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February 10th, 2005
04:05 am
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Random thought
I was pondering this morning ...

Out of all the ways that humanity has found to deface its civilization, out of all the random property damage that's been caused turning urban areas into war zones, amid all the broken windows and graffiti-streaked bridges and sticker-adorned stop signs and torn-down road markers ... I can't recall ever having seen a shot-out or torn-down traffic light.

It can't be that this has never occurred to anyone. Can it? Are we so thoroughly embedded in the car culture, so dependent on our vehicles, that a vandal would no more think of shooting out a traffic light or painting over the center stripe than they would of sabotaging their own front porch steps? Or are we so embedded in our car culture that a malfunctioning stoplight is seen by the Powers That Be as a critical repair, and thus they're fixed so quickly (barring something like a riot) that the illusion of permanence is maintained?

Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Chemical Brothers, "Alive Alone"

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:February 10th, 2005 02:35 pm (UTC)
I think its the fact that traffic signals serve a useful function ALL the time. They are never off.
Having said that, I've certaily seen vandalised signals, usually an aspect hanging like an eyeball by its wires, or with the bulb sitting in it's little holder all alone...That's because it's easy to take them out (pull 2 pins like knitting needles..hey I used to work for a signalling company) and so drunks and intellectually challenged teens don't have much difficulty doing that (hur hur hur). Another wizard jape at traffic junctions is to swivel the signal so that it almost points down the opposing road! Might get a crash! whoo won't dat be fun hur hur hur.
What's needed is more inspections and more police on the streets.
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Date:February 10th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
good thoughts. I think that they are difficult to vandalize and not be seen, because traffic lights are put in high-traffic areas...places that you can be nice and stealthy in your vandalism tend to have stop signs. Most vandals would think twice about firing a gun off in an intersecion, I think. Plus I'm pretty sure that TPTB fix broken lights pretty quick.
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Date:February 10th, 2005 04:46 pm (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree. But, were car culture to break down, I think that traffic lights wouldn't last too long either.
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Date:February 10th, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC)
I've seen a stop light with a bullet hole in it before.
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Date:February 11th, 2005 02:00 am (UTC)
The latter, I'm sure. They don't make great vandalism targets, because they're generally not terribly accessible or visible, and if they're damaged to the point where they don't work properly, they get fixed up right quick.

I have seen occasional "fun with roads" before, but it seems to be pretty extreme reality-hacking happy-mutant fun; it's never caught on with the general public. When I was living in Humboldt, in McKinleyville specifically, a happy mutant (or small clutch of same) amused themselves with several sillouettes of people, dogs, sheep, and other assorted animals and flourescent spray paint, making paint "outlines" of various imaginary traffic victims on random backwater roads. And up here, there's the occasional "STOP FOR ME, IT'S THE CLAW" and "CAUTION: MICE" alteration to street signs.
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