Tag Archives: street gangs in America

Graffiti Nation – Part 1/2

Graffiti is a blight on America and may be found in Europe and other nations too. Driving down urban freeways and highways in the US, drivers often see graffiti on billboards and freeway signs.

The cost to paint out graffiti at the high school where I taught until 2005 was about $10,000 a year. I often arrived soon after the gates were unlocked about 6:00 AM.  My first class was usually 8:00.

The national cost is much higher than that ten grand one school district spent to keep one of its campuses graffiti free.

As one example demonstrates, the city of Los Angeles spent $3.7 million dollars to paint over, “Just one of the MTA’s tags — its initials painted 57 feet high and a quarter-mile-long on the Los Angeles River concrete embankment.… The maneuver underscores authorities’ exasperation with a subculture that prizes prolific defacement of public property, including buses, street signs and freeway overpasses, and costs taxpayers millions to remove.” Source:

At Nogales High School in La Puente, California where I taught for sixteen of the thirty years I was a public school teacher in the US, after the daytime-custodians arrived to set up the campus before students arrived (putting out trash cans and inspecting the buildings for damage), one custodian climbed into an electric-powered flat-bed cart and spent an hour or so driving along the covered walkways around campus with paint the color of the school sitting on the flat bed ready for use.  Every morning, he would discover gang signs and graffiti on the lockers, doors and walls and cover them with fresh paint.

Metro Tagger Assassins (MTA)

After our daughter started high school, we joined her each morning on the one-mile walk to school and part of the walk was behind a super market, which was often covered with tagging.

Tagging is different from gang signs. Tagging is the signature of a graffiti artist or a crew of taggers attempting to become immortal and/or infamous by marking up as many buildings and walls as possible.

Some of this tagging is creative and artistic in nature but most is an eyesore.

A few of these misguided youths have fallen from freeway overpasses where they cling to chain link fences like cockroaches climbing a wall.  These urban cockroaches hang above the traffic spraying their unique tag and some fall to be hit by traffic sometimes killing drivers and passengers in cars and trucks.

Continued on April 12, 2011 in Graffiti Nation – Part 2 or discover A Ten Year Old Named Oscar


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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