Tongass Blvd. home vandalized with racial slur

Neighbors don't think message was directed at a particular resident

Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vandals recently spray painted a racial slur on to a homeowner's fence facing Tongass Boulevard.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The message, "Dangerous N------!" appeared in gray paint on a 6-foot-tall red cedar fence.

It was painted over a previous message in red paint that's about a year old, homeowner William Thornton said, that seemed to have an anti-police bent after a nearby stop sign went up.

Thornton had tried with limited results to scrape off the old message. The latest scrawl stretches some 15 feet across and is "just as stupid but 10 times more noticeable," Thornton said. He learned of its existence Tuesday evening.

"Oh for crying out loud, I didn't need this," he said shortly after discovering it. "It's going to end up a ton of work if you're going to make the fence look half-decent."

Thornton said he installed the fence, which wraps three sides of his lot, himself a few years ago at a cost of about $2,000. He thinks the vandalism has the air of juvenile delinquency.

"It's idiocy. I don't need this. I don't know what their purpose is. Is it some political - no, it's just graffiti. I bet being a pain in the ass is the whole thrust of the message, as much as anything else. (They) could've painted anything else there."

Across-the-street neighbor Brian Van Kirk said he noticed the message Monday morning and thinks it went up Sunday night. Van Kirk also thought the choice of slur seemed arbitrary; the Thorntons aren't black, nor are they aware of any black families in the immediate neighborhood.

"To have a racial slur like that on the fence like that, yes, it's offending, but I don't think it's directed at a person or a family," Van Kirk said.

Van Kirk thinks some youths "looking for attention in the wrong ways" are responsible.

Besides the two spray painted messages on the fence, in recent months the Thornton home has also been paintballed and some signs around the neighborhood have been vandalized.

A dispatcher with the Juneau Police Department said there have been recent reports of vandalism from the area, though department officials could not be reached to elaborate.

Thornton said he had not yet decided if he would formally report the latest incident to police.

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