Within the hearts of some people there is, apparently, a need to hang stuff from bridges. Science hasn’t fully explored this phenomenon, but it’s likely related to similar vandalistic compulsions like painting water towers.
Whether it’s a desire to shock or a need to draw attention to oneself without actually receiving any personal credit (or infamy), these little acts of defiance are best described as the visual equivalent
of “Hey, watch this!”
Last week, someone decided to take some caution tape, knot it around the railing of the Shelby Street Bridge and toss a Confederate flag to wave in the wind on the north side of the bridge, presumably as an announcement to barges inbound from Yankeeland that we know they ain’t from around here, and we have our eyes on them.
The Confederate flag — of course, a loaded image to many — adds shock to this, but whatever purpose or cause the perpetrators meant to advance (if any), the message was lost in the sheer absurdity of the act.
What’s more, this apparently isn’t the first time something’s been heave-hoed over the side, nor is it the first run of the spangled saltire of the Old South over the edge.
Not only did these latest flag-hangers committ a head-scratching act — they were unoriginal about it. This kind of thing has happened often enough that Metro police were ready with a quick answer about it.
There are a lot of things better suited to swing from the structure: a Titans flag on game day (if one ever happens again), for example. Or the good ol’ Stars and Stripes. The Confederate banner appeared, coincidentally, the day the U.S. played a soccer game against Paraguay at LP Field, so cheers to Metro for getting it down before the TV cameras arrived.
Let’s hope this little display was a blip and not a trend. The folks at Metro Public Works are busy enough without having to clean up misplaced displays of … whatever that was about.