Write of Passage: VS Panel w/ Alan Ket & Steve Mona
“Hey Romero, Ket Loves You Baby”…”Ket F**ks Bitches Like Mona’s Wife”. These are not friendly exchanges, or even light-hearted, casual barbs. These are words of sincere anger, outrage, disgust. As cultural historian Alan Ket & ex-NYPD Vandal Squad Lieutenant Steve Mona squared off for a repeat performance of their panel on the pursuit & prosecution of graffiti artists/vandals, images of these tags (on the insides of MTA subway cars) were displayed stage right. Although some years have passed since these two were actively locked in combat, the palpable frustration and authentic animosity was readily evident.
While Mona held firm to the traditional “cops are just doing their jobs” stance, there was clearly (at one time) a period when this feud was also quite personal. The damage Ket produced on the MTA insides just one piece of evidence supporting this claim. Ket also went into greater detail regarding the persistence of the Vandal Squad’s tactics during that era, and likely into the present day: constant phone calls, staking out his family’s home, and other strategies were unpleasantly recounted towards the end of the panel.
In spite of the bitter resentment, hard feelings and legal ramifications of prosecution, both men shook hands and appeared to enjoy the trip down memory lane. Ultimately, it isn’t about the catch, but the thrill of the chase, and no matter which side of the law you reside that chase can be all that matters.