Graffiti deterrence: SABE KST

Vice has a cool interview with SABE KST. about is perspective on the evolution of bombing.  I like the graphic stories from old graffiti writers.  SABE has an epic story about graffiti beef going bad:

Aside from commodification, how has the game changed since?

A lot of the writers I grew up with gave it up for different reasons. Either they can’t get up in the middle of the night to go bombing, or they have a boss and a wife, or can’t afford to get locked up. I think it’s a privilege that I’m able to keep writing, so I exercise that liberty whenever I can. Probably the most notable change is the drastic drop in violence. Looking back, I was involved in some pretty serious beefs back then.

How serious?

A friend of mine cut this other kid’s ear off with hatchet over some graffiti nonsense. I was 17 at the time and we lived together in a two-story house in the Bronx. He was one of those kids who didn’t really think about the consequences of his actions and didn’t make a big deal about it. But, I knew for a fact that this kid would come around eventually, so I went out and came back with an M16 assault rifle.

How’d you manage that?

A mutual friend put me in touch with a guy who I guess you can call a good Samaritan. He let me borrow the rifle which he apparently stole from a military base. The guy literally had an empty apartment full of guns and grenades. This was in 1995.

This doesn’t seem so far-fetched. This kid ever come looking for closure?

Yeah, sure enough. And the kid came with his crew. I went outside to talk to them since my friend wanted a fair fight with the kid, but they kept insisting on jumping him. So he grabbed the rifle and lit up the whole block from the top of our stoop. It was like a movie. Everybody started hitting the corner and I ran down the block until I felt this cold heat.

So you caught a stray?

Yeah… Once everyone scattered and I saw the blood, I knew I was shot. And once my friend realized he just ran—he threw the gun in the backyard and took off. When the police discovered the weapon, his prints were all over it and he ended up doing two years. Like I said, he never really thought anything through. Luckily the bullet missed my heart and got lodged in my solar plexus.

via Conceptual Vandalism with Sabe Kst | VICE United States.

A few thoughts:

– this is the quintessential moral panic about graffiti, including the friend who just doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions.  “cut a kid’s ear off with a hatchet . . .”  whoa.

– It is exactly the kind of tantalizing story told in graffiti magazines and books.

– I wonder why the public service announcements in our health education are focused so heavily on the negative consequences of the actions they are trying to prevent, when that seems to be the kind of war story used the most often for authenticity within the subculture?

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Filed under forbidden fruit, graffiti, prisons, representation

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