Some things are seasonal — sports, vacations, shopping. They have cycles; they ebb and flow in fairly predictable ways. Hockey gives way to baseball; winter getaways turn to camping and cabins; the Christmas rush eases in the stores.
One of those seasonal things can be crime.
Graffiti, for example, often spikes on warm summer nights, when school-less packs of bored adolescents tend to be out late.
So it was a little unusual to have two reports of graffiti sprees in Brandon earlier this week.
The first — apparently committed in the midst of a record-breaking 20 cm snowfall overnight Sunday —saw black tags left on a shed, a fence and a garage within a couple of blocks of Ninth Street and Southern Avenue.
The second was doubly unusual. Reported to police Tuesday morning, but not released until their next-day media briefing, this graffiti spree is apparently unrelated to the other one.
Using green and pink paint, the culprits left messages on two downtown buildings and at the courthouse.
Although we can’t condone any type of vandalism of this nature, we were pleasantly surprised by its content.
Aside from an unfortunate slur on a sheriff’s van parked outside the courthouse, someone apparently was trying to make the world a friendlier place.
“Have a nice day,” read one message.
“Hugged yer kids lately?” asked another.
“Love thy neighbor,” was the third, echoing the Biblical commandment but ignoring our Canadian spelling rules.
No matter the words they form, the spray painting is still an illegal defacement of property. And as Marshall McLuhan observed a half-century ago, the medium is the message.
So despite their best efforts, we’re disappointed in this latest round of graffiti.
Surely people with positive motivations in their heart should be able to see that spraying them hodgepodge all over downtown isn’t the best way to get their point across.
With massive mounds of snow still on the streets, it might have been nice to see “Snow worries!” or some such spray-painted on the windrows —a message that will harmlessly melt or be plowed away after being seen.
Of course, even illegal graffiti can have artistic or other value. The famed Banksy is proof enough of that. And Brandon is home to a pretty good graffiti wall downtown where plenty of artists have shown their stuff. It’s a popular place for portrait photography in the summer.
Based on this week’s graffiti sprees, we suspect that the culprits don’t quite have the artistic ability to add much to the graffiti wall. In fact, they seemed barely able to form basic letter shapes.
So in this case, we find ourselves in agreement with the police.
Const. Ron Burgess was unequivocal: “It doesn’t really matter what the message is, it’s still property damage.”
So while their heart may have been in the right place, their writing wasn’t.
We hope any copycats find something more productive to do with their time, especially once the weather warms up.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 7, 2013