Photo: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer
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As of Sunday, the “Be Someone” graffiti has been painted over with #SAVEOURCHILDREN.
No single group has made a claim to the graffiti, according to the Houston Chronicle. Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza announced that the incident would also be investigated internally, and the railroad company might involve the Houston Police Department.
Related: Union Pacific plans to investigate QAnon-linked vandalism to ‘Be Someone’ bridge
There’s been much speculation about the new #SAVEOURCHILDREN graffiti, as the phrase is widely associated with an organization called Save the Children, a London based “humanitarian organization that aims to improve the lives of children around the world, including work against child trafficking,” as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
But the organization has lately distanced itself from the viral use of the #SAVEOURCHILDREN message, which has received numerous retweets and Facebook shares in recent weeks.
The Houston Chronicle reported that “the slogan has recently been associated with the convoluted, ultra right-wing conspiracy theory known as ‘QAnon,’ which alleges that a high-ranking government official known as ‘QAnon’ shares information about an anti-Trump ‘deep state’ often tied to satanism and child sex trafficking.”
Followers of the QAnon movement acted in a counterproductive manner, by flooding the nonprofit National Human Trafficking Hotline with phone calls, which put a strain on the limited resources needed to track actual, real missing children.
While the new graffiti doesn’t imply a specific message, I’m not sure if I’m more upset that our widely adored “Be Someone” sign is temporarily gone, or because people thought it was a good idea to spread a conspiracy theory. Either way, I’m hoping that Union Pacific finds whoever is responsible, Houston’s balance is restored, and our “Be Someone” sign returns.