GRAFFITI HORROR THROWS ARCATA INTO CRISIS – April 1, 2012
Eye Staff Report
ARCATA, APRIL 1 – Defacement of a metal post near Arcata High School has plunged the City into a town-wide frenzy of introspection. All regular City meetings have been cancelled and Mayor Michael Winkler has declared a State of Emergency.
The defacement, consisting of a penciled graffitum reading, “Corey bites,” showed up last Thursday morning on a fencepost near the walkway leading to K Street from Arcata High School. When the defacement was created and how long it had been there is unknown.
The mark was discovered by a student, who tearfully ran to the school’s front office and reported the vandalism, then collapsed in a heap. The school was immediately placed on lockdown and counselors called in to help students and staff alike manage the emotional stress of the violation.
Police were called in, and taped off the scene for evidence collection. On inspection of the defacement, Police Chief Tom Chapman declared that the incident was well beyond APD’s investigative and forensic capabilities. “We’re a small department, and something like this threatens to consume all our resources,” he said.
At that, Department of Justice investigators and FBI evidence technicians were flown in from Washington, D.C.
At the same time, AHS Principal Dave Navarre joined Mayor Michael Winkler and Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace in a joint press conference, pleading for calm as the matter is investigated.
All local law enforcement agencies were mobilized, with officers going door to door throughout town confiscating residents’ pencils. These were taken to the Community Center, in which multiple spectrographic scanners were set up. Samples of graphite taken from the graffiti site will be compared to the lead in the pencils collected from citizens in hopes of finding a match in the spectrographic signature.
That night, thousands swarmed the Plaza, where a spontaneous candlelight vigil was held. A succession of impromptu speakers addressed the crowd, sharing thoughts to help the disoriented populace make sense of the unexpected horror.
“This tragedy is a scathing indictment of No Child Left Behind,” declared Rick Snilb of Veterans For Peace. “The Bush Administration’s corporate agenda has left us with a society in turmoil.”
Other speakers had a different interpretation. “The combined effects of fluoride, SmartMeters and Wi-Fi radiation plus the looming threat of Obamacare have demoralized our youth,” said Humboldt Tea Party Patriots member Sheila DeGlurze, wearing a tri-corner hat and waving a 48-star U.S. flag. “It’s time to take back our country!”
To address the graffiti crisis, DeGlurze called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and construction of a 400 foot-tall wall of enriched plutonium along the U.S.-Mexican border. “No one will dare draw on it!” DeGlurze declared.
“While we all have a lot to think about, we must remain mindful of the central question: does Corey in fact, bite?” asked Evan Glompton of Humboldt Mediation Services. “Perhaps the graffitist is, in fact, a whistleblower, if not the canary in our coal mine!”
The matter gained national prominence when President Obama called for “restoration of small-town values.” The remark was immediately criticized by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as “fundamentally elitist,” while candidate Rick Santorum condemned “the anything-goes mindset that the Left Coast has suffered from since Earth’s creation 6,000 years ago.” GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney declined comment, saying only, “Whoa, that’s rich. Ha, ha, ha.” His press office later clarified the statement, saying that Romney had intended to say “Whoa, that’s poor. Ha, ha, ha.”