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Hugh Gordon's picture
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http://www.philly.com/philly/...itedforparkinglotchalkdrawings.html

Two teenagers make chalk drawings of a whale and sea turtles in a Doylestown parking lot.

 

Doylestown police Chief James Donnelly says although chalk washes off, the drawings are "an attempt at vandalism."

 

 

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politeia's picture
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Interesting in that a public accountability organization, noting arrests for chalking by one police department, had National Chalk The Police Day last year in 16 cities with hundreds of people chalking with no arrests made, yet an arrest happens in Doylestown when some kids draw a turtle and whale with chalk in a parking lot.

My take. Some police departments have too much time on their hands while others focus on real crimes.

Also brings about interesting questions regarding freedom of speech and whether chalk, which will wash away with rain, actually amounts to vandalism.

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Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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politeia's picture
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Comments over on Philly.com:

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politeia's picture
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So now (after a lot of bad PR) the Doylestown police chief Drops The Charges against the chalking teens.

Doylestown police Chief James Donnelly tells The Intelligencer that the drawings didn't break the law.

He said Thursday that the images have to be "indelible and financially costly to remove."

But hey, let's arrest them anyway and see if we can't get them to plead guilty to a crime that is not a crime since the press surely won't report on this...

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Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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Hugh Gordon's picture
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Once in a blue moon common sense and a sense of proportion prevail.  Meanwhile in Moscow, members of Pussy Riot are sentenced to two years in prison for saying something mean about Putin in a cathedral.  

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politeia's picture
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I'd say two years in a labor camp is extremely excessive, but you have no right to free speech on the private property of others in this country. One of the most important aspects of having a free society is respect for private property rights - which is something SAC was founded on.

Freedom of speech in public places is sacrosanct, in my view, but having a mini punk rock concert while shouting obscenities in a church without permission is not only insulting to the parishioners/practitioners of the religion, but could easily amount to charges of trespassing, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, etc. in this country.

However, the appropriate punishment for a first offense would be a fine and no jail time. Not two years in a labor camp. The two year sentence amounts to political persecution and Putin's placating a powerful special interest and buying its votes in a heavily Russian Orthodox region.

The outrage over this in Russia comes about due to other political dissenters being murdered or put in jail for no reason other than speaking up, so I certainly understand the reasons for the public outcry – and especially in light of the length of sentence.

If this were to happen in a place of worship in the U.S. and the offenders were charged with trespassing and disorderly and given a fine, most would say they had it coming to them.

This statement from a very interesting CNN Opinion Piece on this topic hits the nail on the head with me:

Whatever misdemeanor the three women incurred for their antics in the church should not have been transformed by the authorities into a criminal offense that in effect punishes them for their speech. It's typical, though, of how the authorities try to keep a lid on controversial issues.

Point being, they were given two years for their political speech when the punishment should have been a minor one for trespassing.

The author also states:

Critics of the Kremlin have been subject to vicious harassment, intimidation and grotesque public smear campaigns.

As if that does not happen to critics in the U.S. – let alone critics of Montgomery County and Lower Merion government.

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Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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It's obviously and transparently a political persecution for insulting "dear leader."  

On a related topic, I thought this article about the reluctance of US news media to use the band's actual name in its reporting quite interesting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/us-news-blog/2012/aug/17/media-prim-view-pussy-riot

And related to that, as well as the topic of local authorities at work, is the news that the Easton School District appealed the ruling of a US District Court judge voiding the suspensions of students who wore bracelets in support of breast cancer research.  The bracelets say "I [heart] boobies."  The school principal thought the word too vulgar for middle school. (Not too vulgar for Philly.com, one is happy to see.) The School District appealed to the Third Circuit, and the three-judge panel's ruling, whatever it was, has been withdrawn and the case will now be argued before all 14 judges of the Third Circuit en banc.  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20120817_Federal_court_to_hear_appeal_over_bracelets.html

So now you have the forces that believe that unlimited amounts of taxpayer money should be spent on lawyers upholding the sacred principle that no one has the right to challenge the bad judgment of local authorities, in this case the principal as supported by the school board, and the people who still believe that constitutional rights should not be cut off at the schoolhouse door.  Given today's political climate, I'm not tremendously hopeful about how this is going to come out.  

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politeia's picture
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The scary thing, as you know Hugh, is you find articles like this just casually browsing the news on a daily basis where our rights are slowly chiseled away while government gains more power and control over our lives.

To be honest, I see us headed in the direction of what happened to Pussy Riot in Russia. It won't happened overnight, but slowly but surely it appears to be going in that direction.

That's why some do their little bit in speaking up, and it can be prevented if more people wake up and get involved.

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Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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