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You know, I try to keep things positive here on the Tattoo Blog. Sure, you’ve stopped by plenty of times and read some post that I wrote where I slagged someone’s tattoo or a particular new trend amongst those in the tattoo industry. Fair enough, I admit that I can be a little negative that way. But I stand by it nonetheless. The type of negativity that I’m trying to avoid is the stuff that deals with artists who have gotten themselves messed up with the law in one way or another. I don’t like to write about a lot of stories like that because I think the tattoo industry already gets enough flack from small-minded stereotypers and naysayers. It doesn’t need further negativity and stuff that only serves to live up to the stereotypes that clueless people have about people with tattoos and people who tattoo.
That’s why this new bit of news is so disappointing: it involves a real tattoo veteran and well, it’s all just plain odd. Jonathan Shaw has tattooed many celebrities in his lengthy career as a tattoo artist. He opened New York City’s first legal tattoo studio back in the day, he founded International Tattoo Art Magazine as well as writing two novels. But on Monday the 57-year-old tattooist was arrested in Manhattan after police found a weapons cache worthy of an early 80’s Schwarzennegger movie.
‘Cops discovered an AK-47 assault rifle, a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, a loaded British rifle, 96 knives, five sets of metal knuckles, eight batons, 2,833 rounds of ammunition, stage pistols and an air rifle, authorities said.’
According to this news story, the weapons were in a duffel bag and a suitcase that Shaw was having sent to Los Angeles. No one is sure exactly why Shaw had the weapons or why he was sending them to LA, but he’s been charged with a whole slew of weapons violations and he’s definitely going to have some explaining to do come court time.
It sucks for stuff like this to happen to people who’ve been in the industry for so long. It would still be bad if it had been some young, up and coming tattoo artist, but when you have someone who has made such progress for the tattoo industry and community end up in such a bizarre and frankly just plain shitty situation, it’s an all around big disappointment. Call me cynical, but I’m doubting that Shaw will be able to clear this up very easily. I mean, what possible reason could he have for not only having all that stuff, but for sending it over to LA from NY? Seems shady to me. Ninety-six knives? 2,833 rounds of ammo? Dude, what are you – training for the apocalypse?