Acid Tagging... The Next Level

Get ready for the next new method those lovable graffiti “artists” are using.

Acid Tagging.

They are using concentrated etchants in order to permanently mark glass and metal surfaces. The city of San Francisco has experienced a jump from $2,000 to $30,000 per month in repair and replacment costs.

I thought that the use of carbide and diamond scribes was meritous of extra harsh penalties. This latest craze should entail instant felony charges. Merely transporting a quantity of liquid acid in a dispenser represents a sufficient hazard to the public as it stands. Applying such substances to exposed surfaces that people can come in contact with presents a serious hazard to public safety.

In order to etch glass a person must use muriatic or hydrofluoric acid. Both of these are not minor irritants. All we need is for someone to lean against an acid marked surface or maybe a child tasting it to have the potential for a serious injury.

As I said, being caught in possession of acid or acid marking equipment should merit instant felony charges. This is getting totally out of hand and only harsh penalties will deter this sort of dangerous behavior.

Your comments please.

How much of a deterant has the death penalty been? Instant felony charges for carrying acid? Seems like an overboard response.

What about artists who do work etching glass? Should they be criminals? Perhaps they can be licensed and create more red-tape. Of course, try to suggest that for guns…

Real artists normally transport corrosives in a safe and contained manner. It would be pretty unusual to see someone in possession of a quantity of acid and an applicator without easily justified reasons.

I bring to your attention the fact that in the Middle East there is a growing practice of throwing acid into the faces of women who reject their suitors or do not conform to appropriate dress codes. Imagine one of these thugs splashing their container of acid upon an apprehending officer and you begin to understand the reason why I suggest severe charges for such behavior.

Other tagging equipment, like spray paint and scribes, do not represent such a dire threat to the population at large. Few non-commercial people routinely carry around a quantity of corrosive substance. Since we live in a country that mandates probable cause for arrest, it is highly unlikely that real artists would suffer any large degree of improper detainment.

I don’t know if you have ever worked with highly corrosive liquids before. I have. Try fuming red nitric, fuming sulphuric and full strength hydrofluoric acid (you know, the one that soaks right through your skin without any apparent irritation until it reaches your bones and begins to burn) for starters. I have worked with chemical technicians that have large permanent burn marks on their bodies from such compounds. This is no joke and needs to be taken quite seriously by law enforcement.

I’m not saying that is a joke or that it isn’t a serious issue. However, when has passing draconian laws ever solved a problem? We have the death penalty, yet people still commit murders. We have “the war on drugs”, and drugs are still readily available to those who want them. We have obsurd “3 strikes” laws that have done nothing but tie judges hands and increase jail populations.

How will making carrying acid a felonly, actually stop acid tagging? Nothing suggests that it will.

How’s this for a compromise?

Make it illegal for minors to carry acid.

Known taggers may be jailed for posession during extended probationary periods.

Use of acid in the commission of graffiti crime carries extra penalty.
Although I am in no way accusing you of joking about this, I also feel it is disingenuous to compare the war on drugs to the war on urban blight. Many of the drug arrests are for use and not distribution. This constitutes victimless crime which is dubious in its prosecution. Acid tagging and graffiti is almost always a victim crime and costs the taxpayers hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars per year.

Discouraging a particularly virulent form of an already significant public nusiance and eyesore is a worthy priority. Think of the impact if removal costs rocketed by over ten times across this nation. The economic impact alone far outweighs the cost of prosecution and incarceration.

Graffiti, like theft, is a “gateway” crime that already includes a blatant disregard for the property of others. Graduation to greater degrees of antisocial conduct is far more likely with this sort of behavior than in a juvenile who is engaged in victimless criminal activities like smoking tobacco.

Your choice, pay now or pay later. Spray paint is already illegal for a minor to possess. Adding acid to the same list of proscribed materials will be simple and effective. Few minors are involved in any legitimate activity that requires the personal transportation of corrosive compounds. There will be little impact on legal activity and commerce.

I hate like Hell to suggest further legislation in an already litigious society. Yet, this sort of tagging represents a pinnacle in urban blight that merits attention. The collateral endangerment to the public and law enforcement alike only serve to augment the importance of examining this phenomenon rather carefully.