Thursday, September 16, 2010

The freak show continues

I've written about Curtis Allgier before. He's an inmate in the Utah State Prison who killed his 60-year-old guard while at a hospital, then escaped. He was later recaptured at a local fast food restaurant. The 6' tough guy, Allgier, was tackled by a retired man, age 59, all of 5'6" tall and 140 pounds, who took his weapon and held him for police.

The latest controversy for Allgier's upcoming trial is whether the judge will allow the defense to have Allgier's tattoos covered by makeup so the sight of them won't inflame the jury. Well. In this day and age many prospective jurors might already be sporting tattoos. I see young women with sleeves of tattoos, and can only wonder what is hidden by their clothing.

Years ago, before the current tattoo rage, but well into the punk rock era, I saw a young man on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley with HATE in large gothic lettering, tattooed on the front of his neck. My immediate reaction was, "Here's a guy who has rendered himself permanently unemployable."

For all of the tattoos I see nowadays, even the hostile tattoos like the young Berkeley punk had, I have never, but never, seen anyone or anything like Allgier outside of a book with illustrations of tribal tattoo customs around the world.

My guess is the judge won't allow him to wear makeup. That Allgier has chosen to make himself instantly repellent with hate messages on his face shouldn't be hidden from anyone. He chose to have the tats, now he can share them with the larger world.

In another story today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled against the city of Hermosa Beach, which has an anti-tattoo parlor ordinance. According to the courts, tattoos are a protected form of expression. Even with concerns about dirty tattoo needles, the judges said the city can't issue a blanket ban on tattoo businesses. After all, whether it's on paper or skin, the First Amendment applies to all freedom of speech. So in his own way the California judge has held up a precedent for the Utah judge. Curtis Allgier's face is a form of his disdain of the larger society. By wearing messages like "skin head" and pictures of swastikas on his face he's let us know he's an intolerant, violent person. It doesn't help him that he's already proved that by killing a guard. So I say, have Curtis Allgier sit in front of a jury with all of his messages available to them for observation. And then throw him someplace dark so the rest of us don't have to look at this freak any more.

Here's a thought of what the courts could do with Allgier based on a picture I found in my files. I have forgotten where I got it, but it was from a medical site. It's not the invisible man, but is of a man who is allergic to sunshine dressed up to leave the house.


DEMiller said...

Tattoos are the worst form of graffiti.

El Postino said...

At least you can paint over graffiti.