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Oh, Gosh! There's One for the Hate Speech Blooper Reel

Part of the trouble with stating one's political case via graffiti is that there's only so much wall with which to write. Then one has to use big letters so that the message can be seen at a great distance. Well, you can imagine how it's tempting to resort to symbols in lieu of words.

Unfortunately, the transition to symbols isn't always a smooth one, as we see with today's story under a headline, "Vandals paint anti-Semitic symbols in Fort Lauderdale neighborhood."  Sounds like swastikas on a synagogue, doesn't it? But the paint didn't appear on a temple, and it turns out that the swastikas appeared next to anti-cop phrases like "no police state."

I'll bet that what the graffiti artist meant to convey was an opinion that police act like Nazis. Any seeming hostility toward Jewish people in the community, I'd guess, is unintentional -- perhaps even embarrassing. Another misunderstood artist, like Britney Spears.

If the artist is reading, a few pointers: To clarify your message, don't be afraid to use an"=". Police-equals-swastika is hard to misconstrue. Or abandon the symbols altogether and state your case with candor but without being culturally insensitive. Try this: "The FLPD has a penchant for mistreating criminal suspects, deploying Gestapo tactics in a fashion that recalls Germany under Nazi rule."

Of course, bring extra spraypaint for this job. Due to length, the message may be best-suited to an I-95 overpass.

UPDATE: The Sun-Sentinel just posted an update on its original story and it appears that the word "skinheads" also appeared in the graffiti. Hmmm. I detect a red herring. Don't skinheads usually call themselves something that has "Aryan" in the title? Plus, when the perps give investigators such an obvious clue where to look for suspects, it's misdirection. And since when do skinheads waste their graffiti on trashing cops? I stand by my original conclusion that it's anti-police, not anti-Semitic.

-- Thomas Francis

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Thomas Francis

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