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What pleasure, satisfaction does vandalism bring?

July 10, 2010
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

It is more enjoyable to write about pleasant things and to bring good news to one's readers. There are times, however, when it becomes necessary to address unpleasant things as well.

We tend to "look the other way" when things happen that are unpleasant or destructive possibly thinking that if we ignore the situation(s) it (they) will go away. Unfortunately they don't. During the celebration of our nation's birth last weekend there were some incidents of vandalism and blatant disregard for others that marred an otherwise very enjoyable weekend.

We are the most intelligent beings on planet Earth. But all too often when it's convenient and no one individual can be blamed, we become careless, uncaring beings about our surroundings and the damage we do to them, and totally inconsiderate of our fellowman. One example of what I'm talking about is the town square when the Colgate Country Showdown show and fireworks were over Friday evening - it looked like a garbage dump.

People were asked repeatedly not to sit, stand or trample in the landscaped area and to be protective of it. Most moved when asked to do so, but as others gathered and found the square crowded they moved into the vacated landscaped area. Again they were asked to move - some did, others didn't. By the time it was fully dark the landscaped area was overrun with spectators who, as shown by their actions, couldn't care less about what the area would look like in the morning or what damage was done to the shrubbery. And the trash - unbelievable. Perhaps, in the future, the event should be held at the landfill. That way those who donate their time, energy and resources to prepare for and clean up after these events could just walk away from the mess, too and not have to worry about contracting "who knows what kind of disease" while getting back in order. This is an unacceptable travesty to every taxpayer whose money went into making this beautiful oasis in the middle of our town possible.

Those who prepared for the show placed trash receptacles at strategic locations throughout the square in hopes that people would use them - some did, a great many did not. I ask: Is it so terribly inconvenient to carry one's used food wrappers and drink containers to a nearby garbage can?

Let's move to the Elkins City Park and the pavilion for the car show. Many people gathered in the pavilion for the closing ceremonies. There they enjoyed soft drinks and snacks. Those of us who helped clean up after the show had to pick up empty soda cans and food wrappers left crushed on the floor no more than 5 or 6 feet from a garbage can.

Some of the tents erected in the park on Saturday morning were left there that night for use again on Sunday. A person or persons, still unknown and probably will forever remain so, took a sharp object and sliced a gaping hole in one of the tents, slashed the banners of several show sponsors and upset a porta-potty. Some damage estimates ran as high as more than $2,000. Now I ask: Why would anyone do these things? What satisfaction does one get from destroying the property of others? Is it that those who did these despicable acts have nothing and wish that others were as destitute as they?

In the area where all those beautifully restored automobiles, trucks, vintage originals and street rods were parked there was but little evidence that they had been there beyond the worn grass, and tire and foot prints. Those who brought their vehicles for the weekend to show and for the pleasure of visiting with old friends and making new ones left little trace of being there. They respect the rights of others and appreciate the blood, sweat and sacrifice it takes to acquire things of value in life and care for that which belongs to everyone.

It is each generation's desire to make things better for their offsprings, but have we in our desires to do so given the younger generations so much with so little knowledge of what it took to make these things possible that they have absolutely no notion of value of what's been given them? Have they been given so much so easily that they believe there is no need to treat with respect that which belongs to everyone - themselves included?

There was another display of disrespect and total disregard for others observed everywhere during the holiday festivities - smoking. Certainly there are some who know that smoking is offensive and harmful not only to themselves but to others as well and smoke discretely outdoors. Here again, it is mostly the older folks who are the considerate ones. All too many smokers, however, don't seem to understand, or care, that their smoking does bother and endanger the lives of those near by, especially the very young.

At the car show's closing ceremony I noticed several people, mostly young people (here we go again - but observations and facts are facts) smoking in the midst of the crowd during the ceremony with obvious and total disregard for those around them. Now, I suspect that if the person sitting beside the smoking offender did something that offended the smoker, the smoker would let that person know that he or she was being offended by their neighbor's actions.

Smokers are also notorious litterers - in some ways no worse, though, than those who leave their garbage for others to pick up. Cigarette butts, however, are, according to health studies, the most toxic form of personal litter left on the ground. Why is it that people who smoke think they have the right to throw their cigarettes butts to the ground, grind them out with their shoe and leave them?

What is happening to our society? It's becoming one of such total disregard for our fellow beings. How far does the pendulum have to swing in its present direction before we as a society say enough is enough and start caring for and respecting or fellowman and his property? The actions of many, unfortunately, clearly state that the offenders don't care for themselves either.


With all that goes in our community, county and surrounding counties, I can't help but wonder just how the saying ". . . the lazy hazy days of summer" came from. Hazy yes, lazy, hardly. For example, Durbin Days officially begins next Wednesday with several interesting events including a Greased Pig Contest. It runs through July 14.


Today is the last day of the Tygart Valley Homestead Homecoming. Scheduled activities include a parade, tours of the school, games for kids, hayrides, historic displays, craft sales and many other activities.


The 44th annual Pioneer Days celebration is going on in Marlinton this weekend. There's a whole host of fun things going on including the Grand Feature Parade that begins at 2 p.m. Not only is the celebration taking place in a lovely setting, the drive to get there is beautiful as well.



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