Bleak future drives graffiti artists’ anger

When I listen to local officials describe the dangerous, morally degrading behavior of graffiti, I can’t help but laugh. This is what we’re worried about? Kids painting on abandoned grain elevators?

Graffiti isn’t just pent-up hormonal teenage angst. It’s anger from a lack of economic opportunity. In New York State, you can’t cut hair or even give a massage without a license. We strangle local businesses with costly taxes and regulations, keeping would-be entrepreneurs stuck in minimum-wage jobs. We take away all these chances for young adults to move up in the world and then form task forces to figure out why they’re upset. They’re upset because they look around and see nothing but a bleak future.

Sentencing teenagers to five years’ probation is not going to solve the problem. Giving them back their opportunities will.

Matthew Hayes