A Libertarian Rorschach Test?

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Story presented without comment:

A 43-year-old man was cited Tuesday for painting a sign that reads "Die you miserable bitch" on a house he owns, Pasco County sheriff's deputies said.

A neighbor dying of cancer, 73-year-old Carol Hastrich, is believed by her family to be the subject of the message, deputies said.

The words were spray-painted in black on the side of the house facing Hastrich's front yard.

But it was not the meaning of the message that led to Derick Cooper's citation. Deputies told Hastrich's family the message did not violate any laws, her daughter Dea Albertson said Wednesday.

Instead, Cooper was cited for an illegal sign because the wording exceeded the permitted size for a sign in a residential area, Pasco Code Enforcement Officer Patrick Phillips said.

Link via Sploid.

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  1. Let him have his sign, and let everyone else in the community give him the ostracism he so richly deserves.

    (So how did I score?)

  2. Well done, Jennifer! I couldn’t have said it better. Let everyone else in the community write signs to him saying, “Eat my stool”

  3. When signs are outlawed, only outlaws will have signs.

    (oh man, I really think I got this one right)

  4. Free Mumia!!

    Oh, crap.

  5. Somebody ought to kick that guy’s ass.

    No jury in America…

  6. haha… oh man… i think i failed the “common decency” rorschach test by laughing out loud at this one.

    i mean, really. what sequence of events leads a guy to spray paint “DIE YOU MISERABLE BITCH” on his house??

  7. I used to drive by a house that had an accusation of malpractice against a doctor painted in huge letters on the side. I didn’t pay enough attention to remember the name of the doctor.

  8. I’ll go with whatever joe says because I don’t trust my own opinions.

  9. Jennifer,
    I thought you weren’t posting because of that picture of me in a bath towel in the upper left.

  10. I was tempted to write something about the principled issues of when/if/how/etc. verbal harassment can rise to a level that merits state intervention.

    But I think the previous posters have suggested more than enough private sector solutions.

    I would just add that the private sector provides an abundance of tar and feathers.

  11. Cooper received a final citation for operating a commercial business on the residential property.

    LOL…. so i guess this guy decided his place of business needed a facelift.

  12. Zach–

    According to a different version of the story I read somewhere else this morning, it’s because the lady complained about the fact that this guy’s yard was always full of trash.

    Maybe she could respond by painting HER house with “GET LAID, YOU MISERABLE VIRGIN.”

  13. I think Jennifer has exactly the correct solution.

  14. yup, they mention the trash in this story too.

    Maybe she could respond by painting HER house with “GET LAID, YOU MISERABLE VIRGIN.”

    now THAT’s a true libertarian solution. exercise the right to deface your own property and spice up the neighborhood in the process!

    hey, maybe it could even start a chain reaction. a third neighbor’s wall could read “KEEP IT DOWN YOU TWO”, etc., until it spreads throughout the country! on a home in dallas:

    “TO THAT GUY IN SAN FRANCISCO – LET’S SEE WHAT YOUR SISTER HAS TO SAY ABOUT THAT YOU MISERABLE QUEER!”

  15. I think much of the question turns on whether or not said lady was, in fact, a miserable bitch, or regarded as same.

  16. You people have clearly never had bad neighbors. Besides, why does painting words on your house turn your wall into a sign? Maybe it’s just an unfinished paint job. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. I’m sure it is a politcal commentary, and thus protected by even the wackier readings of the First Amendment.

    (If Kerry had won, it would be Die you miserable slut)

  18. now THAT’s a true libertarian solution. exercise the right to deface your own property and spice up the neighborhood in the process!

    Deface, hell. What, you’ve never heard of water-soluble paint?

  19. Three things:

    1) I’m — sadly — not surprised that there’d be a rule against this, but I thought before the end of the article that it’d be some kind of objection to the word “bitch” being on it, as if some dude’s scrawlings would warp the minds of children who saw it or somethin’.

    2) if one cannot alter their property however they feel like without government intervention, then can it truly be said the property is theirs? Far as I’m concerned, He Who Pays The Bills Makes The Rules. What he did may make no sense, but it’s HIS property, by this logic the city could have a rule against political campaign signs and it’d be no problem. That said…

    3) If this sign really refers to the sick woman mentioned, then the guy is complete scum and SHOULD be screamed on for it. Simply because the government has no legitmiate stake in it doesn’t mean it should slide. People need to re-embrace shame as a cultural tool, it works…

  20. Um… DERICK COOPER, WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA?

    How did I do?

  21. re-embrace? i didn’t realize they had stopped using it.

    P.S. water-soluble paint my ass.

  22. Nice plug for your buddies crap-can website. Did you run out of stories to tell about drinking cafe and smoking cloves in eastern europe?

    Go A’s

  23. What? No enhanced penalty for what is clearly a “hate” crime?!?!? I am outraged, shocked, and, and, and… I take umbrage too. You heard me right — umbrage!

    Why, if this were MY ideal society, all we’d have to do is fill out 7 sets of notarized forms in triplicate to complain to the Bureau of Insensitive Language and they would have 72 months to forward it to the Office of Intermediate Measures for additional review, which would have 96 months to sign off on it before forwarding it to the Special Prosecutor for Intra-Neighborhood Affairs so he could prosecute Cooper under the Naughty Thoughts Act of 1984 and have him sent off to a taxpayer-funded Sensitivity-Training Re-Education Camp.

    Damn this country.

  24. I woulda thought this would go against local zoning, which states you can’t paint your house paisley, etc.

  25. I’ll take this opportunity to rant against city enforced fence heights.

    Good fences making good neighbors and all that, all one party had to do was raise their fence so they wouldn’t have to look into the other party’s property. Yet government being what it is, has to set limits on fence heights at which point they have no choice but to look into each others property leading to an escalation of tensions. Since government has limited fence height, they now need to interfere even more in maintenance of private property, thus throwing even more fuel into a vicious cycle of more and more government coersion infringing upon the private sphere.

  26. Wow, a hate crime penalty enhancement in zoning.

    That’s a thought.

  27. Can you please take down Ruthless’s picture from the upper left panel and put one of the other ones up?

    Personally, I liked the lady in the lab coat doing a bong hit.

  28. the answer is not taller fences. the answer is clearly fences which project holographic images of the world outside of the fences whilst censoring offensive language, poorly coordinated color schemes and black people.

  29. Without first reading anyone else’s comments:

    Let him have the sign.

    Then let the neighbors sue the everliving snot out of him for driving everyone’s property values down.

  30. That’s a thought.

    Figured you’d like it, joe.

  31. Not only is it tasteless, it’s impatient and unnecessary. If she really is dying, he’ll be rid of her soon enough.

  32. Wow, a hate crime penalty enhancement in zoning.

    Stop giving joe ideas.

  33. “Horst” — Take your little obsessions over to my personal website, where they belong (if anywhere public). The Web administrators over here aren’t nearly as forgiving of value-free sniping about things that have never been published at reason.com.

    Oh — and I have smoked cloves precisely as often as Billy Beane teams have won playoff series.

  34. zach:

    And with the government involved in regulating the fences between properties, such advances in fencing technology will never occur. Just imagine how popular holographic projection fences would be if they would create an external atmosphere of the homeowners chosing.

  35. the answer is clearly fences which project holographic images of the world outside of the fences whilst censoring offensive language, poorly coordinated color schemes and black people
    What if you were black? Would your own fence not let you in?

  36. it would let you in, sure. but your family would never see you coming.

  37. since we’re on the subject of matt welch’s personal life, there was a shoutout to him in my local metro the other day. it was a column by a woman talking about how we need to “close the border”, and how her libertarian friend Matt Welch from reason magazine would disagree with her. she also mentioned she was an immigrant from canada. catherine speill? seill? christine? something like that.

  38. zach — S-e-i-p-p. You can see the link in question & more, over at cathyseipp.net.

    What paper did it run in?

  39. that’s the one (obviously).

    my local metro, just as in, The Metro. it’s a free paper they give out at public transportation stations around town here in philly, and also i believe in boston, and some cities outside the country. it’s basically devoid of content but has one opinion column a day, which yesterday or the day before belonged to your ms. seipp.

  40. Matt, it ran in the Boston Metro. I read the column while getting my morning coffee all the while wondering whether she was purposely trying to be obtuse or whether she was just plain stupid and sharing it with the world.

  41. zach,
    In case you haven’t figured it out, it’s always nice to read newspapers from the back to the front. That way you end up hitting the sports, and eds while never having to deal with the lack of content so prominently displayed on the front and first few pages ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. The perfect revenge, IMHO, would be for this lady to live another thirty years just to spite this miserable bastard.

  43. metalgrid,
    tell me about it. since we like our sports a little here in philly, the Philadelphia Daily News has a separate back cover with big sports pictures and then a 10-or-so-page sports section that you read backwards.

  44. Matt Welch–

    I saw the column in question in the national Review. (Which I read only from a “know thy enemy” perspective.) You were mentioned in the context of, “This is where my attitude and the attitudes of libertarians diverge,” or something like that.

  45. zach,

    I think the Daily News are running dangerously close to exhausting their supply of T.O.-related puns. Fortunately the initials “T.O.” could stand for any number of scandalous phrases.

    My apologies to non-Philly readers for going off topic.

  46. Jennifer — I read it on NRO, too (I had needled her about her pro-immigrant/close-the-border stance before); I was just asking zach on the odd chance that Cathy was getting reprinted without her knowledge.

  47. SPD, just hypothetically… let’s say T.O. meets with an unfortunate accident and dies. i don’t think the eagles take a cap hit, do they?

  48. Yes, actually I was getting reprinted without my knowledge, so thanks for the head’s up. Well, not totally without my knowledge — I sometimes send abbreviated versions of the NRO columns to New York Metro, but had no idea they were in turn sending them to Boston and/or Philly Metro. And although of course I like the idea of commuters in Boston and Philly, as well as New York, wondering if I’m purposely obtuse or just plain stupid, I kind of think I should get some extra $$ for that.

  49. actually, it’s in German for “THE miserly bits” yeah. german. like “die bart, die”

    wellfellow: ewwwwww
    Phil: fuck that was funny. holy shit. i wet myself.
    mk: now you’re talking!

  50. cathy, if it helps, i’ll agree not to spend a penny for future editions of the metro.

    i hope there’s a lawsuit. i could read about it and say to myself, “i helped make this happen”.

  51. drf-

    ROFL!


  52. And although of course I like the idea of commuters in Boston and Philly, as well as New York, wondering if I’m purposely obtuse or just plain stupid, I kind of think I should get some extra $$ for that.
    Comment by: Cathy Seipp at August 12, 2005 05:59 PM

    The best of luck to you on that. If the Metro can afford to pay people for articles promoting Intelligent Design, the least they can do is pay you for something with a modicum more factual basis ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. “No-one who speaks German could be an evil man!”

  54. Can you please take down Ruthless’s picture from the upper left panel and put one of the other ones up?

    Personally, I liked the lady in the lab coat doing a bong hit.

    It’s almost as if someone at RegisteredMedia is trying to sabotage Rightalk by making the Rightalk ads as repellent as possible (no offense, Ruthless. I was talking about the other Rightalk ads).

  55. haha… oh man… i think i failed the
    “common decency” rorschach test by laughing
    out loud at this one.

    i mean, really. what sequence of events
    leads a guy to spray paint “DIE YOU
    MISERABLE BITCH” on his house??

    Thank you, Zach. I had the same reaction. =) I keep *trying* to feel bad, but it’s just too funny.

  56. It’s almost as if someone at RegisteredMedia is trying to sabotage Rightalk by making the Rightalk ads as repellent as possible (no offense, Ruthless. I was talking about the other Rightalk ads).

    Those ads are an eyesore. Their “graphic designer” has the artistic ability of a lemur with a sucking chest wound.

  57. mediageek: I am offended. Many lemurs with sucking chest wounds go on to lead normal, healthy, productive lives — in the graphic design field as well as many other professions.

  58. My mother loathes the guy who lives behind her.

    He’s 90 years old. He doesn’t like it when there are people in my mother’s backyard. Which means that he doesn’t like it when my family decides to use their swimming pool. Or the barbecue. Or sit out on the back porch.

    His solution is to watch television with the volume turned up to godawful thunderous levels. As a result, when he’s in one of his moods, you can’t go into the backyard without watching TV right along with him.

    What can you do? If called on it, he claims he can’t hear the TV unless it’s turned up. This doesn’t explain why he moves the TV to his back porch to do this.

    Anyway. To get back to the real topic, RightTalk:

    I don’t want to adblock BlogAds, because I think they’re a good idea. But RightTalk’s ads are usually irritating and/or offensive to look at; today was just the last straw.

    Thank god for Adblock.

  59. I, too, would really like to know what makes her a “miserable bitch.” I’ll reserve my judgment on the sign issue until all the facts are in.

  60. “what sequence of events leads a guy to spray paint “DIE YOU MISERABLE BITCH” on his house??”

    One litter too many? Seriously, couldn’t she just come up with a plan to put a Dickey Me’s, Deuchkin Donuts or something that would increase the tax revenue from his property? To quote Andrew Jackson: “It’s a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.”

  61. isildur: I suggest your family develop a taste for rousing bagpipe music. Set up some speakers so you can enjoy it while you’re in your mother’s backyard. Of course, you’ll have to turn it up to hear it over her neighbor’s TV.

  62. Stevo Darkly,
    You are so flippin’ tolerant.
    isildur,
    Snuff the asshole.

    Peace out.

  63. I was trying to figure out WTF Horst was talking about for the longest time. Then I gave up. Then I eventually saw Matt’s reply. I still don’t know WTF Horst is talking about but it makes sense in some 4th dimensional sort of way.

  64. Maybe she really is a miserable bitch. ๐Ÿ™‚

  65. Maybe she really is a miserable bitch. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, but until Bush decides to stop allocating so much money to defense and put those same funds into bitch research, we may never know.

  66. Repost:

    Stevo Darkly, You are so flippin’ tolerant.

    I’m trying to seek the most anodyne solution possible.

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