October 2, 2008 · Updated 11:52 PM
Last week, we ran a letter from Jeff Mitchell from the Snoqualmie Valley Little League outlining recent vandalism and the discovery of an airgun hidden at Torguson Park in North Bend. This week we are running a story on a teenager who not only is alleged to have hit a local business owner over the head, but is also accused of needing to satisfy his appetite for alcohol by stealing beer from a local store.
There are also several locations in the Valley that seem to be getting "tagged" by people who really have nothing better to do than create work for the rest of us.
I don't know about you but I get really irritated when idiots like that decide they have nothing better to do than destroy or take from those around them. What makes me more concerned is the fact that school isn't even out, but then again, maybe the people doing these things don't even go to school or are adults.
So what is "just punishment" for someone vandalizing Torguson Park? First, they get at least a couple hundred hours of community service. Assign them summer work for zero pay with the North Bend parks department. For every hour of time they waste, they get two more hours. If they work hard and pay a fine, then the incident is behind them. The fine is key, and if they are a minor, their parents should also be responsible for a portion of the fine. After all, something is wrong with their value system and I think we get our value system from our parents.
Another part of the punishment should be to wear a bright orange vest to signify that they are doing community service. A little humility goes a long way toward curbing bad behavior. If I thought it would actually happen, I would also make the parents wear something. Maybe a vest that says, "My kid got caught doing something bad." Or, maybe, a bumper sticker, similar to those for honor students, that says "my child was arrested for vandalism." If it's determined that an adult is doing the vandalism, the bumper sticker should say, "I was arrested for vandalism."
The incident in Fall City has me more upset than the vandalism. A local business owner, trying to make a dollar, is allegedly attacked in her store. Not only does that affect her bottom line, it affects her sense of security. Will she ever want to work alone in the store again? What if it was an employee? How would you feel as an employer if one of your employees was attacked?
In this case, the alleged perpetrator is obviously lacking any values. Several years locked up should help him find his value system. We don't know all the details of his life or reasons for his warped way of thinking, but we can't just always blame it on a broken home. Do the crime, do the time; that has to be our thinking and if we stick to that, maybe it will make someone think twice.
One of the things I have wanted to do for some time is have a link on our Web site that shows a map with a picture of a convicted perpetrator, the location of the crime, a description of the crime and the perpetrator's current location. For instance, Walla Walla state prison or a current address. It has all information currently available through public resources and in this case, information is power, and maybe a great deterrent.
Tagging is becoming an epidemic in the Valley. It costs us all money in increased prices at local stores, or it costs us taxpayer money for cleanup at public locations. None of the tagging around the Valley is even closely artistic. It's more of a nuisance and degrades the look of our community. Vigilance is what it will take to curb this activity.
We all need to keep our eyes and ears open, taking the time to look around as we drive down the street and reporting suspicious behavior rather than avoiding or ignoring it. Taggers should receive heavy fines for their actions. They should then have to clean off their tagging while wearing a bright orange vest that indicates their crime.
It's my opinion that we are becoming complacent in dealing with people who break the law. We have been teaching our kids tolerance for years and some of that has turned to bite us. We are too quick to come up with reasons for unacceptable behavior rather than doling out punishment.
If you see something suspicious, dial 911 and report it.