As many on this blog know, I am a lifelong hiker and backpacker. I often do dawn hikes on the Billy Goat trail along the Potomac, one of the most cherished and beautiful areas in the Washington metropolitan area. This morning, I decided to celebrate my birthday with one of my dawn hikes and it was glorious. I had the trail to myself as the sun was coming up over the Potomac. It was a perfect hike until I made it to the end of the trail (one the Angler’s end) where the beautiful rock face is now defaced with anti-police graffiti.
We have previously discussed graffiti in natural areas from carving up trees to spray painting rocks (here and here and here and here and here and here and here)
People ruin these natural areas to achieve a type of infamous notoriety. Despite being one of the most beloved and used trails in this area, there has been virtually no graffiti for decades. I suppose it was too much to expect that our age of rage would not reach such pristine areas. Someone hiked down the trial with a spray can to deface nature to convey their hatred for the police. Among the graffiti was the common phrase used in violent protests in cities from Portland to Seattle to Washington: “F**K 12.”
There is a debate as to the origin of the common anti-police phrase but some believe was popularized in Atlanta, Georgia as an anti-police slogan and refers to police radio code “10-12” and the 1968 TV show Adam-12.
I have notified the Park Service at its website on graffiti.
As someone who has hiked the trial for decades, the appearance of the graffiti was crushing. I often thought that nature remains common ground for people from every political and cultural group. Whatever anger we experience in our lives, nature offers us a release as a place of contemplation and inspiration. The belief was reinforced by how the trail remained free of graffiti and largely free of any trash. It was reassuring that we all seemed to be joined by our common connection to nature.
For those who still value natural beauty and its transformative elements, here are a few pictures from my dawn hike:
36 thoughts on “Protesters Deface Billy Goat Trail With Anti-Police Graffiti”
Nature enclave of esthetic psychic regeneration rejuvenation enclave invaded by woke message maker on an un-gneiss canvas.
Jonathan: As a modern day David Thoreau you are outraged that someone would spray paint graffiti on a rock along the Billy Goat Trail. You call this a “crushing” discovery. You attribute the graffiti to someone seeking “infamous notoriety” who has an “anti-police” agenda originating during the “violent protests” in Portland, Seattle and elsewhere. Since you are not an expert on interpreting graffiti I think you are jumping to conclusions. Perhaps a forensic expert in interpreting graffiti could offer a more nuanced analysis. That said, I agree that defacing the rock along an otherwise pristine nature trail should be deplored. But I would be more sympathetic had you shown similar outrage over other acts of violence against Jews and in Jewish cemeteries around the country that increased dramatically during the Trump era. We all recall the horrific incident in October 2018 when 11 Jewish worshippers were brutally murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Then in November of 2020 a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in Grand Rapids. Six headstones were spray-painted with “Trump” and “MAGA”. No hidden meaning in this graffiti! This pro-Trump graffiti was discovered the same day Trump visited Grand Rapids during his final 2020 campaign rally. The previous year a Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts was similarly vandalized. Fifty-nine grave stones were either toppled or covered with anti-Semitic graffiti like “Expel the Jews” or “Heil Hitler”. Again no ambiguity there. At the time a number of public figures spoke out against this anti-Jewish vandalism. Don’t recall you speaking out. So when you are outraged by graffiti on a rock along the Billy Goat Trail but don’t show similar outrage at the deadly acts of violence and vandalism in Jewish cemeteries I respond: When are you going to show any semblance of proportionality?
Here you go again.
Trump was the greatest president and friend to Jews, Israel, and he has jew grandchildren and a daughter who converted, etc. Ever consider it was Trump haters who painted the pro-Trump graffiti and perpetrated violence against jews?
You’ve seen reports of the horrid attacks on Asians, yes? Do you hear the media report WHO is committing the violent attacks on Asians?
It’s Black on Asian crime. Black on Asian assaults.
Did you know the Professsor shares a birthday with George Clooney who also turned 60?
Prince Harry’s son, Archie also shares a birthday with the great Professor Turley.
Just wish the Professor a Happy Birthday and relax Dennis.
Thanks for sharing Professor , your photos as well as your perspectives on issues of the day. A voice of reason so well appreciated and steady in a tine of chaos. Big fan.
Mt. Rushmore is Free Speech writ large.
As long as the media and the public deify street thug felons, this is what we can expect.
Sorry it put a damper on your Birthday.
P.S. Happy 60th!
Happy Birthday!, professor Jonathan Turley. Your words and pictures may very well be the most persuasive and beautiful you have ever written on your blog.
Happy Birthday!, and many, many, many, many, many … more!
Ugly though it is, looks like Free Speech to me…
No. That is not a fair use of public space. They can graffiti the rocks in their own front yard.
So it doesn’t look like criminal vandalism and destruction of property?
I think you owe every sentient being a profuse and sincere apology.
Why do people who profess to be stewards of the environment turn out to be totally opposite? Even if they do hate the police, there are better ways to show that opinion other than to deface nature.
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