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A Virginia judge sentenced Susan Mortensen to 50 hours of community service for vandalism after her 4-year-old daughter made chalk drawings on rocks in a Richmond park.

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  1. “She’s very scared of chalk for one,” Mortensen told WTVR in July. “And she’s very nervous around cops.”

    Well then, this story has a happy ending after all.

  2. I guess we should just chalk this up to a misguided judge.

  3. During a court hearing, Officer Stacy Rogers testified that Mortensen had cursed when she was given the ticket.

    It’s interesting that Oliver chose to conveniently leave this part out of the story. Officer Stacy was verbally assaulted while doing his/her (I’m guessing her either way) vital public service. Hopefully Mortensen (of should I call her Mortifierson?) is subjected to curse words the entire fifty hours.

  4. What does ‘cursed mean’?
    The fact that she spoke her mind exacerbated the crime?

    Some time ago we had a case here in Louisiana where a guy was convicted for saying ‘fuck you’ to the police. HIs conviction was overturned on appeal….it was ruled free speech ( what a revelation!).

    1. Maybe she said something like ‘May the brimstone fires of Olm rain upon you and your children and your childrens children until the Gorg is finally unleashed to turn your bones to dust!”

      1. I don’t this cute little guy is hurting anyone.

    2. The other side of the coin is this.

      Officer Stacy Rogers was no doubt specifically instructed by her superior to put a stop to chalk drawings on said rocks. She had no discretion in the matter. Possibly she had discretion to give warning rather than give a ticket, but possibly not.

      While Mortensen does have the right to speak her mind, cursing the police officer who does not make the laws/rules and has little discretion about enforcement, instinctively seems like an unwise strategy to me.

      I am in no way endorsing the court’s ruling here. It was a 4 yo drawing with chalk that the first rain will wash away for fuck’s sake. The real villian here, the judge, is not mentioned by name. I looked it up and Virginia’s district judges are elected by the State General Assembly. That insulates the judges somewhat from accountability to the voters that they serve. Fortunately, here in La, our judges are elected directly by the voters.
      I have watched La district judges many times and find that the judges here mostly tread very carefully when hearing cases.

      1. Do you know who else said they were just following orders?

        1. The short order cook at Denny’s?

        2. The Saints defense?

        3. Dunphy?

      2. has little discretion about enforcement

        Not true, they have 100% discretion. It may cost them their job, but they have it.

        1. Good point.

  5. I would think that “vandalism” would require the use of a medium that won’t wash away the first time it rains.

    Calling this “vandalism” is like calling it “vandalism” if I draw a smiley face with my finger in the condensation on a window.

    1. I’ll have to check my Funk Wagnalls.

      1. Squirrels eat ampersands?

        1. For breakfast, lunch and dinner.

          1. Feeding the server squirrels ampersands instead of peanuts slashes Reason’s hosting costs by 4.3%.

            1. You learn something ebby day

    2. The punishment wasn’t for the chalk, it was for not showing sufficient respect to the officer of the court.

      Rule of man, baby!

      Rule of man!

    3. I would think that “vandalism” would require the use of a medium that won’t wash away the first time it rains.

      “Wash away”, huh? The runoff collects in the nooks and crannies and is there *forever* even though it gets covered up by natural crud.

      /Nip juvenile delinquency in the bud

  6. made chalk drawings on rocks in a Richmond park.

    They’re cutting cocaine with chalk, now?

    1. No, no. Chalk isn’t water soluble.

    1. Yup. Squirrels eat ampersands.

      1. Also greater than / less than signs.

        1. Good to know!

  7. The “park” isn’t a traditional city park; it’s a nature preserve. People don’t go to nature preserves to see things all scribbled over with grafitti, even if it’s temporary.

    The punishment may have been over the top, but on the other hand the reaction in certain quarters has been just has ridiculous. People shouldn’t be allowed to just scribble all over public property whenever they feel like it.

    1. That’s right; she’s trampling all over your right to not be offended!

    2. People don’t go to nature preserves to see things all scribbled over with grafitti, even if it’s temporary.

      Using this rationale, how is this any different than arresting a person because they are at the nature preserve wearing clothing that some people find unattractive?

      Also, some (I would hope most) people may look at chalk drawings on rocks and have positive and nostalgic feelings because they recognize that a child most likely had fun there.

    3. The impermanent nature of the marks still argue against it being vandalism.

      It’s like saying I’m “littering” if I’m drinking a bottled water there and some drops of the water spill on the sidewalk. Sure, people shouldn’t be able to just dump stuff on the sidewalk, but it’s still more than a little ridiculous.

      People don’t go to nature preserves to see things all scribbled over with grafitti

      You’d have to be an uptight asshole to freak out about a child’s drawing on a rock at a nature preserve. Ever walk over a chalk hopscotch board some kids have drawn on a sidewalk? Did you think to yourself, “Aw, that’s cute” or did you think to yourself, “This child’s hopscotch board has destroyed my morning by making my walking experience different from my expectations!” I submit that if you think the latter, you’re a dick.

      MAYBE if they told her to stop and leave and she refused, it could be trespass. And if you did it to someone’s private property, you could MAYBE call it harassment if it caused the property owner some distress. But vandalism? That should require damage, which should require the marks to be less ephemeral than this.

      1. The mother argued with the police officer. That’s what it is all about.

        Had she unquestioningly submitted to the officer and obeyed orders, nothing further would have happened.

        But she didn’t. She had the temerity to talk back to authority, and now she is being punished.

        This isn’t about vandalism, it’s about a serf getting all uppity to a knight, and a member of the nobility putting her in her place.

      2. And if you did it to someone’s private property, you could MAYBE call it harassment if it caused the property owner some distress.

        So now you’re saying I have a right to go onto anyone’s property and start doing chalk drawings on anything I like as long as it’s not permanent?

        1. No, douche, I’m saying it’s not VANDALISM.

          That would, as I said in the very post you’re replying to, be trespass. And possibly harassment.

          If some jokers were coming on to my property every night and moving my garbage cans from the left side of my shed to the right side, they would be breaking the law, but not committing the specific crime of VANDALISM.

        2. Sounds like trespassing is the problem here.

          1. How can you trespass on property that you own?

            1. I was responding to Stormy’s hypothetical:

              So now you’re saying I have a right to go onto anyone’s property and start doing chalk drawings on anything I like as long as it’s not permanent?

          2. Sounds more like Stormy can’t contain her ignorance.

        3. So now you’re saying I have a right to go onto anyone’s property and start doing chalk drawings on anything I like as long as it’s not permanent?

          The property belonged to the mother and child in the story.

    4. I bet you are a laugh a minute to spend time with!

      Just kidding Stormy, I am sure you are a one-person party.

      1. Just as long as that party isn’t at Chik-fil-A.

    5. People shouldn’t be allowed to just scribble all over public property whenever they feel like it.

      Why not? Are they not the owners?

      1. Nope. Public property means it is owned by everyone but any one individual.
        Similarly individuals are to submit to public servants, since “the public” means “everyone but you”.

        1. Private property is just an irrational myth created by selfish people. Public property, however, is based on a proven scientific rational that the submission to the collective by will lead to social evolution necessary to the species continued survival. It’s as simple as that.

          1. A chunk got erased. I’ll simplify that a bit.

            that the submission submitting to the collective by will lead to the social evolution of the species necessary to the species our continued survival

          2. Oh yeah, because “Don’t deface the nature preserve” == “There should be no private property”

            1. There is no underlying rationale for public property. It falls apart with even the simplest arguments much less more complex ones involving solid economic theory. That is what I’m trying to show you, you blind dunderhead.

              1. Then sell the park. But as long as it is public property, that doesn’t mean people should feel free to deface natural features. I’d prefer the Smitsonian was a private museum too, that doesn’t mean I’d be okay with someone going in and letting their four year old scribble on the paintings.

      2. Well I-95 is public property. Can I have a picnic in the middle of it? I mean I do own it, so I should be able to do whatever I like, right?

        1. You wont ever catch me stopping you, so it’s a terrible analogy.

        2. No problemo, Stormy. Just remember to park your car on the fast-lane shoulder with the hood up.

        3. Are you trying to be retarded or does it just come naturally?

          1. Yes, I am trying to be retarded. It’s called “reducio ad absurdum”. The point is that just because something is public property doesn’t mean any individual member of the public is free to use it however they like. I can’t picnic on the highway, I can’t take a nap ontop of the judge’s bench at the country courthouse, I can’t have a parade at the Fort Indiantown Gap firing range, and I can’t draw all over the rocks at the local nature preserve.

            1. I know what you were trying to do. I was insulting you because not only are you a moron but you are tiresome as well.

        4. Can I have a picnic in the middle of it?

          I would encourage this. I might even pay for your spread. Even something fancy like Zabar’s or Balducci’s.

          1. This is the same reason why I support legalizing all drugs. I can open Copernicus OD service.

    6. Don’t people blaze trails in nature preserves?

      I’d’ve simply denied the girl was my daughter.

  8. I feel like Cartmen when nothing was funny any more. The daily authoritah and stupid has gotten SO great that nothing enrages me, nothing surprises me. I expect shit like this any more. I just read it and think, “Well, of COURSE they’re trampling someone’s rights and privileges. What did you expect? The Spanish Inquisition?”

    Sad, I am :*(

    1. You’ll love this, then.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..okers.html

      NYC cop shoots homeless man’s dog after it growls at him in reaction to the officer kicking the dog’s owner.

      1. “I talked to the cop afterwards. He was very shaken up. He’s a dog lover and it ruined his week, if not his year.”

        Disability retirement in 3, 2, 1, ….

        1. As a dog lover, I frequently kick them.

      2. *waits*

        Nope – nothin’.

        WEIRD!

  9. I wish the article was more thorough. I want to be outraged, but I can’t be sure. Since when are parents charged with children’s crimes?

    1. Since they talked back to a cop.

    2. Tell your five year old into a store and bring something back out to you without paying and see what happens to you.

      1. “Sir, your son stole that.”

        “Here’s your gum back – I’ll addres Mr. Stickyhands….thank you.”

        No? I’m dreaming that? Probably…

      2. Then you’d be an accomplish. Or involved in a conspiracy to commit theft.

        1. Also, possible an accomplice. Where’s the damn edit button?

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