It’s been more than a week since vandals spray painted the water tank and other structures on River Road, and as of this writing, it hasn’t been cleaned up or painted over.
We can only hope, by the time you read this, the town has accomplished one or the other but we aren’t at all confident of either having taken place.
The facility at the Latham Water District Pump Station on River Road was “tagged” sometime between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, as near as anyone can tell, and was noticed by a patrol officer on Monday, Oct. 9.
It says, in scrawling freehand, the signature of an immature jerk with a can of spray paint, that “Christopher Columbus is only a murderer” on the water tank and states that he was a “thief and a murderer” on the building near the tanks. It boasts of “#native pride” and “#truth” and “#onenation.”
Don’t worry, we will not leap into the debate over the kind of man Christopher Columbus was, or whether or not his holiday should be instead called something ridiculous like “Indigenous People’s Day.”
We will say Columbus Day started as a state holiday in Colorado in 1905. It was declared a federal holiday in 1936. Less formal recognition his accomplishments dates back further than that, with New York City holding the first recorded observance in 1792 to mark the 300th anniversary of his most noted voyage, according to a narrative on the History Channel’s website.
And the graffiti does more than disparage the man credited for opening the New World, it taunts the town’s police department.
On the water tank for all to see is: “Yo, Colonie Police, here’s a donut … oink” followed by a crude drawing of a donut. On the fuel tank the talentless vandal wrote: “Catch me if you can.”
Yet, when interviewed, Colonie Department of Public Works Commissioner Jack Cunningham wasn’t at all concerned about the graffiti, or what it said about Columbus or the town’s own Police Department.
“The police are used to being insulted. If it was something offensive to a minority we would cover it up,” he said flippantly.
People have different views of Columbus Day and what it means, and have different interpretations on if police across the nation are doing their sworn duty in a fair and equitable manner.
It’s not Cunningham’s job, or the town’s for that matter, as a public employee and a public entity, to determine what is and what is not offensive.
In today’s day and age, it seems everything is offensive to someone, and it’s not fair to the police to allow the insults hang out there for days on end.
All that aside, as a practical matter, it’s ugly. Some graffiti is nice, and is often more appealing than the canvass it’s on. This careless scribbling, though, has no redeeming value whatsoever.
So cover it up already.