Enlighten Me - Why do people vandalize?

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Over the weekend we were hit by vandals. The damage is extensive and we found our homeowners insurance doesn't cover vandalism/malicious mischief. Obviously we are working on changing our insurance company! We were hit bad with no chance of pursuing justice.

But anyway, my 12 year old DD is totally shocked that anyone could do this and wants to know why they would want to and what they get out of it. I am actually at a loss as to what to tell her that doesn't scare her. She's worried about people trying to break in the house now. I haven't said anything to my 4yo DS, who doesn't know that his Little Tykes car was dragged to the road and run over by the hoodlums car.

BTW - Anyone want to buy a vandalized 85 Suburban in Wisconsin? The engine & tranny are practically new, but now with the body damage, its gonna be hard to sell!

To borrow my mom's lines...OY VEY and "this too shall pass"!

-- Lisa in WI (llehman16@hotmail.com), March 13, 2002


Oh Lisa, I am so sorry this happened to your family. I wish I knew why people do this. Sometimes I think our home owners insurance is a joke, too. My thought and prayers are with your family. Now if I could just stop the hoodlums from using our mailbox as batting practice. Nancy

-- Nancy (georgiaattitude@aol.com), March 13, 2002.

Lisa, I'm wondering why you say you have no chance of pursuing justice. In rural areas it's usually pretty easy to figure out the culprits. Unless someone has a problem with you it's likely kids in the area. If the police start interviewing them there's a good chance at least one will talk.

-- Dave (multiplierx9@hotmail.com), March 13, 2002.

If it is like our area----the police can know who did it & nothing is done-- & our county attorney will do squat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It depends on who did it!!!!!!!!!----as to if anything is done or not-

Sometimes the rural areas are the worst about that---in bigger areas we have had the experience it didn't matter as the laws pretained to EVERYONE!!!! We have found in small areas---that it depends on "who" you are & what family you are a part of!!!!

We have been there---had several thousand dollars done to our business----we knew who did it & had them on film----couldn't get anyone to do anything!!!!!!

Best wishes!!!!!

-- Sonda in Ks. (sgbruce@birch.net), March 13, 2002.

Dave, the whole community pretty much knows who did it, but we have to have PROOF! We can't go up to someones door and beat the stuffings out of someone, although I'm seriously thinking about it. As for my twelve-year-old granddaughter, I don't blame her for being afraid as I am very careful about security. My doors are always locked and, if we aren't home, we make certain that the house still looks occupied. But, the neighbors can't really see one anothers homesteads and the vandals hit at night. As for why they did it! Add alcohol to a few idiots and this is what you get!

-- Ardie/WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), March 13, 2002.

So sorry Lisa, that is an awful thing to go through. I do hope the vandals are caught, if it is kids it seems like they usually talk eventually.

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (me@home.net), March 13, 2002.

I'm with Melissa, these people are cowards, and are eventually going to start to brag about how tough and scary they are; someone will eventually spread the story to the right ears. Mention to your friends children about keeping an ear out about any such stories. I hope you catch them; vandalization is just to totally senseless.

Good luck, and I hope you sell the 'burban; my '86 runs great, only trouble I have is with a/c system down here. I'll bet a farmer might be interested; Suburbans carry TONS of stuff pretty well.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (jrguerra@boultinghousesimpson.com), March 13, 2002.

Oh, Lisa, I am so sorry, that is so dreadful! That kind of thing makes me so mad!!!!

Something like that happened here a couple of years ago-we were lucky we wern't hit but others were-everybody knew the kids involved but a couple of them were sons of "leading Citizens" so nothing was done-it was laughed off as "boys being boys" it got to the point were one of these kids, if I remember correctly, actually set fire to a resteraunt bathroom on a school field trip! But he was a leading point scorer on the school basketball team so he actually somehow got off as long as he "recieved counciling" but then these kids made the mistake of trying to steal someones calf-they called it a "practical joke" but they were caught red-handed and the owner of the cow was not at all amused by the "joke". So the kids then had to go to day treatment, (a day long councing school program for troubled kids) the one kids father was so outraged that he threatened to resign (he was a teacher at the high school!) but there was nothing then they could do-these kids were facing criminal charges! he did in fact resign, the kids had to go to day treatment-Im not sure how the court proceding went-they were minors and those records are sealed, but I know that the one kid ended up going to a small college-his dreams of playing basketball for UK shattered.

The stupid thing was, none of these kids were abused they all came from good homes, (spoiled rotten, though, if you ask me) they had everthing they needed and most of what they wanted-so why then did they do that? I have no idea except that they wern't taught responsability and accountibility at home.

Hopefully "your" vandels will be caught and dealt with. In the mean time-is there anything we can do to help? You have my thoughts and prayers today.

-- Kelly (homearts2002@yahoo.com), March 13, 2002.

Oh, I am SO sorry!! Vandalism is one of my pet peeves. It seems rural areas are not immune to it, in fact may be even more likely to be hit. We live outside of a small town and many places here (usually businesses) are vandalized frequently. Occasionally someone drives through town at night and shoots out many windows and glass doors, damages headstones in the cemetary, destroys trees in the parks, or does serious damage to public property like bridges or buildings. A few years ago we had a "club" of young men who gutshot deer and elk and left them to die in agony. Later it was cattle and then horses. One of our more recent problems has been the vandalizing of memorials to Armed Forces heroes.

Our town used to be a place where few people locked doors. However, over the last 7-8 years we've seen rapid growth here, primarily people moving here from California and also from the bigger cities in Oregon. Many of these people are well to do, and the kids are left to "entertain" themselves while mom and dad earn more money. Our police force here is very good and our judges are pretty sensible, so many of these kids/young adults are caught and punished but it seems like trying to use a sieve to catch the drops from a leaky roof. In almost ALL the vandalism cases, someone talks eventually and the vandals are arrested. That seems to be an common denominator among these creeps, seeking admiration for their brave deeds. They just HAVE to brag about it to someone. Our neighbor is a retired judge and he always punished vandals to the fullest extent of the law. Said they were the one criminal who had no "reason" for committing a crime, not poverty, not revenge, etc., just did it for the fun of causing misery to someone else.

Our home has never been hit, but someone is home here most of the time and we have good neighbors who watch out for each other. We keep several good watch dogs and we're well armed. And no, I woudn't shoot someone over a mailbox bashing, but if someone enters your house in the middle of the night, how do you know if their intentions are to vandalize or to kill you? If they are in my house uninvited, they risk their lives. We are also getting several Livestock Guardian Dogs, who should be a help in making criminals think there would be easier places to hit. I hate that it is getting to the point where we have to resort to these measures, but I don't know how else to deal with people who have no conscience.

Lisa, your daughter's fears are valid. Quite often these creeps come back. My folks recently bought a house in a "secure" neighborhood, complete with round the clock guards and the whole works. They and many other neighbors were hit repeatedly. One elderly lady sat in her bedroom crying (with her big dog going berserk trying to get out and get to the criminals) while they ransacked her living room. My folks' new car was stolen and demolished only a few miles away. It was full of stolen goods from many other homes. This was done nightly for many weeks despite the security guards, police patrols, and neighbors banding together in round the clock patrols. My folks were hit twice and stopped a third break-in in progress. They were home all 3 times.

-- Lenette in OR (kigervixen@webtv.net), March 13, 2002.

That's a real shame Ardie. You don't always need proof if someone admits. I agree kids usually talk whether through fear or just to get another kid in trouble. I'm asssuming it's kids or young adults anyway(I hope not grown adults).

What Lenette said is very true, many times they come back since they got away with it before.

-- Dave (multiplierx9@hotmail.com), March 13, 2002.

We had a cure for it when I was a kid, it was called rock salt and it was issued from a shotgun barrel and it worked. I think the fact is that we all were born a 100 years to late.

-- mitch hearn (moopups@citlink.net), March 13, 2002.

Mitch, when the vandals did their damage, no one was home and it was in the night. I realy agree with you though. Unfortunately, say I shot someone with rock salt, they can sue me for injuries to their little behinds!

-- Ardie/WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), March 13, 2002.

Lenette, it is my understanding from the news that OR is not the place to move to if you want more money with all the unemployment. I would venture to say too that they were probably awful kids before they got to OR, not that where they were from had that much to do with it:)

I do agree with some of the posters who mentioned that lack of law enforcement seems to be a rural thing more than a city thing (although that too can depend upon the neighborhood). As to not police not prosecuting vandals even when you had video evidence, another option is always going to the local paper (perhaps the weekly, more likely the county daily) with it, and if that doesn't do it, the local TV stations love that kind of story--to the horror of elected officials.

Lisa, if you want, you should make sure everyone at least in your local area (especially if it is one of those agent companies) knows what a deadbeat insurance company this is, and again, this could also be written up in a letter to the editor, or even better, again go to your local TV consumer reporter and shame the company into a settlement, or at least get them some bad press.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), March 13, 2002.

Lisa, how awful! That just infuriates me. People who do such things were never taught to respect other people's property and feel everyone owes them something. I always say, what comes around, goes around. They'll get theirs some day, not that you are concerned about revenge. Blessings to you and your family.

-- Barb in Ky. (bjconthefarm@yahoo.com), March 13, 2002.


I didn't make myself very clear. I fully agree that these kids were undoubtedly doing the same thing wherever they were before moving here. The parents aren't moving here to earn more money, but they can sell out in CA and buy here for a fraction of the price. While land here definately isn't cheap, it's still apparently much cheaper than in CA. These people build their multi-million dollar homes and many start up businesses here.

Whatever the parents do for a living, they're not taking care of their kids. They state they want to move here and get away from the crime, traffic, smog, etc. etc. but in many cases they are bringing their lifestyle with them. They build a mansion across from a mill and then want the city to put the mill out of business and tear it down because the smokestacks are "ruining their view". Build next to a ranch and then run out and SHOOT the rancher's cattle when the cattle wandered onto their property. They walk into a business, restaurant or doctor's office and demand to be waited on ahead of everyone else because they have money and are supposed to be somebody important. I have no problem with people being from any particular place, only when they bring attitudes with them.

And yes, unemployment is supposed to be sky-high here. I certainly wouldn't move here in hopes of getting a high paying job right now, but there are jobs. Depends on how picky you are. Our particular town is too small to employ many people in normal times, but I could get a job this afternoon if I had a need to.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), March 13, 2002.

LISA THE WAY I HANDLED THIS I POSTED A 500.00 REWARD and when their buddy told on them i made his parents pay for all the damage and the reward money. parents are still liable for under age childrens actions. Bob se.ks.

-- Bobco (bobco@kans.com), March 13, 2002.

What I can't figure out is...why my truck which my daughter drives and parks full time at a Baptist University in Ok., they like to cut out the back window so when she drives home on Fridays the window goes to pieces and glass is everywhere. The bill is 400 dollars each time and it is not insured either plus..I can't let her drive around without a window. The damage takes places on the Christian University. Go figure.

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), March 14, 2002.

Debbie, at many of the K-12 Christian schools, there are more non-Christian than Christian kids. Parents often send them there after the kids have been kicked out of the public schools, hoping the Christian schools will straighten them out. I imagine there are a number of reasons non-Christian parents would send their kids to Christian universities and colleges also.

There are always people who masquerade as Christians. You see them in churches, political offices and of course, universities. Some people like to be known as a Christian, in days gone by being a church-goer used to give them a better standing in their communities. Some people probably think they ARE Christians because they attend church. Simply being a church-goer doesn't make you a Christian or change your heart.

Then there are those who are Christians, but are living a life unworthy of their Savior. Hopefully most of these are new Christians and their attitudes and behavior will change as they grow in the Lord. Unfortunately some will continue much of their pre-Christian behavior, causing their Lord much sorrow. Anyway, that probably leaves Christian kids in the minority, even at a "Christian" university. Hopefully your daughter will be a good example to the rest.

-- Lenette in OR (kigervixen@webtv.net), March 14, 2002.

Actually Lenette I think the vandalism at OBU is from off campus people. At least I am hoping it is. Some of the cars the other night were sprayed paint. Luckly not mine. Now the campus has had delivered mail with power in it so you guess was authorities had to test for and close the campus up, poor kids were scared to death. I do know that your right that not everyone going to a Christian school is but I feel good about this one and do hope it is off campus vandals.

Lisa, you have to tell your daughter the truth, I think. Unless she is real little, I wouldn't tell your boy though if he is under five or so. The trouble is she might be scared of everyone. I always protected my girls from stuff like that and their both in colleges (different ones) seeing first hand the cruilities of the world.

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), March 14, 2002.

I've given this a bit of thought, Lisa, and I think that there are a few reasons why people vandalize. One of the bigger one is inner ANGER. We both know how a troubled young person, with some disabilities, plus a less-than-happy home, can and will react. Add alcohol to that mixture, and there is trouble! I think that it started out as a prank (playing on the trampoline) and escalated from there. We have both seen impulsive behavior and I think that was also an issue. I'm NOT condoning this behavior, by no means. And, I'm afraid the young people that did this are in for some rough times. Let's hope they don't hurt themselves or others.

-- Ardie/WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), March 15, 2002.

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