Daily news blog for Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood

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Machine gun welded on playground sculpture

Posted by Kate Bergman on July 3rd, 2011

Update: The Seattle Parks Department removed the machine gun tonight after seeing story in the media. “We made the decision to take it out ASAP,” it said. The story began on Wallingford’s neighborhood blogs and quickly spread to KING, KIRO and our partner The Seattle Times.

“I am relieved,” says Jeanne. “I had no idea they would respond so quickly.”

Earlier: Visitors to Meridian Park were surprised to see a mysterious addition welded on one of the child-themed statues ringing the playground: a machine gun. The statue is right at the northeastern entrance — one of several statues, like a train engine and a child on stilts, created by artist Pat Maher.

“I feel so demoralized,” tweeted Jeanne, who helped commission Maher for the original work. “We worked hard on renovating that park and playground and getting input from neighborhood. Sculptures were charming.”

Jeanne says she spoke to Seattle Police, and the officer told her no crime has been committed. “He told me this wasn’t vandalism. That just because I didn’t like it didn’t mean it was a crime,” she said.

We’ve heard from several neighbors, including Charles in comments, that the original arm on the statue was missing.

A letter from a man claiming to be the rogue artist explains a little about his motive. “I’ve re-armed your sailor boy sculpture that has was damaged and disintegrating at Meridian Playground by my house. I thought my addition was great, a bit tongue in cheek but a nice addition.” The rest of the letter goes on to ridicule Jeanne.

We spoke to several neighbors at the playground this morning. “It’s depressing,” said one mom, but others had a different view. “I think rogue art is cool,” said a dad, who joked that someone should write “Seal Team 6″ on the sculpture. Another woman pointed out that the sculpture is at adult height. “Are kids going to look up there and say, ‘oh my gosh there’s a gun?’” she asked.

We’ve reached out to Maher for his reaction, and police as well (since it’s a holiday weekend, we may not hear until Tuesday.) In the meantime, here are a few of the tweets from Jeanne (@fourchickens), and please leave your thoughts in comments below. Is it vandalism? Or art?

Tags: Uncategorized

  • Tyrone

    Lamont, there is no threat anywhere in my posts.  Mr. Kruger was posting in this blog using his Twitter account where he has made his name and likeness public. 

    I don't think a sculpture of a machine gun belongs next to a playground.  You can prattle on about your theories of parental overprotectiveness, your theories about how “art needs to be hard and dangerous,” and your armchair psychoanalysis of parents being fearful of helping their children find answers.

    Maybe we just don't want a sculpture of a weapon next to a playground.

  • Tyrone

    But a hipster who trolls blogs of neighborhoods where he doesn't live isn't foolish?  I do hope you get help soon, son.

  • blueben

    And so it ends. You've admitted that you have nothing to say, so all you can do is sling tired insults like a 5 year old. Little metal boy feels pity for you.

  • Tyrone

    This from a man who posted “To me, you're a random semi-anonymous jerk on the internet who feels
    compelled to respond to everything people on a forum post, no matter how
    clever or inane. That doesn't give you much license to hand out advice,” while:

    - Criticizing Jeanne for being “a white woman who didn't get her way,” when she spoke up about something that she felt was wrong

    -Demeaning someone who took the trouble to research and post the Seattle Parks Code

    -Taking a shot at parents who take their children to the park by saying “Because everyone who takes their kid to the park automatically turns into a perfect parent”

    What was that about slinging tired insults, Mr. Krueger? 

  • blueben

    You have so little to say, you actually have to lie and misrepresent the things *I* said just so you can respond to them with self-righteous indignation.

    My offer for coffee still stands. If you're so awesome, and you think you seriously have something to offer, I'm willing to meet up on your dime. Put up or shut up you troll.

  • blueben

    You have so little to say, you actually have to lie and misrepresent the things *I* said just so you can respond to them with self-righteous indignation.

    My offer for coffee still stands. If you're so awesome, and you think you seriously have something to offer, I'm willing to meet up on your dime. Put up or shut up you troll.

  • Tyrone

    Tsk tsk tsk.  Temper, temper! 

    Whatever happened to Mr. Benjamin “See, isn't this fun?” Krueger?

  • blueben


  • locuslingua

    That was too melodramatic for a first world problem like this.

  • mellow ex-volunteer

    It is not the least bit melodramatic, it is just the last straw. Clearly you have not tangled with the First World problems as a volunteer here, especially with corrupt agencies (Seattle School District for one) and autocratic welders and some really icky blogsters. Or have you?

  • Tyrone

    Mr. Krueger, one of your posts above reads “Yes, some of my responses are silly. But only one of us is taking them seriously.”  Your ability to self-reflect is fantastic, son.  I'm impressed! 

    It's mighty generous for you to demand I take you out for coffee, but I'll put my money and my efforts towards neighborhood efforts.  Should you move back to Seattle and specifically into Wallingford, you be sure to let us know.

  • John P. "Caponeville"USA

    Oh c'mon give me a break!!-lighten up a little!!  The title of this article grabbed my attention and I was expecting to see either an actual de-milled weapon or at least something that had a resemblance to some iconic weapon like an M-16/M-4 US military rifle,signifying US Wars,or an AK-47,most often evoking former Soviet-era enemy soldiers & terrorists & criminals & has accounted for many people,both good & bad,and has been found in artwork & political satire. But no,the thing welded on that is causing so much ridiculous drama is so far removed from vaguely resembling the profile of an existing weapon,and in fact,I couldn't even be sure that the artist was even trying to convey the image as that of a machine gun. It was a parent's observation and then your suggestion and several more views of the pictures & visualizing the details before I came to another conclusion. My theory based on the “demoralizing” effect it had on me was that the statue after being vandalized portrayed a US Navy sailor in his Dixie Cup hat & utility dungarees with his arm blown off in a war and was left in that sorry state until a Good Samaritan artist came along and added an appendage that I thought was a jackhammer or industrial rivet gun-but some lady “asking” if that was a machine gun sent your power of suggestion into overdrive with a heaping helping of unnecessary drama & everybody lost something. The one-armed Navy man is back,instead of the worker with the power tool. The original artist is back to having his work depicting a political statement on war,while the creative follow-up artist had “his” artwork vandalized by you now.And you lost sleep over some lady who had “bullets on her brain” when she interpreted it as an automatic weapon.The Park Dist. probably lost money spent to return it to it's former sorry state.Even worse that I lost the time I wasted by responding to this non-issue when I could've done it in a shorter,less sarcastic manner. In closing-this incident shows how bad things must be getting since this attack on art reflects the mindset of those who push their own ideas ,views and interpretation of what they perceived the “tool” the repaired & “improved” (in my opinion,& the cops too!)- statue as a matter of fact!! lol!! The self-appointed art critique,the censorship, & veiled fascism displayed by the controlling,instigator of the drama is “demoralizing” & hopefully not a signal of what the future holds anyone creating art someone perceives as politically incorrect. Ok.take care~back to reality now…PEACE

  • John P."Caponeville"USA

    sounds like you'll be there waiting in the interrogation room with you jackboots & gimp suit on slapping the lead-filled rubber hose when they bring him in!! This whole deal is so ridiculous that I gotta get away from this monitor before I read another single “Massengil Moment”& wake everyone up laughing so hard!! As a matter of fact I wonder if an industrial size tube of Preparation-H liberally dispensed simultaneously in the shoes  of all the “art-Nazi's” would result in their disappearance??!! Geez,LEMMEE OUTTA HERE!!!**LMAO***

  • ExpandYourGreyMatter

    Jeanne seriously needs to get out more and I don't mean to Meridian Park. This “issue” is so ridiculous it makes me throw up a little in my mouth. The rogue artist (Marc) didn't remove, break or completely destroy the piece. He merely fixed or added an addition to a rather crude depiction of a one armed sailor or boy. That was once a long time ago wielding a sword in hand. Now it has or had an imaginary, bionic, machine gun arm for 2011. In my opinion (because that's all any of these comments are) artists including myself have done this in the past, do it presently and will do it in the future. Take the artist REVS from NY for instants… go ahead look him up! Also, is the original artist really that butt hurt about someone else fixing his decaying, old, over commissioned job for free? Enough is enough. So, again Jeanne (fourchickens) it is time to leave Seattle, open your mind and see what really goes on out there in the big round colorful thing we call earth!

  • Pantone745

    Hmmm…did your parents neglect to take you to the park, Bluben? It all becomes clear now.

  • blueben

    Lame attempt at trolling. Plus, you're a week late.

  • http://twitter.com/SideShowJohn John Calian

    “is the original artist really that butt hurt about someone else fixing his decaying, old, over commissioned job for free?”

    Butt hurt? WTF does that mean?

    So, according to you, and maybe Im misinterpreting, I can walk up to a public sculpture or painting and add to it? subtract from it? anywhere? wow, that would be great. I can fix any art I want… In all seriousness, dont be a douchebag that tells Jeanne how to feel about the art and about what her kids (or mine) think seeing this.  She helped commission this so artists such as yourself can fucking practice art. Its completely reasonable that she would like the art to remain as intended.

  • http://twitter.com/SideShowJohn John Calian


  • Mike

    Hahaha awesome. He's “offered” to fix or replace it- assuming you can raise the money. This seems like the equivalent of buying a car, years later after it's been worn out someone comes by and spray paints all over it, then the car salesman comes over and says,”This is outrageous! What have they done to my car?! I'm so sorry to see this. If you can afford it I will sell you a new car.” And you're doing it.

  • http://maquiberryz.com/ maqui berry

    While it does do damage to someone else work, its is an artistic protest to how our younger generation are being trained to perpetuate the ongoing wars.
    With all art its perspective.

  • Bobcat

    The city of Seattle vandalized the wall of death.  It has about 2 dozen concrete kit-kat bars bolted down and looks like crap.  

  • moreconfused

    I admire guerilla artists… I don't like violence.  When I saw the headline I expected ad “real” machine gun to be welded to the sculpture. Then I opened this link and found this was just nuts and bolts welded in a machine-gun-like representation. It was silly and harmless junk added to someone else's sad and broken art piece.
    Inappropriate? Maybe… but all you have to do is remove it.  Permanence is impossible.  Let go of the hate.

  • Dan

    Maybe you should have been more concerned about fixing the broken statute in the first place. Or is it ok for the “children” to see a degrading park after you put so much effort into renovating. Maybe it would be best for you to use the park, & learn what's like to have fun again, instead of an being a person who Cant Understand Normal Thinking.

  • L.E.P.

    What I want to know is……where is the gun now???

  • http://www.joshcanhelp.com joshcanhelp

    “…Cant Understand Normal Thinking”

    Unnecessary, even if you disagree.

  • Qoaa

    The man should weld the gun back on! these people are severely retarded for having a problem with it. It's awesome, and brings more appeal from the children. We all play video games and what's more awesome than imagining your video game hero is protecting your playground!

    The political correct retards that have problem with this should be removed and cast out of town if they have such issue. Hell all political correct morons should be cast out of the country.