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Parallels in vandalism?

Is it possible we may be heading toward a growing lack of respect for the property of others?

Such behavior has always been a problem, of course, but the thought crossed my mind last week after learning about the latest vandalism at Macclenny’s Heritage Park.

In this case, the alleged culprits are young boys from nearby neighborhoods — two of them 12 and the third, 10 years of age.

That’s pretty old to have no concept of respecting the property of others, in this case that of the City of Macclenny and, potentially, the private property of dozens of Baker County families with cherished heirlooms on loan to the museums at the park off South Lowder.

It’s the second case of vandalism at the location in recent weeks, the first apparently occurring during a domestic fight involving a couple. The loss in both incidents isn’t monumental but significant, first because it shows a depravity on the part of those accused, and second, it will prompt the city to pour more taxpayer money into added security.

Vandalism, both personally-targeted and indiscriminate, is as old as the human race. It was the cause celebre among the invading hordes of barbarians (Vikings, Visigoths, etc.) onto European soil who elevated it to the status likened to an Olympic sport.

Present day, we’ve seen a resurgence of urban rioting destroying private property with a vengeance that makes one question whether the perpetrators were raised by civilized parents — or not. People witness this on TV, and the Angry Summer of 2020 edition has become a nightly disgrace that appears to be altering the political landscape in dramatic fashion as a national election nears.

Witnessing such behavior on the flat screen doesn’t in the great majority of people entice others to mimic the arsonists and looters. Most people look at the burning and destruction of property belonging to someone else and shake their heads, grateful that their value system did not slide down the slope to depravity.

In other homes with young children who may question what they are seeing, civil disobedience on this scale is a teachable moment. This is what you don’t do as a responsible citizen. The term “peaceful protest,” thanks to a moron media seized by a political agenda, has now become a running joke, obscuring the fact that truly “peaceful” protests and assemblies are still a preferred and acceptable method of dissent also guaranteed by the Constitution.

This is not to conflate the vandalism at Heritage Park or Shoals Park to the level of what we’re witnessing in the streets of our largest cities in the Angry Summer of 2020, but a common thread weaves through it. Perpetrators somehow missed out on parental guidance that teaches respect for the property of others.

Stable people don’t steal it or destroy it.

As for the 12 and 10-year-old Macclenny boys caught up in the Heritage Park destruction, perhaps their parents or guardians and the courts will converge to make this a turning point in their young lives.

Jim McGauley

Press publisher

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