Casualty in great Ohio-Kentucky rock war

Steven Shaffer, the Ohio historian who removed that big ol’ rock from the Ohio river, has been indicted by a Kentucky grand jury.

They’re not kidding around either. The charge is removing an object of antiquity, a felony that could garner him a 1-5 year prison sentence.

The divers who helped him fish out the boulder are also being considered for indictment by the grand jury. Shaffer is shocked and appalled at this sore miscarriage of justice.

Shaffer said he doesn’t understand why “a rock with just graffiti of Portsmouth, Ohio, is protected.”

He said there is mounting evidence that the face carving was not done by an Indian and that the rock is therefore not as significant as historians once believed.

“Nobody tried to prove that (the carving was done by an American Indian) harder than me,” Shaffer said. “I liked the theory, it was romantic.”

Perhaps the authorities consider his evaluation credentials are a tad tarnished, what with the theft and all. Seriously, what kind of historian gets his buddies together, rents some wet suits and removes an object he knows is protected? And what kind of stupid, self-defeating response is “eh, it’s just some graffiti on a rock; shouldn’t even be protected anyway”?

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Comment by Mike M
2012-05-19 15:54:42

Portsmouth Ohio graffitied on a rock? I think there would be more evidence to convince me one way or the other. Such as:

When was the graffiti placed on that rock, why, by whom, and for what purpose?

For instance:

If it was done by some random graffiti artist a decade ago, I can’t see throwing a man in prison for 1 – 5 years.

If it was by the city of Portsmouth a decade ago, I still can’t see that warranting a prison sentence of even a year. A bigger punishment than the previous scenario sure.

If done by the city of Portsmouth 200 years ago, then yeah, maybe some prison time might be warranted.

 
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