Signs of spring are everywhere: Tulips blooming on the slope in front of the public library, supermarket parking lots swept clean of winter gravel, and fresh graffiti sprawled over an entire back wall of Copper Mountain School . . . for the second time in two weeks.
As recently as February 12, School District 82 painted over two large rectangles of back wall to erase the handiwork of two different vandals.
You can tell this is done by two different people, one taller than the other. One works with several colours painting letters bloated as inner tubes used to float down a river. In two places four letters spelled out ZEST. The shorter vandal left a jumble of thin, black line squiggles.
Two days ago the same vandals – or so it would appear – defaced two new spots on another back wall.
The same colours and letter designs were used here too so it appears our neighbourhood harbours two vandals who operate as a team.
The taller one I may have seen one afternoon as I walked my dogs on the upper field.
He was loitering in a back corner where he could be seen only by someone approaching from the west, as I had, not either side of the school. At the time he wasn’t doing anything, just seemed uneasy, as though he were trying to look nonchalant until I left the area.
Perhaps he was waiting for his vandal partner to arrive and act as lookout.
I’ve not witnessed groups of kids playing games on either field, although I did see a couple of golf balls abandoned on the fringes, and one afternoon at about 3:30 a young lad walking toward the school carrying a golf club. But neither playing golf nor carrying a golf club is a crime, nor evidence of graffiti to come.
Graffiti anywhere on public property upsets me. It particularly upsets me after vandalism to the Dobbie Street bus shelter a year ago. RCMP dealt with the few loiterers responsible for that destruction and there has been no repeat since. Until this.
I take my community personally, feel all local residents are disrespected when some jerk does something senseless that forces my neighbourhood to resemble an inner city slum.
Painting over graffiti week after week not only eats up school district’s man hours but wastes tax dollars, when parents attend parent advisory council meetings crying out for more tax support to buy books, classroom supplies, and other educational needs for all students, even these delinquents.
Besides squandering precious tax dollars, occupying school district maintenance staff in never-ending futility, and making our neighbours look like undisciplined slobs, this graffiti is the “work” of two lone individuals. Not an epidemic of vandals. Just two.
Judging by the height of their graffiti, both these vandals are old enough to know better. They just choose to defy rules, as witnessed by them selecting the most out-of-sight wall of the school. If they were as show-off as they pretend, they’d spray the front walls where every passerby would be sure to see it.
If they haven’t been brought up to respect others’ property, it’s time their parents grow a backbone and give them a refresher course in community manners.
Instead of the school district repeatedly dealing with their blight, I’d like to see these boys’ parents step up and make the boys themselves tidy up.
Order them to paint over their graffiti using school board paint and quarter inch brushes. If the restoration occupies them much of a Saturday afternoon, fine. They’ll reduce the hours left to vandalize another public building.
Next time let them graffiti their dad’s garage or a wall of their house.