A.J., a friend of Jason Kitchekeg who died after jumping into the Chicago River to avoid police, creates a mural for his friend on a wall. (William DeShazer/Tribune)
There's some pretty cold remarks over at the Tribune about the tagger who died fleeing the cops by jumping into the Chicago River
He and two friends had allegedly been caught spray painting an abandoned South Side building and, because he was on one-year probation for a prior offense, he might have been sent to prison if caught. Jumping into near-freezing water--as sailors know--can kill you quickly, if not instantly.
Some of the posts say that the young man deserved to die; he had been breaking law. He had been caught several times before. While he supposedly "loved the city," according to a friend, he showed tremendous disrespect for it by binge painting on private property.
Others say that he was some one's son, and that he deserved better. What he was doing was art. The cops should be blamed for his death; they should have been out chasing bangers and dopers. The buildings he was defacing weren't private property because the owners had "abandoned" them.
My favorite response, posted by "Brad," may or may not have been serious, you can never tell these days: If only they had legalized tagging, this would have never happened." It was either wonderful parody of folks who say that if they only would legalize drugs.... If it wasn't sarcasm, then a truly dopey individual is manning the keyboard.
One of the more intelligence ones came from "Lakeview Greg:"
The guy was on probation for damage to property, taking a plea, had had a bunch of stuff before. And on probation, he decides to go tagging. On ANY level, this is not a smart thing to do. My question is, where were his friends to tell him "no?"
As for why CPD was chasing him, someone called in and reported people tagging.
It may be art to some, but it isn't to others. Why force your art on the rest of the public, especially un-solicited art.
By the way, did you think it was proper for the Tribune (and me) to print the above picture of an unidentified tagger spraying a tribune to the Kitchekeg? Was it touching or wrong to give tribute to someone breaking the law by showing someone breaking the law?