Detroit Free Press Copy Editor/Blogger Vandalizes New Bridge

May 9th, 2010 9:33 AM
DetroitBridgeVandalizedHeadline0505This item will not be filed under "Mother's Day Role-Modeling Behavior."

In this story, it's hard to figure out what's more outrageous: The willful defacement of property -- in this case, a brand-new $5 million pedestrian bridge by an alleged adult in her mid-40s who is the mother of a teenaged son -- or the near non-reaction to wanton vandalism perpetrated in broad daylight by her and others on what is supposed to be a source of pride in Detroit.

That's even before getting to the news that one of the vandals, Oneita Jackson, is a copy editor at the Detroit Free Press who has her own Freep blog called "O Street."

On March 21, Ms. Jackson, from her establishment media perch, admonished readers to "Agree or Disagree, Just Be Civil." You can't make this stuff up.

Here's part of the story at the Detroit News (bolds are mine; HT the BlogProf via Instapundit; video is at the link; the bridge opened on Wednesday, May 5):

Vandals mar new pedestrian bridge in Detroit
$5M pedestrian link in Mexicantown open for less than one day

Less than a day after it opened, the Mexicantown Bagley Avenue Pedestrian Bridge was vandalized, Michigan Department of Transportation officials said.

... In fact, an MDOT employee's video camera caught one woman as she used a colored pen to scrawl on a bench in the middle of the 400-foot-long bridge.

"Yes, it was me," said Oneita Jackson, a copy editor at the Detroit Free Press and author of Sunday's "O Street" blog.

"I did it. If you see a person with a green pen ... dressed in black slacks and a red top, that's me. I was excited about the event and wanted to put my name on it."

Jackson eventually put away the marker and said "Oh, I guess I shouldn't be doing this," the tape showed. As a blogger, she has written about her efforts as a mom to raise her 16-year-old son and encourage citizens to be more patient and civil.

... A bridge engineer also caught three young women in the act of vandalism early Thursday afternoon, said MDOT chief engineer Victor Judnic.

"They were carving up the wooden bench," Judnic said.

Judnic said MDOT had no intention to take legal action against the vandals.

"We don't do that," Judnic said.

Well sir, as long as you "don't do that," don't be surprised if the vandalism continues.

Civilization circles the drain, and those who could and should be defending it just stand by.

As to Ms. Jackson, on this Mother's Day I would suggest that she refer back to a quote in her March 6 blog post ("Hey Detroit, Pay Attention to Newark"), wherein a high school principal reacts to the shooting of a student there:

"What kind of sickness have you learned? This is not normal. I want you to know it's not normal."

In case you missed it, and you must have, ma'am, it's also not "normal" for a mid-40s adult in a responsible position in the community to want to "put my name" on someone else's property and deface it.

Ms. Jackson should be fearing for her job. After her Saturday morning apology, which seems mostly sincere, my guess is that she's not. Her observation that her handiwork is gone ("Wednesday’s rain probably washed it away") will probably save her.

Instapundit makes a media-related point: "If she were a Tea Partier, it would be a sign of incipient fascism or something." And her employer might have relieved her of her duties by now.

I'd better stop right here. Heaven forbid that I write something Ms. Jackson might characterize as "uncivil."

Cross-posted at