Minnesota Singers Accused Of Defacing Pompeys Pillar Outside Of Billings

Pompeys Pillar Vandalism250px-Popi_sig550We 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.

7C17B7EE29B70B15AD94A1C3D8498EA1_160_120Randall 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.

21 thoughts on “Minnesota Singers Accused Of Defacing Pompeys Pillar Outside Of Billings”

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  2. Jail time for a trivial scratch mark that can be filed off in about 20 minutes? Are you kidding? We jail far too many people for far too many things in this Land of Record Numbers of Prisoners.

  3. There is a saying carved on a tree in Yellowstone Park which says:
    “No Tree Goes Unpeed In The Dog Park.”

  4. Yeah, a dog can pee on a tree and do it with poetic justice in a symphonic sort of way but that is it. No carving.

  5. There would not have to have been a fence around it if the perps in 1806 had not defaced the place. What is sauce for the goose is poop for the gander. The Ten Commandments should not have been carved in stone. Nothing should be carved in stone. Or trees.

  6. Cole and Shrestra sittin in a tree..
    K I S S I N G
    First came love, then came marriage
    Then came Cole,


    ack, I got it screwed up. Anyway they want the world to know that that place is known to them as porkin ridge.

  7. What we are not being told in this story is that this is a huge rock with many engravings on it. Clark’s engraving is protected by a lock box, which was not destroyed or messed with.

    I think the new engraving should not be removed. Does the government really have the right to forbid all citizens from doing what Clark and many other citizens did in times past? Freedom of speech, people.

    The government takes away millions of acres of land from private ownership in the name of conservation, and now government prohibits public expression on a monumental rock where many other travellers have left their mark. Something just doesn’t ring right about this.

    See the rock and problem engraving in the following video:

    http://youtu.be/qydX7SB7qAQ

  8. If cluelessness and stupidity were crimes, then 1/2 of America would be in jail. Maybe they should be forced to read something they never have before; an historical landmarks book and then tell what they learned to a 2nd grade class to hopefully pass on that newfound knowledge.

    Then they can do a free concert at the ‘crime scene’ and explain to the goers their remorsefulness for their lack of respect.

    While this isn’t the magnitude of desecrating the Lincoln Monument, if ignored it would only encourage more of the same.

  9. Arrest ’em, make ’em pay to have it erased and give them some community service time.

    from song: “Will we care what people say?” Obviously not, your song is lame, your artistry is lacking and you’re not good with boundaries. Wankers.

  10. I agree that some sort of penalty is in order. While it’s true that people have been leaving graffiti for thousands of years, it doesn’t seem appropriate for people to leave it on pieces of art, memorials or the like, which the tree with William Clarke’s name has become. I agree that a large amount of community service (cleaning trash and graffiti, perhaps) with a suspended sentence would be reasonable, though I’d add a moderate fine as well.

  11. Whenever I’ve traveled to Europe (the only place I’ve been), I tell people I’m Canadian. I began this during the reign of GWB, but still find it useful. I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve gotten about rude Americans. I’m not ashamed of my country, just some of my countrymen/women (and I have stories to back it up). Some might not like my actions, but I don’t like being lumped together with the rudeness I have seen from some U.S. citizens abroad.

  12. I would refer people to Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad for a great laugh and to see that Americans have been doing this for eons. I think that they should clean up their own mess under supervision and maybe an overnight stay in the local jail while they are about it.

  13. The act of carving initials in a tree is as old as mankind. The tree recovers and eventually new bark wipes out the initials. We should be careful about how far we go in ‘correctness’. Life is not all about being correct.

    In this case the culprits should indeed be made to clean up their own mess at their own expense. There should be signs posted with penalties for this kind of graffiti in these places. As for the rest, hey, some of the best art today is on public walls and other places. It lasts a while and then is cleaned off.

    Imagine a world where everyone went around following every conceivable rule and regulation.

  14. I’m in both camps on this…. I can see and understand why…. But at the same time… They exercised poor judgment…

  15. “While the monument can be repaired, I am inclined to treat such senseless acts harshly. What do you think the punishment should be?”
    If a private contractor were hired to clean off their signature, he might take off Clark’s as well. Apparently about 100 years ago the man hired to clean tourist signatures off a rock in New Mexico took off Kit Carson’s.
    Therefore the best thing would be to make C&S file off their signature using nail files.

  16. While some might have viewed that as graffiti in 1806, it is viewed as a national monument today

    Let it go for a few hundred years, then it will be historic too.
    People will wonder why there is such a big gap in the time of the carvings.

  17. Extensive community service. I’m talking a thousand hours cleaning parks, working w/ the elderly, or whatever work will remind them of their damage. It should be w/ a suspended 6 month sentence. If they shirk their work, they serve the time.

  18. Randall and Kieshiaj have not been charged and the police have not officially declared them to be the culprits.” – JT

    Were they framed by a jealous competitor?

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