Friday, October 22, 2010

OPINION: What kind of Halloween decorations are these?

Opinion: What kind of Halloween decorations are these?

I’m not sure of the statement that is being made here, but I find it offensive to have this display on a very busy street in Redmond. Education Hill is home to several churches and schools with hundreds of children traveling by this address every day.

In speaking to some of my friends and neighbors, they find the display offensive and a bit scary. My friend’s daughter began crying when she saw the dolls hanging from the crosses.

The house has been reported to the Redmond Mayor’s office who reports that they have forwarded complaints to the Code Enforcement Officer. It may not be against the City code, but it ought to warrant a visit from local law enforcement to ask them to remove the dolls from the display.
One friend suggested that a knock on the door might be more appropriate than the publicity from the council, law enforcement and media agencies. I’m not sure I’d feel safe as a citizen making that request of a person who finds hanging baby dolls from crosses as an appropriate Halloween theme.
There are 21 crosses in this photo; 12 of them that have a baby doll figures attached to them.

Watch last night's KOMO 4 11pm News Report here
Opinion by Paige Norman
Photo Credit: Katie J. Redmond, Washington

Rebuttal by Brian Hansford, "Freedom of Speech and the "cross & doll" Holiday display"


Janet S said...

I'm all for freedom of speech, but I'm glad these decorations were reported. Some people get too carried away with Halloween and simply don't think about the consequences of their actions.

Anonymous said...

I saw this as I was driving home yesterday - so wrong on so many levels. What are these people thinking?

katybops said...

"It's Halloween. Everybody has bad things going on in their life," Lenarczak said. "They gotta lighten up and they gotta enjoy their life."
Great quote. Because dead babies make me enjoy my life more.

Paganne said...

A follow up on this: I went this morning (10/23) and knocked on his door, shook his hand, introduced myself and told him that my friend and I were the ones that called Komo4 with the story. I told him I’d lived here 20 plus years, always found his displays amusing, but that this year, I found the babies on the crosses over the top of indecency. I explained that with a 10 month old grandson in children’s after heart surgery and the number of children that are murdered or abused every year, that his display was disturbing and not in the spirit of Halloween at all. I encouraged him to remove the babies, but to leave the crosses. He seemed very nice, but wouldn’t promise that he’d remove the dolls.

I also received an email from Kimberly Allen, Redmond City Council and Ombudsman for October:

Dear Ms. Norman,

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us. As Ombudsman for the month of October, I am responding on behalf of the entire Council.

I have not personally seen the display as I am out of town right now but I have seen some photos and I find it in very poor taste. That being said, the Halloween display is on private property and the city does not regulate the content of Halloween displays. We have referred this to our code enforcement officer to see if there are any building code violations.

I wish we could offer more assistance in this matter. Please feel free to contact me if I you have any further questions.

Kimberly Allen
Redmond City Council

Anonymous said...

As a resident of Ed Hill, I agree this is not an appropriate decoration. It crosses the line of both good taste and common sense.

Paganne said...

This morning (October 25th) the crosses remain, but the homeowner has removed the dolls from the crosses.

The Mayor sent an email confirming that the display did not break any laws, however was in poor taste.

Several people emailed or called to complain. Thanks to everyone for being involved in alerting the media, neighbors and city leadership to this display.


AZ said...

If you don't like it - don't look. I am disgusted that I live in a community where people feel it is their right to ask a homeowner to remove Halloween decorations because they find it in "bad taste." I am further sickened by the prospect that someone would think it appropriate that a person should "receive a visit from law enforcement" when they have not broken any laws. I don't know how many of you fine folk subject your children to church visits, but last time I checked the figure of a crucified human, blood and all, figured prominently there. I don't know if the person who put these up reads this blog, but if he does I'd just like to tell him: more power to you!
Here's a little clue for you: if you ever find yourself starting a sentence with "I'm all for freedom of speech but..." it's a pretty strong sign that what you are about to say is a load of nonsense.

Tara said...

AZ: nonsense. If it were your sacred cow that was being gored by your neighbor in your part of town, you'd be angry and outraged. And you'd probably call the police and have them "handle it" instead of going over and talking directly to your neighbor as these folks did.

The neighbor did indeed have a right to do anything he wanted in his yard. He didn't have the right to avoid the consequences of angry neighbors and media attention. But maybe that's what he wanted. In that case, it's all good, right?

Susan said...

Amen AZ.

My reaction was more along the lines of: wow, they put a lot of work into that display. Yes, dolls on crosses is a touch I haven't seen before, and yes, I am not surprised that some would find it disturbing. It's not something I would put in my yard. But I also wouldn't put Himalayan blackberries or geraniums in my yard. That's just my tastes.

I'm the mother of a two year old.

I'm all for freedom of speech. You've made your opinion known to the homeowner - I see no reason why this was escalated further than that.

Anonymous said...

I hope he leaves them up in full view, for all see.

I hope we all learn to appreciate our freedom of speech. The media, poice or neighbors have no right to comment or demand this display be removed.

Down with up-tight, haters!

Anonymous said...

That's what I love about this country- we all have the right to express our opinion. However like everything in life it's how the situation is handled and where it goes from there. My question is instead going over and talking to your neighbor about the display did you feel the need to contact the news and the police. By bringing this out into the media and community it only brings more attention to it.

I hope the owner of the display knows there are people in the community who stand behind him.

Anonymous said...

Long live freedom of speech. That some find this offensive and scary - too bad. I find it more disturbing that we need to involve our government in complaints like this for a holiday display. Also, the display, on private property, was vandalized this week. Vandalism is a crime. This is no different than art or messages or TV shows we find offensive. It's no wonder schools call it "Harvest Festival" now instead of Halloween. Political correctness and hypersensitivity abounds. If this display is found offensive, there are hundreds of others that the government should ban simply because someone found them scary or offensive or stupid or the wrong color.

I will take a display like this over so-called 'haunted houses' put on by radical churches who show displays of abortion.

I full support this property owner's RIGHT to display this display and the government can stay out of it.

Brian Hansford

Anonymous said...

My wife & drove by and got a good laugh out of the original display. Its unique - for sure, but over the top? Nah, it's Halloween.