Chelsea King Memorial Park: A Do or a Don’t?
By now most of us have heard the tragic outcome of Chelsea King, a smart and talented San Diego teen who was raped and murdered while out running by the Rancho Bernardo Community Park. Her suspected rapist and murderer, John Albert Gardner III is currently being held without bail after predictably pleading not guilty.
Now, in honor of the fallen teen, online efforts have begun to rename the Rancho Bernardo Community Park to the Chelsea King Memorial Park. Groups and pages on Facebook and a petition website have been created in order to rally up supporters to rename the park.
Yet, as heartbreaking of a story as the Chelsea King piece is, like many appeals to changes in a community, there are always supporters as well as critics.
Critics of the renaming idea argue that naming a park after a murdered victim of a sex offender would be hard to explain to younger children and would also be difficult for the family, a constant reminder of their murdered daughter. However, supporters of the renaming maintain that the government owes Chelsea and her family this after “letting” Chelsea get killed by a known sex offender.
Renaming buildings, parks, freeways, and other public locations after certain individuals is a common cultural practice, so why so much controversy in this case? What makes a landmark suitable for a name change and who are or should be the deserving few honored by this custom?