Thanks to Arnold for moving this over to a more apt-named thread.
I like Scott’s analogy of doing the same wear & tear in somebody’s yard instead of on “public” property. Though it’s not a perfect analogy, it helps one focus on what others may think of the damage.
Sofa is way out of line saying Australia does not support the war in Iraq. They sent people over. That’s the ultimate committment. Imagine being one of them. Certainly their country supports them. Our country just supports it more. France doesn’t support the war.
However I do agree with calling looters “savages.” They are taking advantage of a situation, using mob psychology to be super-vandals. But this is not an Iraqui thing, and would likely happen in any country. It has certainly happened enough in ours. Note I refer to looters, not law-abiding citizens.
In the United States, at least, the concepts in our constitution hopefully teach us that people are people, wherever they are from. They are not evil because of where they live, and certainly not because of whatever their religion is.
Side note about grafitti. I have a special despise for grafitti and the people who do it. First of all, let’s clear up any fuzziness people may have: ALL GRAFITTI IS 1000% VANDALISM! If a city, or other organization, is paying an artist to do a grafitti-like work, then it’s no longer grafitti. I really hate grafitti. It uglifies the neighborhood. It lowers property values and peoples’ perceptions about the area. All grafitti artists would be well served by having a can of spray paint emptied into their faces, eyes, noses, and mouths.
Back to riding/grinding. So where do you draw the line? I was trying to think about that. If you want to be safe in what you do, assume 1000 other people will do it in the same spot. If that won’t turn the spot black, or chip it away, you’re fine.
But maybe that’s not realistic. Maybe you know there are only two of you in town, and the thousand are never likely to happen. Then what? I still say don’t leave a mark. If you don’t, what can anyone say (except for the obvious liability concerns)? You should be able to be clear of conscience.
Certain things are obvious. Grinding and pedal grabs cause the most wear and tear. For the most part, they simply should not be done in places that get a lot of public traffic, and are desingned to look nice, like centers-of-towns. Those are simply destructive moves, fun or not.
It doesn’t matter how innocent you feel. You live in a society, not an anarchy. Without the society, you would not have all those public props to ride on. You are no more important a member of your society than the old lady sitting on the bench, or the passers-by admiring the scenery. Everyone together makes up “the people,” and all us unicyclists and all the skateboarders are hopelessly outnumbered by the majority, who think the edges of the benches and curbs should look the way they were made to look.
Tire marks are another thing. They wash off. Like grass grows back. In other words, they are not as destructive, but in quantity, they can be (almost) as bad as graffiti.
A bit about grass. Checkernuts is right, I have taken shortcuts across the grass. Sometimes this is perfectly fine, other times it’s obviously wrong, and a lot of the time it’s somewhere in between. In high-traffic areas, sometimes I will deliberately walk across the grass if the designers of the sidewalks made an obvious mistake in not considering where people need to walk. Usually the people before me have already worn the path.
In a place like Washington DC’s Capitol Mall, much of the grass is obviously intended for decoration, highly manicured and maintained, and not intended for walking. So I don’t.
In a place like New York’s Central Park, the vast majority of the grass is for “public use.” I walk or ride all over it. It’s there for us.
Grass is interesting, in that it can take a certain amount of traffic, but not too much. It’s easy to maintain and grows pretty fast. In heavily trafficked areas, grass should be combined with bushes or other plants to control where people walk. Put sidewalk or stepping stones where people always walk, etc.
Sometimes I do walk around, when I’d rather cut across. But other times I admit I don’t. I am not a paragon of virtue, and have mentioned my long ago encounter with the marble steps. I’m just trying to describe the way we all should behave.
The soapbox is now open for the next customer…