A quick follow-up to my post from last month about graffiti and my friend, Crazy Stanley.
He received a Notice of Violation in the mail from the city, instructing him to ‘eradicate’ some graffiti that had been put up on his garage door in the back alley of his house. Failure to do so would mean further inspection charges of $94 for the first hour and $55 for every hour after that, yaddie, yaddie, yaddie.
Crazy Stanley decided to do some further inquiring into the matter with the city and actually got on the blower with somebody there. Talk about your customer service, right? In a nutshell, he was told that there were gangs and prostitution operating in the neighbourhood. The man from the city had seen it on video camera footage himself. Video cameras located in the back lanes.
I says, hold on, run that by me again. Video cameras located in back lanes? Since when do we have video cameras in our back lanes? Am I being hopelessly naïve? When did we start installing video cameras in back alleys? I’d seen them at alleged hotspots, looking down on us with their cold, 1984 stare. But in back alleys? Who decides in which alleys? What is it with law and order types and their surveillance cameras but yet we can’t have an intelligent discussion about photo radar. And if they have the money to be installing video cameras, where’s the funding at to plow my alley in the wintertime?
So many questions but Crazy Stanley was talking to me.
“… the graffiti isn’t just simple tagging,” Mr. City Man said,” but signature pieces by different gangs. To tell other gangs to keep clear of this neighbourhood because they have guns. Or that you can buy drugs here. Like we all haven’t seen The Warriors before.” Yes, Crazy Stanley is of that vintage.
“More to the point, Stanley,” I tell him, “if they’ve got all this surveillance going on, why aren’t they arresting the drug dealers and prostitutes? Cleaning the alleys up themselves.”
Stanley is slow to respond. “Well… that’s a bit extreme. You don’t want to be buying your pot from complete strangers…” But his eyes brighten as an idea lights up over his head. “You’d think with video cameras they’d be able to spot the taggers, track them down and make them pay to clean it up.”
Somehow the small/anti-government contingent just don’t see the disconnect between their political beliefs and promotion of a surveillance state. It really doesn’t get government off our backs. No more than ‘eradicating’ graffiti will bring about the end to the bigger crimes of drug dealing and prostitution. It’s just waste of what we are told are precious financial resources. Pure gravy, to use the parlance of our times, in the pursuit of looking like something’s being done while accomplishing next to nothing.
— frustratingly submitted by Urban Sophisticat