The Line That Separates Freedom of Speech From the Act of Vandalism


What’s the difference between freedom of speech and vandalism according to Lincoln authorities?

Ray Kohl, the owner of the house marked with graffiti, would sure like to know. This property owner wasn’t aware that someone left a permanent mark on one of the outer walls. Then came the notice from the city authorities to remove the purple scribble within fifteen days or they would bill him for it.

Kohl said that he was willing to do this on his own accord, but the official notice with a stated deadline enraged him, so he completely changed his mind. He claimed that the writing on his wall resembled a bitter outburst against President Trump that couldn’t be cited in newspapers.

He used this notion to imply the city notice represented the government’s censorship and the violation of free speech.

William Carver, in charge of graffiti prevention in the city of Lincoln, was of quite the opposite opinion. He said that the writing was almost illegible and placed on an awkward spot. There was no way this was someone’s means of expressing their opinion against Trump’s policy freely.

He then explained what makes the essential difference between graffiti and vandalism. The main difference is the property’s owner permission. If the owner allows someone to decorate their house with graffiti, the authorities have to accept this and leave everything as is.

The bill that prevented graffiti writing in Lincoln has been in action for thirteen years. It was devised in 2006 to stop the surge of writing on the walls all over the city.

Carver added that the period of 15 days given to property owners was quite reasonable and that he had to send a tab only once since he had been on this position. He said that volunteers had collected the money to cover all costs of removing graffiti. He continued by saying that the authorities wanted to work together with citizens in terms of deadline extensions or search for someone to erase vandalism.

Lincoln residents usually obey the city order. William Carver stated that he had sent 272 notices this fiscal year and that the issues had been solved within six days on average.

In Kohl’s case, this was undoubtedly the act of vandalism since he didn’t give his consent to the “artist.” This means he was responsible for removing the ugly writing at his own cost.

His defiance seems to be stemming from a hurt ego because he stated he didn’t like getting city notices that sounded like threats.

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