Disrespectful, plain and simple

Posted: Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our hats off to the Kenai Natives Association for its efforts to clean up the graffiti and vandalism that's accumulated at the former Wildwood Air Force Base and infamous "Building 100."

Over the years since the association was granted the land as part of the 1974 Alaska Native Claims and Settlement Act, the site's remoteness has transformed it into a magnet for those certain individuals who simply can't seem keep their idle hands from defacing other people's property. What's worse -- the spray painted words and crude art work doesn't even display a hint of artistic quality, as what might be found in large metropolitan areas. The Building 100 scribbling looks more like the inside of a Skid Row public toilet.

We are lucky that this kind of vandalism hasn't gained a foothold in our community. The few blank walls that could become outdoor canvas -- like behind the Kenai Safeway grocery -- are quickly scrubbed clean at the first signs of graffiti before it's allowed to spread, like a virus.

There are just a few spots in the region where this kind of artistic expression could be understandable -- skate parks come to mind.

But at the risk of sounding like the crabby old man down the street who yells, "You kids get off my lawn," we generally don't see where the art is here, we don't see self-expression. All we see is the illegal defacing of someone else's property. It's wrong.

We see this kind of vandalism in the same light as the defacing, usually by way of a firearm, of street and highway signs. No rational explanation exists for this kind of moronic behavior, and yet we see 12-gauge pocked road signs from here to Homer, Seward and points north.

Ignorance, unfortunately, can't be legislated away. But what we can encourage is vigilant enforcement of laws already on the books. And -- a little "eye for an eye . . ."

Catch these itchy trigger fingers and have them pony up for new signs. Take the vandalizing miscreants and put a scrub brush in their hands.

In short: There is no excuse for defacing other people's property.

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