Today, I walked out to the parking lot and saw the gut-wrenching, vilifying, nightmarish scene all car lovers and owners hope to never come across. Was it a hit-and-run? No. Was it an empty parking space with nothing but a few drops of oil and skid marks to denote where my car had been just the night before? No. It was something else, something just as bad: vandalism. Some young, nefarious, immature lowlifes with whom we all have the pleasure of sharing this campus with decided that it would be a fine idea to spend their Friday night ravaging and defaming the prized personal possessions of others with derogatory and inappropriate remarks. This is most certainly not the first time parking lot vandalism has occurred, and sadly it almost certainly won’t be the last.
For most college students, their car (however old or dented or unloved it may be) is the most valuable asset they own. Buying a car represents the result of hard work and long hours for little pay, and ownership represents freedom, escape, and mobility. A person’s car often represents who someone is, whether it is through something as simple as the color or as meaningful as the culmination of a project that caused many long nights in the garage and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on the garage floor. To wantonly deface and defile this most prized personal possession – it is an act of disgrace and a blatant disrespect for the struggles many students had to go through to afford to purchase their car. Of course, these vagrants probably know little about upstanding ideals such as hard work and the pursuit of goals; their hands, while well versed in filthy deeds, are as smooth and virgin as fresh fallen snow.
The thing that mystifies me most is how someone can commit such an act against their fellow peer, classmate, and possibly even friend – a person who has done nothing to aggravate or agitate the vandal. The perps themselves – they breath the same air, take the same classes, feel the same feelings of happiness and love and joy and loss and regret and all the other great and various emotions of the human heart, as the victims affected by this petty and asinine crime. And yet they continue to scuttle like cockroaches among the many upstanding students on campus, enshrouded in ignorance and somehow blind to the malice of their acts. How do these ne’er do wells, these good for nothings, proceed to find in themselves the justification of randomly defiling the property of others whom they know nothing about and then afterwards go soundly to sleep?
If I could administer justice for all those affected by this latest slew of campus vandalism – and for that matter all on-campus vandalism – I’d introduce those walking piles of trash to a big tall tree and a short bit of rope. Or maybe let them try the cool, refreshing taste of Prestone. That would put to bed any more of this nonsensical juvenile behavior that everyone else grew out of in seventh grade. But would these retaliations really be justice? Many believe that an eye for an eye makes both parties square. But in doing so, I would be lowering myself to the same deplorable level these scum live and thrive in.
Instead, I would like to see a longer term, encompassing solution that gets to the root of the matter. An answer that penetrates the psychological, emotional and moral issues that have taken hold of the vagrant’s mind like a thunbergia vine grapples and strangles the tree it victimizes. At this point, such a solution may be hard to direct – twenty or so years of muck and rot stemming from lack of guidance and proper parenting is difficult to correct, unless through some sort of revelation the vandal himself can see the beauty of truth, respect, and honesty. But to bank on salvation of such an individual is to bet on a mule at the Kentucky Derby. Still, I hope that one day these disreputable degenerates find within themselves the strength of character and moral values that have to this point eluded them. Until then, let us collectively hope that their childish and remorseful acts of defacement no longer continue to plague our campus for the rest of the semester.