We previously discussed horrific cases of tourists defacing or destroying priceless works of art. The latest outrage occurred at the Pompeys Pillar outside of Billings where Captain William Clark carved his signature on July 25, 1806. While some might have viewed that as graffiti in 1806, it is viewed as a national monument today and people were a bit put out to find that two people jumped over a fence, ignored signs, and carved Cole + Shpresa 10/10/2013 and a heart symbol on the monument. The suspected couple has been identified in some media reports as Cole Randall and Shpresa Lieshiaj, singers out of Minnesota.
After splitting off from Meriwether Lewis, Clark made the inscription on his return trip to St. Louis.
Rangers say that a silent alarm went off and that they questioned the couple at the historic site weeks ago.
The case brings back memories of Ding Jinhao, 15, who had to add his name to the Luxor temple in Egypt. Of course, he was 15 years old. It is beyond me how people feel the necessity to deface objects to achieve some type of immortality or satisfaction. As a devout hiker, I am always saddened to make it to the top of a mountain or ridge to find people have craved their initials into rocks or trees. Even as a kid, I thought it was wrong to carve initials into trees. Even if you like that type of thing, few of us would hop a fence and deface a national monument.
Randall and Kieshiaj have not been charged and the police have not officially declared them to be the culprits. The two are a singing duo that perform as “Flora Cash.” Their website discussed touring the “heartland” from July 20 through October 17. They actually have good voices, but appear to have dreadful judgment. While the monument can be repaired, I am inclined to treat such senseless acts harshly. What do you think the punishment should be? Is some jail time warranted?
Here is the couple signing “Sour Grapes” about “places we don’t need to go:” The Pompeys Pillar National Monument presumably will now be on that list.