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 Post subject: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:41 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:17 am
Posts: 64
Location: Rocky Hill, NJ
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1791095727808677&set=pcb.1791095787808671&type=3&theater

This showed up on our Facebook (NJOL's) news feed Saturday as a link from the President of the United Railroads Historical Society. I’m ticked. No, I’m angry. Over the years, I’ve learned not to take some things personally but this is an exception. Somebody apparently mistook two privately owned railcars which are used for the New Jersey Toys for Tots Train for his easel and started painting on them. Broke some windows and did a bit of other damage along the way. There is little in the way of civilized language which is suitable to express my disgust.

New Jersey Operation Lifesaver members have been involved in OPERATION TOY TRAIN for several years now. We don't just hand out OL material at the stops but lend a hand with loading and whatever else needs to be done. I know the people who put in the time and effort to make the program happen and how hard they have worked. The damage done here is not just the cost of the paint and the labor involved to remove the graffiti but the direct emotional insult to all of the volunteers from the URHS, the Volunteer Railroaders Association, and the Military Transport Association who organize the train each year along with all of the community groups and individuals who contribute to operation along the route and above all donate the toys. It demeans their efforts and the efforts of the railroaders from the six different host railroads that the train operates over through North Jersey and Orange County.

Except for the United States Marines, most of the organizations involved in the effort are not-for-profits and the people involved are giving their time pro bono. The railroads, trucking companies and bus operators which support the train donate their services. The entire operation relies on donations of time, effort and money. The cars were refurbished by volunteers over several years. My back-of-the-envelope estimate is that the immediate and downstream costs of undoing this vandalism may equal at least 10 to 15 percent of the annual toy collection.


There were a total of ten pieces of equipment vandalized, eight in addition to these two. This is where I should rail against trespassing on Railroad property but I'll save that for another time. While I am not here to solicit donations I am sure that the UHRS will welcome any help they may be offered to cleanup the mess. I do have two requests: 1. If you are in North Jersey and think you may know who did this, make the phone call. It wasn’t an innocent prank. It was real damage; and, 2. Please remember that often the people doing the work at a charity are giving their time too, they are not being compensated and saying ‘Thank you’ can go a long way.


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8691
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
The proper thing to do in this case is not just rant on Facebook, but run to the news media.

As much a stretch as "Graffiti Artists Deface Santa's Train" may be in the grand scheme of things, that's precisely the angle that will get this splattered all over the news media--possibly nationally, if it's exploited properly.

Too often we just grit our teeth and paint over the graffiti. It's time to go to war against them in the same media that is far too often coyly sympathetic to the so-called "artistes."


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:16 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:29 pm
Posts: 88
Location: San Francisco, CA.
Hi

The sooner that you can start to remove the graffiti, the better. There are good cleaning products on the market. Lots of elbow grease, buffers.... Yes, lots of work involved, but so is repainting the equipment.

Been there. Best of luck.

Karl J.


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2218
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
"Graffiti VANDALS". Let's use the proper terminology, please. And messing with Santa? Ought to get plenty of sympathetic coverage for that.

Howard P.
Not An Artiste, NY

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"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8691
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Howard P. wrote:
"Graffiti VANDALS". Let's use the proper terminology, please.

Yeah, but this IS the "news media" we're talking about here--the same "media" that flatters so many of these vandals with sympathetic coverage of their "art."


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5255
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Howard P. wrote:
"Graffiti VANDALS". Let's use the proper terminology, please.

Yeah, but this IS the "news media" we're talking about here--the same "media" that flatters so many of these vandals with sympathetic coverage of their "art."


Rather than the word VANDALS, I prefer CRIMINALS. This is a criminal act and should be treated as such. Graffiti Criminal's is what should be used in my opinion. Hope that the perpetrators are caught, and convicted.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:07 pm
Posts: 202
It's true that the Media might publish the story as "Graffiti Artists,,,," They are almost sure to do so if the Press Release presents the story to them that way. On the other hand, if the Press Release calls them (correctly) vandals or criminals from the outset, then maybe the Media will follow suit. If they persist in calling the criminals Artists, then a followup letter to the editor can't hurt. In any case, the media will report the story as they see fit.

Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:17 am
Posts: 64
Location: Rocky Hill, NJ
"Criminal" is appropriate.
Quote:
2C:33-14. a. Interference with Transportation. A person is guilty of interference with transportation if the person purposely or knowingly:
...
(4)unlawfully climbs into or upon any light rail vehicle, railroad locomotive or railroad car, either in motion or standing on the track of any railroad company in this State;
...
d.Interference with transportation is a crime of the third degree if the person purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes significant bodily injury to another person or causes pecuniary loss of $2,000 or more, or if the person purposely or knowingly creates a risk of significant bodily injury to another person.
The graffiti on the window of the express car establishes the climbing 'into or upon'. This is separate from the doing the graffiti, however the clean up cost from the graffiti and repairing the other damage damage establishes the pecuniary loss making the entry a third degree crime.


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2221
Location: Northern Illinois
Michael E. Allen wrote:
Except for the United States Marines, most of the organizations involved in the effort are not-for-profits and the people involved are giving their time pro bono. The railroads, trucking companies and bus operators which support the train donate their services. The entire operation relies on donations of time, effort and money. The cars were refurbished by volunteers over several years. My back-of-the-envelope estimate is that the immediate and downstream costs of undoing this vandalism may equal at least 10 to 15 percent of the annual toy collection.


The Marines are involved? That brings to mind some potential for publicity to both showcase the train and combat the vandalism... next year. Simply ask the Marines if there is a Marine Reserve unit that could provide a guard detail while the train is in town. That should get some press, and provide a platform to speak out against graffiti as the mindless vandalism it is.

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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:17 am
Posts: 64
Location: Rocky Hill, NJ
Dennis Storzek wrote:
The Marines are involved? ...

While there is quite a bit of community support, such as Operation Toy Train, Toys for Tots is traditionally a Marine Reserve operation.


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:34 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 497
On a related note, how close are we to having effective anti-graffiti paint for freight cars? You wouldn't want to use it on historic equipment like the URHS cars, but if the vandals figured out that their paint doesn't stick to railroad equipment they might give up on it. I go by a siding on the UP former SP Cascade route near Albany OR on I-5 a lot, the cars that rotate in and out of there, including some reefer cars for some reason, are almost always tagged with that ugly gang related crap, because the freeway gives them a captive audience. From what I can tell UP can't stop it. If only that could be addressed relatively inexpensively the vandals might give up tagging railroad equipment.


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:46 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8691
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
http://www.dailyrecord.com/story/news/l ... /96683430/


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:12 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:25 pm
Posts: 237
(Simply ask the Marines if there is a Marine Reserve unit that could provide a guard detail while the train is in town.)

Probably not. Reservists have lives and jobs outside of their Reserve time, plus their time would have to be compensated by the USMCR, and that might not be in their budget. Also, there's the question of arming the guards, with what they would be armed (night sticks, pepper spray, pistols, etc., assuming those are available), under what conditions guards could use those weapons, what (if any) powers of arrest they would have concerning civilians, what sort of interface they would have with civilian police agencies, etc. The situation is more complicated than it initially appears.


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:45 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:59 pm
Posts: 538
I'm not a lawyer, but the local Marines could almost certainly not act on their own volition.

The Posse Comitatus Act is relevant here.


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 Post subject: Re: Vandalism at Boonton, Now You're Messing With Santa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2221
Location: Northern Illinois
Seems to me reserve units do all sorts of things as part of their training exercises. I know the local Army Reserve engineering battalion has been out to IRM several times over the years, and I recall a unit in Maine built a bridge for the WW&F group.

This isn't law enforcement, and the unit wouldn't have to be armed. It could be a ceremonial honor guard. Do you seriously thing the taggers are going to walk past six husky marines and start spray painting the Santa train?

Anyway, from time to time the military does provide guard details at public functions. I remember at the EAA fly-in at Oshkosh some years ago, when they flew in the then new B1-b bomber. The AP's set up a perimeter behind a line of little signs that read: "The base commander has authorized the use of deadly force..." Has a nice ring to it.

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