Friday, May 1, 2009

Don't cave to vandals

The people of Hailey are too big and proud to surrender to low-IQ vandals and community punks who've decided to mar the city's skate park with their petty mischief.

Closing the skate park is no answer. That would be outright capitulation to a small, fringe element whose talents lie in destruction, not in building a better community.

The skate park is the product of families and civic leaders joining to raise $500,000 for a premiere recreation facility, mostly for young people. The park's design has been recognized nationally.

Now the burden falls again on those who use and support the park. It's their responsibility to provide police with any information about misconduct at the park. To shrink from informing authorities out of a reluctance to "squeal" is another form of surrender to vandals and only encourages more wrongdoing. Their reward would be a trouble-free recreation area.

Video cameras that monitor critical community locations have been indispensable in solving crimes. The option as a policing tool requires virtually no manpower.

The criminal justice system can help, too. When caught damaging the park or interfering with lawful recreation, these bad apples could use heavy fines and perhaps detention to remedy their yen for public delinquency and cool their ardor for acting like street corner bullies.

Nothing speaks louder for a community than its determination to protect rights of the law-abiding and crack down on the lawless, no matter how petty or gross the incursion on the rights of others.

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