July 17, 2007

Hippies vandalize One City Center

A group of hippies swarmed One City Center last week to protest Interstate 69. State government maintains an office there to, among other things, get citizen input on the highway project. The protesters "wrote slogans with chalk and painted the windows and walls of the building", according to the Indiana Daily Student. They didn't stop there:
A black Ford Explorer with a Texas license plate parked on Seventh Street had "How’s your MPG asshole?" written along its rear windshield in red shoe polish.
Once again, extremists resort to vandalizing someone else's property rather than using the political process to bring about change in a legal and civil way. They discredit themselves and their cause by resorting to vandalism instead of political discourse. The owner of the Ford was "guilty" of parking his vehicle at the wrong place at the wrong time, and now must fix the damage these radicals did to his (or her) property. Do you think the vehicle's owner is more or less supportive of I-69 now?

The IDS staff editorial yesterday notes that Earth First "claims to represent the 94 percent of Indiana residents who oppose the road", which is just ridiculous. In addition to being obviously false, that claim also makes no sense. If 94% of Hoosiers truly opposed I-69, do you really think it would have been supported not only by Governor Mitch Daniels, but also by Governor Frank O'Bannon (who chose the 3-C route a few years ago) and former U.S. Representative Frank McCloskey? (McCloskey would later change his position on the highway.)

One of the protesters claimed that Earth First was "standing in resistance to I-69 and the Baptist Superhighway." What exactly is a Baptist Superhighway? What does I-69 have to do with any religion, much less a specific Protestant denomination? This statement makes no sense whatsoever. Was this a statement of religious bigotry by Earth First activists? Can we expect local Baptist churches to be vandalized next?

Once again, the Herald-Times proves itself to be completely incompetent. While the IDS had full coverage of the event on Thursday and followed up with a staff editorial, the H-T responded with a tiny blurb and a couple photographs. What is ironic is that H-T ran an editorial by Bob Zaltsberg crowing about the paper's emphasis on local issues. If that is the case, Mr. Zaltsberg, where was the Herald-Times last Monday? Why was your newspaper scooped by a student paper that is only published twice a week?

The extremists who vandalized One City Center should be apprehended and punished to the fullest extent of the law. If Bloomington expects to be known as a "Safe and Civil City", then county Prosecutor Chris Gaal should aggressively go after these vandals. Destruction of property, especially the property of someone who has nothing to do with the interstate highway, has no place in local politics. The Herald-Times, meanwhile, should actually cover local news instead of just talking about having a focus on local news.