven since bush is the devil and all.

brett
nopo

So, what do y'all think of clean graffiti?

Posting those signs is illegal under Portland City Code. It's a crime, though odds are high it would get downgraded to a violation.

I don't get the "graffiti is art" crowd. Have they never owned property? Do they think all it takes to remove graffiti is to click one's heels together three times and wish it happen? Maybe they think of graffiti as the gigantic, intricate murals I've seen in LA and Detroit. Well, the graffiti we get in Portland comes from the simple tagger--punk whitebread kids who think it's cool and gang members marking territory like a pissing cat.

Both need severe repercussions but Multnomah County's criminal justice system is broken and has been for years. Property crimes don't get anywhere near the attention they deserve, let alone the attention they garnered just a few years ago. And we all pay for it.

Jack's suggestions aren't harsh enough in my opinion. I've seen this guy's "work" in my neighborhood. He needs to stand still and watch as all the business owners and homeowners who have had to deal with his trash spray paint whatever they want all over his most prized possessions. "It's art ... just live your own life." That's what we call anarchy, honey. We are a society of laws.

A little over a century ago criminals on par with today's grafitti "artists" were rewarded by becoming a piece of public performance art themselves.

Tarred, feathered and driven out of town on a rail.

I agree grafitti is art. Unfortunatley its really bad art. And "bad art" is illegal, thank God.

To respond to Justin:

Restitution is the norm. Until recent Oregon legislation, though, judges were required to consider the defendant's ability to pay before deciding on an amount, which meant that victim's often got cents on the dollar in large-scale damage cases.

In terms of the community service angle, in a felony case there are limits on the amount of in-jail and out-of-jail time that can be assessed against a defendant as part of probation. Often it is possible to achieve more just results in the unstructured world of misdemeanors, because there are no sentencing guidelines restricting how a person may be treated.

"Last chance" - getting a judge to order jail time in Multnomah County is no easy endeavour. First, there's the desire to try to reform through programs and such (even though the programs are desolving -- the mental health treatment idea, though good, is the most unlikely of all in Jack's list). But, even when someone does re-offend (even when on a "zero-tolerance" extension for a previously-violated probation) judges often try to find a way to extend the probation longer.

So, like I said, Jack's ideas are great. But, in the real world, it's all pie in the sky...


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