The news in Boston right now is swarming around the arrest of the alleged graffiti artist SPEK. Last night, the local Fox News affiliate decided this story was worthy of a minute and a half of prime news time. Do the weekly murders in Dorchester or Roslindale get a minute and a half? No. Why? Because they are poor and black. But some dude’s condo alleyway gets spray-painted and the shit hits the fan. Did this guy seriously compare an alleged vandal to pedophiles and murders? People please wake up. It’s understandable that graffiti or vandalism is against the law. You are changing someone’s property without their approval. But you are not defiling their person or taking a life! So this alarmist “newscaster” asks for a judge to put this kid away for 5 years! 5 years!?!?!? A quick internet search shows that the average time served for unspecified homicide (taking a human life) is 39 months. That’s 1 year 9 months less than what this guy wants for SPEK. A pedophile’s average time served: 35 months. Kidnapping: 33 months. Arson: 22 months. Burglary: 18 months..and the list goes on. Now I think even the most hardcore conservative Republican would see that all of these crimes are much worse than vandalism and would deserve way more time.
You can also look at this situation from a fiscal point of view. When you add up the yearly cost of housing a prisoner, plus the constant need to build more prisons, we are spending an average of $61k a year to put someone away. Now doesn’t this make you want to pick and choose who you are paying to put in prison? Yes, I think it is worth $61,000 to keep a murderer or rapist locked up, but does it make sense to pay $61,000 to keep a kid from painting an old abandoned warehouse? I think the only fitting punishment for a vandal is painting over the art they created. This would be a fitting punishment and provide free labor for the city. Putting a young artist in jail will only create real criminals in touch with vast criminal networks, and the next time he or she visits your home or business it might be a real crime, because we will have paid $61,000 to train them.