Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chalk Drawing by a Child called Graffiti

We grew up playing hopscotch, only we did not have sidewalks on which to draw. But, when my children came along, we had concrete driveways on which they drew hopscotch, faces, and other things. Never did we consider it graffiti. It was just a way for children to have fun; after all, water washes it off. Sidewalk chalk comes in all different colors and gives a child a way of expressing himself/herself without being destructive.

The city of Brooklyn apparently thinks differently. In fact, a woman reported a young 6 year old girl, Natalie Shea, after she had drawn on her front step, and reported a graffiti drawing.

Obviously not all of Natalie Shea’s 10th Street neighbors thought her blue chalk splotch was her best work — a neighbor called 311 to report the “graffiti,” and the Department of Sanitation quickly sent a standard letter to Natalie’s mom, Jen Pepperman.

The family faces a $300 fine for this ‘graffiti’ drawing of this little 6 year old child! The city has passed a local law 111 in 2005, which defined “graffiti” as “any letter, word, name, number, symbol, slogan, message, drawing, picture, writing … that is drawn, painted, chiseled, scratched, or etched on a commercial building or residential building.”

The law says that the drawing can only be considered graffiti if the owner of the property does not give consent. How could the woman who called the law know if Natalie’s Mom had given her consent or not? In a world where many children have become criminals, what is wrong with a 6 year old drawing with sidewalk chalk to pass off the time? She definitely is staying out of trouble – or is she? What damage does chalk do to any surface? After all, it washes off with water or with the first rain. And, it gives a city child, or even a country child, an outlet for staying out of trouble – again, does it? Seems we have a group of people who think it is criminal. What will be deemed criminal next?

Linked at Conservative Cat
Stuck on Stupid

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