Last week, I called the police after being exposed to the huge posters featuring murder and dismemberment on Kinoole Street in Hilo. The images have been placed there in large format and are surrounded by hate speech against Islam, the president of the United States, and more.
The hate speech is one thing and should be addressed on the basis of the destruction and harm it could potentially cause. The images, however, are traumatizing; they are, in fact, a disturbance of the peace and a threat to public health and safety.
Consider children, the mentally ill, veterans and anyone who has experienced trauma in his or her lifetime could be particularly vulnerable to negative effects from exposure to such images.
Consider, too, the horrifying distraction to drivers on Kinoole Street.
Unfortunately, my response to the images — or anyone else’s response to them — does not matter, as the man who posted them is, apparently, not violating any “county codes.” If I were to try and remove the images in order to protect myself or my family, I would likely be arrested for violating a whole bunch of codes and laws.
The policeman who contacted me claimed he would not have a problem exposing his children to such images, and no county codes were being violated.
The officer said, “This is what war is like,” and expressed children should see it and have it explained to them.
Wait a second — are we at war here in Hawaii? Do we want our children exposed to images of homicide, rape and vicious violence that are aspects of active war? Are we fighting violence done by radicalized terrorists here on our soil?
The officer said the man who posted the images is a “peaceful man.” That is a direct quote. “He is a vet, and he is a peaceful man,” said the officer.
The officer then asked me if I went to talk with the man — the “peaceful” one who posted hateful speech and images of murder, decapitation, disfiguration and the lowest human horrors on my streets, the ones I have to drive on to earn a living, interact with the community, protect my family and just live day by day? Um … no, officer, I haven’t.
Come on, Hilo. Rise up against this public violence.