The bill calls for the creation of a new misdemeanor that would punish provide for punishment of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine for military monument vandals. Currently, vandals who are caught are charged under graffiti and criminal mischief statutes.
The New York Sun reported Wednesday that City Councilman Michael McMahon of Staten Island started the ball rolling to stop the defacing of public monuments by "low-life, misfit creatures" as the offenders were termed by fellow council member Michael Nelson.
"There are vandals who are out there and don't respect and don't understand the sacrifice and the commitment to our country that was shown by generations of veterans," McMahon told the Sun.
It was an incident on Staten Island earlier this year that launched the firestorm of outrage by the city council members. Plaques honoring chaplains who gave up their life vests during the World War II sinking of the warship Dorchester were stolen in an incident McMahon called "an obnoxious act of civic destruction."