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Our View...Vandalism knows no bounds

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Vandalism takes on many dimensions. Sometimes it can be a matter of carving initials on a tree, or writing them on some other indelible surface that mars the landscape and defaces some natural element within it. Sometimes it takes the form of spray painting the occasional swear word or gang graffiti on the wall of a traffic tunnel, on a local building or on the side of a railroad car.

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In the old days, vandalism sometimes reared its ugly head in the form of the tipping of outhouses. More recently, it’s taken the form of toilet papering trees in the yard of someone you may or may not know in order to make some sort of statement to the person who lives within.

And while some of these things have temporary effects and are commonly regarded as mischief, others verge on criminal acts prosecutable by the full extent of the law.

But there is one form of vandalism that defies description, and it is perhaps the most pointless, most disrespectful and most despicable of all — cemetery vandalism.

Tipping or otherwise damaging headstones, stealing graveside floral arrangements or other mementos, or driving over the lawn of a cemetery or tromping on graves is arguably the worst form of travesty there is. It not only causes property damage, but it defiles the sacredness of the burial ground, the folks who are buried there and the people who visit the graves of their loved ones. It’s a cowardly act that achieves no purpose whatsoever.

Sadly, the recent vandalism in local cemeteries is nothing new. But the fact that it has occurred yet again, after numerous episodes in the past, is a sad statement on how far some human beings are willing to stoop. If someone has to dishonor both the dead and the living in order to feel good about him or herself, or to get their thrills, or impress a group of co-conspirators, that is a pathetic statement on who and what they are.

Let’s not let our society be defined by the thoughtless acts of vandalism some feel moved to commit. Let’s instead look to our sense of humanity, and the realization that we all stand to be on the receiving end of such vandalism — sooner or later.  

Wendy Johnson

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