Our View: Misdirected message
There’s some debate about whether it’s appropriate to condemn acts of vandalism in the newspaper.
For one thing, it’s a rather obvious point. People should know better than to break the law. Moreover, reporting on such acts gives the violators a sense of accomplishment. They get attention — more than they deserve — for defacing someone’s property.
Still, we thought that the recent rash of graffiti at the courthouse and the courthouse annex was an opportunity to remind people that there’s a right way and a wrong way to make a statement.
Tagging the public’s property with malicious statements about our local law enforcement officials is the wrong way.
What message did the graffiti artist really send? That he or she is a coward. Scribbling derogatory messages under the cover of darkness instantly undermines the credibility of the message. County residents, whose tax dollars are spent cleaning up the mess, just see a stupid, senseless act.
Graffiti is detrimental to property values and adversely affects quality of life. It makes our community seem less livable. Left unchecked, graffiti can lead to more graffiti and other acts of vandalism. So public officials have little choice but to remove it as quickly as they can.
Hopefully, Moffat County residents feel a sense of outrage and will help police find whoever is responsible for the graffiti.
Crime Stoppers of Moffat County actively seeks out ways to assist police with solving crimes. This includes giving cash awards to people who provide information that leads to arrest. We urge anyone with information about the graffiti to call the anonymous tip line at 824-3535.
Last year, a group of residents exercised their constitutional right to criticize the government. They organized a protest in front of the courthouse and carried signs. We covered that story, listened to their grievances and then talked to local law enforcement authorities about whether probation and parole officers are overly aggressive in carrying out their duties.
That was a good example of the right way to make a statement. The protestors had the courage of their convictions to stand up and be accountable for their statements. They got some answers — maybe not the ones they wanted, but they got answers.
“I feel like people are entitled to their opinion, but they should find a better way to express it than writing it on the courthouse,” said David Waite, a local lawyer who was inside the courthouse last Thursday as county workers scrubbed the graffiti from the building.
We agree. And we hope that the gaffiti vandal will learn that he or she is doing a disservice to the entire community with his misdirected information campaign.
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Across seven games, Moffat County High School football had not yet been on the wrong side of the scoreboard this fall.