August 3, 2012

Does chalking count as graffiti?

"A Virginia mom charged with vandalism must serve 50 hours of community service after she let her 4-year-old daughter draw on rocks with chalk."
But when it comes to vandalism, Ralph White, park manager for the James River Park System in Richmond, says “it’s all the same thing.”

“A couple of weeks ago, I was covering over pornographic drawings done in chalk,” White told WWBT. “It doesn’t matter what the medium is. It’s offensive.”
If you're going to ticket for the porn chalking, you have to ticket for kid's scribbles. Otherwise, it's viewpoint discrimination.

Previously on this blog: Confronting the chalking "Workers of the World Unite" on a Civil War monument.

32 comments:

PatCA said...

It's appropriate. Chalking is the new tactic to see how far the left can push law enforcement. It's incitement for a purpose, for media coverage.

Nip it in the bud.

Robert Cook said...

"In court, the officer who ticketed Mortensen for the drawings at Belle Isle back in March said the mom was hostile and cursed at him."

So? Who says citizens must deport themselves meekly if they feel they are being unjustly cited by the authorities?


"Officer Stacy Rogers, who patrols Belle Isle, says chalk doesn’t always wash away...."

Baloney.

Robert Cook said...

"Chalking is the new tactic to see how far the left can push law enforcement. It's incitement for a purpose, for media coverage."

You're insane.

Megaera said...

Teach your kid it's fine to deface public property with chalk because "it can be cleaned off", and why does he have to stop with chalk? You can clean off spray paint too, you know. Except you can't, without doing damage to the substructure, but, golly, he's just a kid, whine, whine, whine... It's like chalking is the new gateway drug for bigger and worse mobs of entitled mobs of wannabe graffiti "artistes". She should have been put in a scold's bridle as well for her attitude.

Mary Beth said...

The kid had no business drawing on the rocks. She can draw on her own sidewalk or driveway. Or her mom could give her a chalkboard.

You don't go and ugly up the view for other people, even if you're a kid.

The park's Facebook page. I didn't see anything about graffiti but look at the photos. You want scribbles on that?

Robert Cook said...

So, kids playing hopscotch are nascent vandals, aspiring graffiti artists who want to incite the authorities.

Calypso Facto said...

How about teaching your kids to not deface someone else's (or public) property in ANY medium?

Jose_K said...

Lucky the humanity you were not at Altamira.
Yes go after a four year old like Robert allowed NYP going after a 9 yo. While Fast and furious, Obamacare, Solyndra keep going

Ann Althouse said...

It's important for parents to be woken up from the delusion that their children are magical imps bringing joy to the world... and I mean before they transmogrify into teenagers and it becomes obvious.

Chip Ahoy said...

I would perform my community service poorly and unenthusiastically.

And then chalk up the place at night. I'd go all chalk sidewalk on their asses for the duration of community service, so sort of double community service, picking up trash or whatever during the day and chalk master by night. Chalk chalk chalk, the rudest things about specific culprits. Their character traits, their Barney Fife-ness, the judge, the city, the antichalkites, the antichildrenscribbleites, the 'cant tell the difference between chalk and grafitti-ites', PRISSY LITTTLE CITY chalked all over the street in front of the court house. "Who is this mysterious ninja night chalker?" People will ask, and "the night chalker struck again!" and then suddenly it all stops.

Joe said...

At my apartment complex, they banned sidewalk chalk after it started getting out-of-control this past year. It was not only ugly, but if it drizzled, it made a worse mess. It doesn't always wash away; it leaves stains in the grass and dirt.

Paddy O said...

"It's important for parents to be woken up from the delusion that their children are magical imps bringing joy to the world... and I mean before they transmogrify into teenagers"

And especially before they become President!

Curious George said...

It's defacement (even if temporary) and should be treated as such.

I know chalk used in chalk lines does not wash away easily, especially the red that is to be considered permanent.

Ann ALthouse: "It's important for parents to be woken up from the delusion that their children are magical imps bringing joy to the world... and I mean before they transmogrify into teenagers and it becomes obvious."

Absolutely. I was in a grocery store where a kids was stepping on grapes that had fallen from the display bin. His mother was watching him with no reaction. I said "son, don't step on the grapes. It makes a mess that someone will need to clean up". His mother admounished me stating that "He didn't drop the grapes!"

My dad wold have made me clean them up, then slapped some sense into me.

garage mahal said...

Is the message left or right?

Did a lefty or righty do the chalking?

That's what you need to find out first. Of course if a lefty was involved, pretty much throw whatever book at them.

edutcher said...

Were these historic rocks or something?

This sounds like a bit much since the next rain will wash the scribbles away.

SteveR said...

There seems to be reflexive "problems" from all sides either for or against it but really it looks like a simple case of a lack of common sense and respect.

How can you justify letting your kid chalk draw on public property? Is keeping your four year old under control that difficult a concept for a mother? Did mom offer to clean it up right away or was she intending to go home and expect that something or somebody else would do it in short order? Would DisneyLand or your local mall let you do that?

Geoff Matthews said...

I'm sure that if the mom were apologetic, she'd have only gotten a warning. Cursing at an officer is the equivalent of saying "arrest me".
So I don't have much sympathy for her.

chickelit said...

Ann Althouse said...
It's important for parents to be woken up from the delusion that their children are magical imps bringing joy to the world... and I mean before they transmogrify into teenagers and it becomes obvious.

Wow

Freeman Hunt said...

In Reasonable World, the mother does not permit the chalking; if she does, the officer says, "Ma'am we don't allow that in the park. I'll need you to clean that up right away," and he watches her get water and clean it up.

Patrick said...

People don't go to a park to see kids' chalk drawings. They go to see trees, rocks and natural beauty. The woman is extremely selfish to allow her daughter to deface the park. The article doesn't say much about the interaction between her and the officer, except that it got hostile. I would hope that the woman didn't go ballistic after being told that her precious snowflake's drawings weren't universally appreciated, and I would also hope that the park patrol officer wasn't on a power trip. Either is as likely as the other.

And really, Robert, if you don't see the difference between defacing park property and playground hopscotch, I doubt there's much to tell you.

lemondog said...

First it's chalk and then the hard stuff!

Where is Professor Nanny Bloomberg. We need a ban on chalk and 4 year old kids. Stop her before she ‘transmogrifies’ into a female Banksy


Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital "T"
That rhymes with "C"
And that stands for Chalk,
That stands for chalk.
We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City,
Right here!
Gotta figger out a way
To keep the young ones moral after school!
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble...

AndyN said...

Follow her home and draw a chalk masterpiece on her garage door, then when she bitches about it swear at her, tell her it'll wash off, and walk away leaving her with the mess to deal with.

leslyn said...

Does chalking count as graffiti? In a park it does. Legislation enabling parks intends them to be preserved in their natural state as much as possible for the enjoyment of present and later generations. Areas set aside for special recreation activities allow for changing the natural environment of the park.

Park rangers are charged with preserving this natural environment.

leslyn said...

Robert Cook said...
"In court, the officer who ticketed Mortensen for the drawings at Belle Isle back in March said the mom was hostile and cursed at him."

So? Who says citizens must deport themselves meekly if they feel they are being unjustly cited by the authorities?

Don't be silly. It goes to intent.

"Officer Stacy Rogers, who patrols Belle Isle, says chalk doesn’t always wash away...."

Baloney.

Buy some of the chalks out there, draw a pictue of yourself in your driveway, and see how long that takes to wash away. ...Prepare to be out there for a while with a bucket and a mop afterward.

sydney said...

Yes, it's wrong to deface public property, no matter what your age. I reasonable parent would have stopped her and washed it off herself instead of arguing with the officer.

I have a deep and abiding prejudice against chalk graffiti. When my children were small, we lived in a small liberal arts college town. The students there loved writing their political philosophies on the town's sidewalks in chalk. I decided I didn't want to live there anymore when I was walking with my four year old son and we came across some chalkings that were the product of the LGBT activits at the school. The one that stood out for me said "I fuck to come, not to procreate." I thought, how am I going to explain that kind of thing to my kids once they learn to read? It was one of the reasons I decided to leave that practice. I wanted to raise my kids in a better environment.

Once a student got carried away and used spray paint on a beautiful monument the town had put up years ago to townspeople who died in the Boxer Rebellion in China. They were Christian missionaries. That was a terrible mess to clean up.

If the town had clamped down on the chalk graffiti, the spray pain graffiti would have been less likely to happen.

oldwahoo said...

So chalk is a gateway drug? Just kidding...

I live here and this has been on TV. I don't have much sympathy for the mom but the punishment doesn't seem to fit the "crime". Not something I would ever let my child do but it has become a local cause celebre for the OR (Occupy Richmond!) crowd.

RVA as we call it is kind of a strange place politically. Lots of rednecks, lots of African-Americans, lots of conservative old white folks like me, and lots of Oakland types living around Virginia Commonwealth University.

chickelit said...

Could somebody please grap a firehose and chase away those uppity van Dykes?
link

tim maguire said...

There isn't a child in my neighborhood who doesn't draw on the sidewalk with chalk. Nobody cares. It's there for a few days and the rain washes it away. People hosting stoop sales advertise with chalk on the sidewalks. Nobody cares.

And there are teenagers who spraypaint on walls. Anyone who can't see the difference is too stupid to hold a position of respect or responsibility.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I have no problem with the ranger's action here. OTOH, the people saying "no chalking on public property, period" are overreacting. You folks seriously want to outlaw hopscotch? Believe it or not, not everyone has a driveway.

leslyn said...

tim maguire said...
There isn't a child in my neighborhood who doesn't draw on the sidewalk with chalk. Nobody cares.

Anyone who can't see the difference is too stupid to hold a position of respect or responsibility.


This was drawing on the natural resources in a park. Anyone who can't see the difference is too...well, you know the ending.

PaulV said...

The James River and has level 3, 4 and 5 rapids going through the City of Richmond and the X games are held on that river. Some citizens donate the land to the City years ago and Ralph White has done a wonderful job with a limit budget. Stacy Rogers may be 6' 8" but he patrols it alone with a 23" frame mountain bike with 29" wheels. He deals with a lot of abuse from people who abuse the park. All those jerks think they are special.
















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PaulV said...

I am fortunate enough to live a block from the river and have been on the rocks. In a drought you can walk across it on rocks and not get your shoes wet. Those dyes in the chalk pollute the clean river. With a kayak or innertube the water is a blessing.