LV Mayor on Graf Artists: “Cut off Their Thumbs”

graffiti - my thumb staysThanks to Wooster Collective once again for a story tip.

Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman proposed his fail-safe idea of making sure his house turns purple, green and orange when he suggested that the best way to curb graffiti is to cut the thumbs off of vandals (or street artists, take your pick) on live TV.

He claims he got this brilliant notion from the French, who beheaded criminals, while conveniently forgetting that the guillotine was later turned on the ruling class:

“I’m saying maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb,” the mayor added. “That may be the right thing to do.”

Goodman also suggested that whippings or canings should be brought back for children who get into trouble.

“I also believe in a little bit of corporal punishment going back to the days of yore, where examples have to be shown,” Goodman said.

Street art, or graffiti is a contentious topic of discussion, because for every person who lamely defaces with a tag of their name, there’s an artist who’s blowing our minds with public masterpieces.

And speaking of lessons from “the days of yore” how about a lovely tar and feathering for this idiot mayor.

Update: Wooster is asking people to send in photos of their thumbs:

In response to the Mayor of Las Vegas saying that he wants to cut off the thumbs of graffiti artists – if you’re an artist dedicated to the streets – send us a photo of your thumb (or hand) with a little drawing or message on it. We’ll collect all of the photographs, post them on the Wooster site, and then send them as a group to the Mayor.

6 Comments
  1. Okay, so I agree it’s a pretty brutal response that he suggests, but why do you as a libertarian imply that vandalism is okay?

    I agree that some graffiti is done by a person with a lot of talent, but it’s still vandalism. If somebody defaces my home or business, I don’t really give a rip if it’s pretty. It’s still a violation of my property.

  2. AS, I agree with you that vandalism on private property is a big no-no. On the other hand, I’m pretty ambivalent to allowing free speech on public property, even in the form of a paint can. Leave it up to the community to decide if it’s art or nuisance and let other paint over it if they don’t like it.

    Then again, I know I’m being a bit too idealistic about it.

  3. Let the vandals keep their thumbs, just take their whole body out to help fill abandoned mineshafts all around town. The only good tagger is a dead tagger.
    There’s no such thing as a reformed tagger. even while they are in jail, they are practicing and planning what they are going to bomb when they get out.

    Lest you think this is a minority thing, most vandals round these parts seem to be white male adults with money and a job. If the mafia was still in vegas, there wouldn’t be no graffiti problem.

    BTW: to get to the artwork side, a newbie has to go through 5 or more skill levels of scrawl b4 he can throw a piece w/o gettin the crap beat out of him by other journeyman taggers

  4. I went to a neighborhood watch meeting once and they had some expert on graffiti talking about the problem:
    any ‘tag’ within an 8 block radius of your house causes your property to lose $10,000 in value right off the top; more for business.
    1st time offenders in Las Vegas already get the ‘standard deal’ when prosecuted: lose their drivers license until the fine is paid off; pay a fine of $15,000-$25,000; mandatory 7 months in jail; felony conviction; 5 years probation; 1000 hours of community service. some pay more in fines.
    if it is a juvenile, they skip the jail part, but if some arrangement isn’t made to pay off the fine within a year’s time, it rolls over to the parents in the form of a lien against their property.
    Goodman may have had that in mind when he stated that these vandals just don’t get it. there has been over 1000 vandals convicted in Las Vegas in the past few years, and a few hundred this year. Most just start tagging something else and don’t ever stop doing it.

  5. Oscar Goodman must be bonkers! Cutting off thumbs! What kind of idiot would dare propose that as a punishment?!

    On the other hand, I will not defend the vandals. Yes, we should have freedom of expression, but it should be used in a positive way, not in a manner which degrades the community.

    Let me share my knowledge on this subject. Several years after I graduated high school, I volunteered my time and money to paint four murals for the foreign language hallway. I returned three months later to find grafitti, obscene markings, and profanity on my artwork. I was appalled, to say the least. If someone wanted to share their artwork with the school, they could have asked permission to do so. In this case, the grafitti was not a form of “expression”, it was a form of vandalism. That should not be tolerated!

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