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Monday, December 10 , 2018, 10:13 am | Mostly Cloudy 51º


Captain’s Log: Fighting Back Against Graffiti Vandals

It takes a community to keep our towns clean

Cruising down the main drag while visiting another town, I saw something that made me growl in anger. A teenager strolling down the street walked up to a blank sign in front of an empty and out-of-business restaurant, pulled a marker out of his pocket, quickly scribbled some typical sprawling, difficult-to-read graffiti on the sign, and then walked into an adjacent parking lot in front of a row of small stores.

I couldn’t take it. I turned around and pulled into the parking lot. I saw the lad walk into one of the stores, so I parked, walked up to the door and opened it. He was just walking back out of the store, and I held the door for him.

As he walked past, I said, “I saw what you did to the sign out front. Do you want to wash it off, or shall I make the call?” He walked silently past me and strolled away. When he was about 10 yards past me, I said, “OK, I’ll make the call.” He kept walking.

I called 9-1-1 and reported what I had witnessed. The operator asked whether the youth was still nearby, and I replied that he had just walked into a fast-food restaurant. I gave the address, and the dispatcher said an officer would be on the way.

I waited in the parking lot outside the restaurant. The squad car arrived about three minutes later. I handed the officer my business card and explained what I had seen. He asked for a detailed description of the youth, which I gave.

The officer turned to walk toward the restaurant, and I asked if I should wait. He paused, thought about it and replied, “Yes, please do, just in case I come out with the wrong kid.” Good idea.

I waited, and the officer came out with the right lad. I verified that it was the right person and returned to my car. I don’t know what transpired after I left, but I felt I had put responsibility where it belonged.

It’s pretty much up to us to keep our towns clean — even when we’re visiting another town, as I was that day. It reminded me of one of the oddest instances of graffiti art I’ve seen. In yet another town, or between towns alongside Highway 126 just inland from Highway 118, on the side of a concrete culvert are a number of graffiti signs. Among them is one that made my eyebrows go up. In large, easy-to-read block letters, it reads, “Global Local Social Injustice.”

I chuckled and said to myself, “All right, who gave the brainiac a can of spray paint?!” Somehow the social statement made me feel different about it.

There have been times when a community brings together a number of local youths — or would-be graffiti artists — and asked them to design and paint a mural for the community. Some very good murals have resulted and created good community spirit. I’d like to see more of that type of community effort.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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