Making a mark

FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, May 10, 2006

An indistinct scrawl, just some idyll individual being destructive, that's what we have in the past consider the form of vandalism that defaces things around a community. In actual fact, the motivation can be both serious and just youthful exuberance. However, in today's world we have to handle this kind of thing with caution. The growth of gang subculture on the prairies has been a definite development in the past decade and can not be ignored.

Individuals with uncertainty about who and what they are need to feel that they belong and gangs and affinity groups of any kind offer them some solace, some feeling that they are not facing a hopeless world on their own. One of the characteristics of this development has been street gangs and no community big or small is immune to the development. In order to establish themselves groups will plaster a marker around their community to signify their territory and the unsavoury connotation of their presence.

No one wants to have to deal with the growth of this kind of subculture and the best way to deal with it is to give the cancer little opportunity to develop. It is up to us as a community to provide whatever support we can for the isolated individuals who do not feel like they belong and at the same time give no ground to subculture development.

Alienation is a difficult thing to deal with but the placing of markers around a community is something you can deal with directly. Oppression, retaliation and any form of hostile act will only add evidence to the alienated individual that they are outsiders and it is a "we-they" world. This is the reason I have shown only one example of this sort of marking as I do not wish to draw attention to this element, for indeed that is their goal to draw attention to themselves.

If you see a fresh marker, like the one shown here or some other form of graffiti don't kid around with it, get rid of it immediately. By destroying the claim to fame you will reduce the level of "attitude". I worked as a high school principal for most of my adult life and I have seen markings and had to deal with it occasionally. The best and absolutely most successful strategy is to get rid of it as soon as it appears. If you leave it out there for people to see it will encourage the development of the outsider and before you know there will be rival outsiders vying for messy space.

Sandblast, paint over, remove, that works and time and time again I have seen the problem vanish with the obliteration of its symbols. That does not mean that they alienation is suppressed that is a bigger task. We have to go after that with acceptance, awareness and encouragement for those who feel on the outside that they are valid individuals and that there is room for them in the mainstream of society.

By the way ctitizens this is not one of those things you leave for other folks and the authorities to deal with. You the individual are on the front line here and the responsibility for keeping a clean and civilised society rests on the shoulders of every member of the society. If you see it, fix it.



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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