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Editorials

Vandalism

Sunday, August 30, 2015   by: David Root

Overnight Saturday, some person or persons unknown decapitated “Bruce the Moose”, the wooden sculpture on the waterfront near the Bondar Marina.

As people are waking up and logging-on to social media and news sites they are discovering this sad bit of news, and many will question why some people commit such senseless acts.

It is not an easy question to answer.

In most cases, vandalism is not targeted; it is not a personal attack. however, many people see it as such, especially those who were victims of such attacks.

In some cases there may be a personal element. I know a former Police officer whose flower beds and front gardens were regularly uprooted by miscreants from the adjacent neighbourhood.

But in the vast majority of cases it is simply people — often under the influence of alcohol — who are bored and seeking to “have some fun.”

Of course, most of us do not see the “fun” in having shrubs uprooted, flags stolen from yards, or wooden moose decapitated. Suffice to say this is an in-the-moment decision.

One of the most notable acts of vandalism is “tagging”, or graffiti. It is becoming an eyesore across the city.

While some may be “gang-related” — local groups of thugs marking their territory — most appears to simply be a few individuals caught up in the counter-culture of tagging: placing their “tag” (a signature mark or design) in as many places as possible.

In some cities, graffiti artists create beautiful works of art. The unfortunate part of that is their “canvas” is often someone else’s property. A blank stretch of wall may be irresistible to a graffiti artist, and perhaps it is very plain and otherwise unremarkable, but unless the owner wants to have a mural painted there, then graffiti is just vandalism.

Also sometime overnight on Friday a number of election campaign signs were tagged, as were some utility poles and mobile signs.

In the past when elections signs were damaged or removed we were reminded that it is against federal law to interfere with, damage or remove, election signs. 

However, I suspect that the signs were not damaged as a political statement, but rather as a simple act of vandalism.

Occasionally, depending on what has been damaged, there will be people asking whether these vandals give any thought to the expense their victims will now be facing.

The simple answer to that would be, “No!”

I doubt that they will give even a moment’s thought to how the victims might feel, or how much it will cost to repair the damage.

They are concerned only about one thing: themselves.

Sadly, I believe this attitude has been fostered in society for some time now. There is a growing attitude of “me-first”, and not just amongst young people.

Really, just stand on the corner of any major intersection and watch people’s driving habits for a few minutes, and you will see evidence of this “me-first” way of thinking: people speeding (and not just by a few km/h) and running red lights, cutting-off other drivers, and generally trying to get where they are going come hell or high water.

There are those who butt into line in stores; those who park in Fire Routes or designated Handicap parking spots; those who feel that, for whatever reason, their needs (or demands) should be addressed ahead of others.

And young people pick up on this. And in their minds, what’s good for the goose…

Why wouldn’t they put their own desire for fun ahead of the inconvenience and expense their actions might cause someone else?

When I was a kid, none of my friends engaged in this kind of behaviour. 

Yes, there was the occasional street sign that was turned, and a few friends used to raid gardens (not being a fan of vegetables, that held no appeal whatsoever for me), but no one spray-painted graffiti, or damaged anyone’s property. 

Not that it wasn’t happening — vandalism has long been an ongoing problem.

But it seems that it is getting worse, lately.

Some will blame the city, saying that there isn’t enough for young people to do. Perhaps. But the city is not ultimately responsible for providing activities for each and every young person, nor even for those who can’t manage to find something more constructive to do.

No, it’s an attitude problem… a “me-first” problem. 

Or perhaps, more accurately, it is the result of a lack of empathy, of not putting others first.

Frankly, if we considered others’ needs, or how others might feel, perhaps our society would be a much nicer, friendlier place overall.

 

But… that’s just my opinion.

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