Grand Falls-Windsor is becoming the victim of wanton destruction by mere youth whose parents let them roam wild and do what they want.
Just recently, a small group of boys once again made their way up a local town street smashing lawn ornaments and tearing up plants.
Once again, the homeowner has to not only bear the cost of replacement but also loses the full pleasure of their garden because plants do not regenerate in a few hours, nor can all homeowners easily shell out more dollars for lawn ornaments and lawn furniture.
These youth seem to know the litany. You can't touch us. You can't try us in court and hold us responsible for what we do. We are underage.
Maybe they are correct in that assertion, but that will change as society realizes this surrealistic drama must not allowed to be restaged again and again as property owners are in the wings, totally helpless, as this silly and wanton drama unfolds again and again.
In today's society, it is not according to Hoyle to demand some redress for this wanton destruction because those children are not legally responsible. Well, there is a Latin phrase "in loco parentis," which means "in the place of a parent." In law, it refers to the public policy power of the state to intervene against an abusive or negligent parent and remove the children from an environment of neglect and abuse.
Surely, with kids who are allowed to roam at leisure all hours of the night and destroy the property of others (in many cases the property of the aged who love their gardens and seek comfort in them), surely it is time to invoke this practice of having the kids removed from those homes and placed under the care of the state. Surely no one would argue such kids are not victims of abuse.
But before we proceed to that step we need to give those parents the litmus test of true parenthood.
When a child is determined to be responsible for destruction in our communities, the bill for such destruction must land immediately in the lap of the parent(s), whether they are working parents or parents on social assistance. If the parent fails to pay this bill, that parent is also abrogating her/his responsibility as a parent and a member of a civilized society.
If the parent is on social assistance, it is doubly insulting because now not only are you the victim losing directly, but your tax dollars are supporting the destruction through support monies to that family. It is comparable to an assault victim paying his aggressor to punch him in the face, obviously a situation that defies all logic.
No parent, whether working or on social assistance, should be allowed to say "Sorry, I can't pay the bill." Why? Because it destroys the economic basis of our society.
If I incur a debt to you, I must pay it.
If you incur a debt to me, you must pay it. I am sure a few court attachments of wages or social assistance would draw that parent out of the reverie in which they see themselves as victims of fate where everyone must make exceptions for them.
Depending on the parents response, the next step could be the implementation of loco parentis or finding substitute parents whether through a foster home or as a ward of the state.
At that point the parents may realize that they were not true parents but just paternal enablers, a mere biological process of which even the most basic species can lay claim to.
Societies are premised on law and common sense. Maybe it's time our legislators stopped ineffectively spending billions on gun control and calculating the opportune time for another grab for power, and took a closer look at our next generation of kids and some effective legislation that would ensure they become contributors, not just bratty and destructive takers.
And let us not forget that anger directed at personal property often leads to anger directed at the owners of such properties.
In short, a cracked flower pot has a way of turning into a cracked skull. Wanton kids don't hate what they are destroying; they hate society and their failure to achieve positive things.
We need to redirect their energies and give them a moral compass - but first we need to get their attention and that of their parents.