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(en) Freedom 6318 21st Sep. 2002 - Crime and punishment

From FreedomCopy@aol.com
Date Tue, 1 Oct 2002 00:42:25 -0400 (EDT)


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Barry Hastings was convicted of manslaughter at the
Old Bailey last week. He was found guilty on 10th
September, following the death of a man called Roger
Williams. Williams was a professional burglar with a
record of violence, who'd been threatening Barry's
family in their home ...

Whenever I walk to my local station, I pass along a
street of small houses with front doors that open on to
the pavement. Mostly owned by elderly people, they're
pleasant little homes built when the railways first
arrived. Nowadays, the locality is known as 'graffiti
land'. There's nothing pleasant about this graffiti. It
doesn't purport to be artistic and consists of scribbled
tags. The regular attacks by vandals cause the residents
great distress.
Take C, for example. Long past retirement, I frequently
see her repainting the front of her home. She needs to
do this more than twenty times a year, she told me.
Next door lives M, also elderly and living alone. Very ill
with cancer, she is physically unable to clean off graffiti
- in the past I've borrowed a bucket and detergent and
done it for her myself.
Opposite C lives G, a man in his 80s, mugged in his
front room a couple of years ago and left lying in a pool
of blood. His front is regularly tagged. The defacing
continues all the way up the street and few homes
escape. The vandals are clearly local - if the tags are
removed, the same symbols reappear in days.
The starting point for all healthy anarchist action
should be to assist individuals sort out their own
problems without attempting to use the state apparatus.
Should we be attempting to organise patrols to go round
the area? Any such 'patrols' would necessarily consist
of 'outsiders', the victims of the distressing vandalism
being unable to participate due to their age.
And supposing we caught the perpetrators, what would
we do? Spray them with their own paint, as some of the
residents suggest? Ideally, the vandals should be made
to clean up the mess themselves, but in the real world
we inhabit this would never happen. Odds are we'd be
arrested for assault ourselves. The question remains.
What would we do?
Bob Potter


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