Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Kids, Ink and The Law
Here at the shop I have some rather serious policies that I enforce, not to only protect our selves, but a social responsibility to the general public. But I came across a story that made me scratch my head and wonder why someone would do something like this. It a appears that a father of 26 years old Enrique Gonzales held down his 7 year old son as a 21 year old Travis Gorman proceeded to tattoo the boy with a Bulldog gang symbol. The father is being charged with a felony of aggravated mayhem and street terrorism.
We are always asked by minors whom ask about tattoos and I give them nothing, No information and no good graces. Reason they shouldn't be in my shop without a parent or guardian. Here it is illegal to tattoo a minor and is punishable by a hefty fine and loss of license and all kinds of crazy. But when parents ask if I can tattoo their child it is met with a blunt and curt NO! I explain my reasons and most agree, and have a angry spoilt child on their hands. But to tag your kid with a gang symbol against a child's will is just cruel. If both dim witted adults are convicted they could face life in prison. Seriously some asshole takes his own son and holds him down. Say it with me, counselling.
A father came in once with his 14 year old daughter and asked for her to be tattooed. Yet I said it was illegal and will not do it. They girl in her heavy cockney accent said her mate was tattooed here and she said it was fine. Now I can not control what a kid says in a playground or a school-yard, but I can control what goes in and out of my shop. The father became belligerent and proceeded with the, "look mate!" Which I hate to be called. Yet I told him anyone whom doesn't look at least 21 will be asked for identification. When most kids are asked this they buckle and their body language says it all and gives it away. Further he scoffed at the £60.00 minimum as he can have it down in Essex for 15 quid. Well it's a free country, sort of. And I barked, "You ain't nailed to nothing and free to go there!" Still I never understand why a parent would want to one stake a minors health and safety for the service of a few shekel? We don't tattoo hands or necks unless a person has 50% of their body worked on. This also burns the asses of a few people who want a neck tattoo as their first. to which we don't carry it out. As a tattooist we are not shamans or healers, yet we should carry out a creed of ethic to uphold our craft and consciousness. Tattooing a kid is not one of them. Most would be gangsters don't even want to pay for the type of work I carry out and rather want to haggle at the lowest level.
I am not that desperate for money. I stick to my tattoo guns and will never change this. I would prefer for a kid to come to me when he is old enough to get a tattoo and say, you tattooed my dad, now I want one too. To me that would be the ultimate compliment, more so than the acceptance of my fellow tattoo artists. It's hard enough for a minor to know what he/she really wants, and the novel idea of having a tattoo for the moment, when he/she is barely comfortable in their own skin, should be left to clear and measured judgement when they are fully aware of themselves as people, not kids.