This has been the week for vandalism. This past weekend, as I rode a train from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago, I was stunned by the amount of graffiti I saw. Criminals had used spray paint to damage someone else’s property…lots of it. I was in Providence yesterday and saw more vandalism; unrecognizable symbols painted on signs, buildings, you name it. As always, one word instantly came to my mind when I think about the people who commit vandalism, but I’ve been hesitant to use it on the air.
Coincidentally, when I returned to Connecticut late yesterday, I was saddened by yet another vandalism story, yet thrilled to read that one of my fellow journalists had used that very word that has been on the tip of my tongue whenever I report on vandalism: loser.
Helen Ubinas of the Hartford Courant used the word to describe the vandals who trashed an historic tree in Elizabeth Park. Here is a brief, yet eloquent excerpt from one of Helen’s reports:
“It’s unclear what city officials and cops are doing about this right now, but may I suggest they take this seriously and go after these losers? “
Losers is the perfect word to label vandals. Think about it. We are talking about someone who thinks it is a great idea to go into a store, buy spray paint, climb a wall in some cases, and then deface property with jibberish. Other vandals, er, losers, are much more destructive.
The same night a group of troublemakers was whittling away at a tree, some other vandals in Ansonia were breaking windshields, slashing tires, even puncturing a backyard swimming pool. I don’t think anyone would argue those Valley vandals are…losers. This came days after some other losers slashed 93 tires on school buses in New Milford. What kind of sick person does this? A loser.
I’ve been a victim of vandalism. My car was keyed by, yes, a loser.
So thank you Helen Ubinas for saying what should been said a long time ago, something many of us have been thinking for a long time.
Thanks so much for this, Dennis. I so hope Helen’s and your focus on this quality of life vandalism issue gets a lot of attention and effects some long-lasting change.
Thanks to Helen’s and Vanessa de la Torre’s quick interest and action, people learned about the sad vandalism of the Elizabeth Park tree. I am so grateful to them and to all the reporters who told the public about the tree. We would just love to teach the vandals/losers about the precious horticulture in their city’s park and perhaps change their lives in the process.