False Sense of Security
INDIVIDUAL: A “Skater”
GROUP SIZE: Anything from around 1,000 on up to 10,000,000 +
NATURE OF GROUP: Citizens of towns or cities who fund, through taxation, state, county, or city funded and operated skateboard parks.
INCIDENCE OF SOCIOMETRY: False Sense of Security.
A SKATEBOARD IS:
A means of creative expression.
A piece of athletic equipment.
A mode of transportation.
A potential weapon.
Three is Agents installed two signs reading “Restricted Area No Thoroughfare” (see above) at entrances to the Denver Municipal Skate Park, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A
AN INCIDENCE OF TERRIBLY MISMANAGED SOCIAL CONDITIONING:
A pastime is allowed to develop that, because of its unique combination of qualities, attracts societies most promising youth, hones their creative self expression, keeps them in peak physical condition, allows them complete freedom of movement, and arms them with clubs. Society is, in turn, allowed to continually eject the pastime participants from public and private property, cite them, arrest them, and deride them as noisy, dangerous, and destructive.
Additionally three simulated security cameras were installed. Views from each are pictured. All were removed by the city.
SKATEBOARDING IN THE UNITED STATES ROUGHLY 1985-1995.
Insurance rates skyrocketed. The bottom dropped out. Commercial skate parks died. Vert disappeared. Kids took to streets and alleyways looking for a hip, ledge or backyard pool to emulate the moves of last years pros sessioning now demolished or buried parks and spent the next decade BUSTED. Constant harassment from traditional authority figures such as police, property owners, and business patrons disenfranchised skaters to such a degree that the activity assumed an outlaw aesthetic. “Good kids” soiled their image with skulls, wallet chains, and hair in the eyes. “Delinquents” looking for the next thrill naturally gravitated toward this increasingly anti-social “sport” and its promise of no uniforms, no coach, and “no fuckin’ rules dude.”
In addition to turning societies best and brightest into menaces, it drove them into the arms of societies best and brightest menaces. The tribe of wild miscreants born of this union hit the pavement laughing in the face of authority, gleefully running from cops, wantonly destroying property, fearlessly spitting on security guards, physically fighting adults of all creeds, and filming it all as a challenge to those who would dare to follow
SKATEBOARDING IN THE UNITED STATES ROUGHLY 1995-PRESENT.
Build killer public skate parks in every town. Provide a place that no local brick bank or concrete bench could hold a candle to. Make them free. Limit rules to common sense regulations like those that pertain to jungle gyms and public basketball courts. Make the rails a foot lower for the juvenile delinquents. Lure the older unreformable set with cloverleaf and capsule bowls poured of the smoothest concrete commercially available. Effectively entice a legion of problem cases to hang out in a socially sanctioned, municipally funded, centrally located, and easily monitored environment. Keep them pinned in by their own desires.
Go to the skate park in any U.S. town. Look at the old-school vert dogs. They’re whooping it up, occasionally self-medicating in the privacy of their cars, and complacently settling into routines of adulthood. The wives and Jr. come down to watch on Saturdays. Look at the new-school hip-hop skaters approaching a ledge or bar, content to repeat a sequence over and over. Their cloths are baggy yet clean. Skate brands are substituted with more affluent designer and corporate logos. Shirts are collared. Look at the little kids – the future of skateboarding. Helmets and pads all around. Mom reads a book at the end of the hip-hoppers ledge. Skaters and roller-bladers commingle.
Now, take a second look at both old and new school. Vert-dogs and hip-hoppers. Note the occasional glance toward the Downtown skyline, the frequent blank looks, long periods on the bench. Now look again at the little ones. The kids not yet in a school. They are content with their bike helmets, their alterna-mom, and their roller-blader brother. They know and follow the rules. They might as well be playing touch football! They are and will continue to be followers… Problem Solved.