[Your full name] April 22, 2012 Roadside Memorials Roadside memorials, that mark the sites of fatal accidents, have become controversial. Whether roadside memorials should be allowed or banned is a hot topic of debate…
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This argumentative paper argues that roadside memorials and shrines should be banned due to the dangers they pose to people, and also discusses some roadside memorials, whose images have been taken from internet search. MLA referencing style has been used properly, and the paper is summarized in a concluding paragraph. Tiernan, a lawyer in Colorado, says that the roadside memorials and shrines are “unconstitutional and a hazard” (para.3). According to him, there are three main reasons why roadside memorials should not be allowed to build and decorate. First of all, it is illegal to make use of public property to build shrines and memorials for private purposes. In other words, not an inch of public property can be used for private purposes without the consent of the owner, or court in case there is no owner. “…roadside memorials problematize some of our legal answers to debates about ownership, challenging our formal assumptions about the public-yet-anonymous nature of places like the highway or the street corner”, writes Wood (para.1). Hence, they are unconstitutional in this respect. Second, it is objectionable to use religious symbols like Christian crosses in roadside memorials. According to Tiernan, the use of religious symbols violates the constitution that demands separation of religion and state. Using religious symbols, like in figure 1, means promoting religion, and this is not allowed under constitution. Figure 1 shows a Christian cross as a memorial for a victim of a car accident on southbound I-684 in North Salem, New York. The cross has been decorated with flowers. Despite the fact that this roadside memorial is not big enough to cause distraction for drivers, yet it is making improper use of the Christian cross, which does not seem proper at public places. Third reason why roadside memorials should be banned, as asserted by Tiernan, is that they are a big distraction for the motoring public. A driver may get busy in reading the text about who got died, when, and how, written on the memorial, and may bump his car into something. And, if the drivers, for the sake of safety, are not supposed to slow down and read these memorials, then what is the point in building them at all? If the memorials are built on median strips along the highway, they are enough highly structured to be a disturbance for drivers. Also, if a driver loses the control of his car, and bumps into one of the symbols anchored into the ground, there are high chances that the driver will get seriously injured. Death may also occur from such an injury. Moreover, when mourners come to visit these roadside memorials to pray or leave flowers and mementos, they become a big annoyance for the traffic that may also get jammed, waiting for the mourners to clear up the way (see Figure 2). Roadside memorials become a bad sight for people when parts of them get stolen or broken. Figure 3 shows a broken Christian cross as a roadside memorial. When memorials with religious symbols break down, they not only become an unethical display of religious symbols, but also create a bad scene, which decreases the scenic beauty of the place. This makes them an eyesore rather than a pleasing memory. No doubt, there are other better ways of expressing love and respect to the deceased people, rather than making their deaths a source of constant annoyance for general public. Also, memorials decorated with stuffed toys and cartoon characters do not make sense
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