AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A painting in downtown Amherst featuring historic poet Emily Dickinson was vandalized for a second time.

This latest incident happened at the same time as the nation was hearing about the two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

Three bullet holes were painted on famous poet Emily Dickinson’s eyes and forehead on the same weekend as the mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH, killing a total of 31 people.

The original painting displayed the quote “Pardon my sanity in a world insane” sparking controversy about the timing of the graffiti.

“I feel bad for the artist, the world is insane right? It kind of proves it.," said Michelle Johnson.

Karen Kurczynski, associate professor of art history at UMass Amherst added, “It’s clearly something about gun violence in America.”

More than a week before this incident, the same electrical box art was vandalized with graffiti, but the artist was able to go back and paint over it.

On August 4, the morning after the El Paso shooting and the day of the Dayton shooting, the painted bullet holes were reported to police. A painting of Robert Frost remains on the back of the electrical box, untouched.

People told us that they think this particular painting was vandalized because of its location off of a main road.

“I don’t know why you’d vandalize Emily Dickinson in particular. I don’t think she has anything to do with any of the issues going on in the country right now, but it might just be a way to make a statement that’s easy to see from the road," said Henry Wilhelm.  

The Amherst Arts Council commissions local artists to decorate electrical boxes around town.

Kurczynski told Western Mass News she finds it sad when an artist hurts another artist’s work.

“While I do feel like this is clearly an artistic statement, someone clearly trying to provoke a message about violence, that’s an important message. I don’t want to see it happen to another artist’s work. I just think this might not be the best form if you’re damaging an artists’ work, costing the town money to cover it up," Kurczynski added.

An incident like this will cost the town to repaint again, which raises the question whether they can afford to coat the painting with something that will keep vandals from striking again.

The Amherst Police Department is investigating the matter.

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