By Andrea Arnold
Over the last week or so, four instances of actions taken by individuals showing disregard for others have been brought to my attention.
The first—and most public situation—is the vandalism at the Valemount Post Office. The actions not only placed worry and extra work on the people that were directly hit, but inconvenienced the whole town. Doors are now locked after hours, preventing people who work longer days from retrieving their mail.
Secondly, I discovered some creative and unkind words clearly written on the back of a very public building in McBride. The graffiti is visible from the nearby children’s play area.
My attention was also drawn to the destruction of the bench along Dominion Trail. Locals have commented that yes, the bench was cracked previously. However, it would have needed some help with a really large hammer and a lot of force to get to the state it is in now.
The fourth, although it is not a case of vandalism, is, in my mind, just as bad. The weekend was perfect for bonfires and gatherings on the sandbar along the Fraser. However, at least one group left behind a pile of ashes filled with nails and broken bottles. The area is frequented by dog walkers, vehicles and many people wanting to feel the sand between their toes.
All four of these examples scream lack of respect for others’ well-being. Actions of a few creating work for others, inconvenience, and potentially harm for many.
There are those in the community who step up to repair damages left by others. Shortly after the graffiti was discovered, individuals worked to remove the offensive words before too many people were affected by their cruel meanings. By the end of Monday, just a handful of hours after the pile of debris on the sandbar was made public through social media, most of the mess had been removed anonymously.
Why are these things happening? What is the motivation? What goes through an individual’s mind before acting in a manner expressing disrespect for their community? And what can we do as a community to prevent actions like these?
I do not believe the responsibility lies solely on the shoulders of those performing the actions. As community members, to keep our town safe and beautiful, we need to step up and be heard. If the chance to change an outcome for the better presents itself, sometimes, just a voice of reason and common sense can make a difference. Or, if you have witnessed an act of vandalism, report it to the RCMP (250-569-2255). Actions without consequences will continue, and potentially escalate. Together, we can prevent that from happening.