Thursday, July 9, 2009
A Brooklyn coffee shop, in Ditmas Park suffered the loss of a Statue of Liberty replica recently. The statue was a neighborhood landmark. It had been assumed that it was taken by pranksters. A video on You Tube cast the disappearance of the statue in a sinister and disturbing light. The video shows the statue being decapitated with a saw being wielded by a gloved handed individual. The New York Daily News reports as follows on the troubling incident.
"A replica Statue of Liberty swiped from a Brooklyn coffee shop has turned up in a shocking YouTube video that shows it blindfolded, beheaded and then smashed to pieces.
The slogans "We don't want your freedom" and "Death to America" float across the screen in the chilling clip - reminiscent of real terrorist videos.
The NYPD's computer sleuths are investigating who posted the video. They could call in the FBI if they feel it's more than a sick joke, sources told the Daily News Wednesday."
Debi Ryan, the manager of the Vox Pop Cafe and the Daily News received copies of the video that was posted on You Tube as well as a bizarre e mail that read as follows.
"Liberty is the holy masquerade of the decapitated, so we decapitated it in the struggle for a truly free unity."
The video was done with a stylistic nod towards Al Qaeda beheading videos, although the e mail seemed more like it was done by some anarchist punks with blue hair and facial piercings. Ryan was badly shaken by the video and reported feeling fearful for her personal safety.
To most Americans, the idea of decapitating a Statue of Liberty replica is a sick joke. If the video had been done by the owner of the statue instead of with a statue stolen from someone else, it could be considered free speech. But to take it from someone and to destroy it puts the perpetrators of this sick prank outside the law. It is in the same category as cross burning, which also involves trespassing and dramatic displays intended to intimidate the victim. Hopefully, the perpetrator of this offensive act of vandalism will be tracked down. Having a taste for anarchist performance art does not give anyone the right to trespass and destroy the property of unwilling citizens. Ditmas Park deserves to have a signal sent on its behalf that the property of home and business owners will be safe from vandalism, whatever the motivation. Civil and criminal sanctions are in order
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