Hoping vandals learned a lesson

I have wrestled all my life trying to understand what motivates a person to commit a senseless negative act.

Try as I might, however, I still can’t comprehend why someone would want to destroy, defile, or deface something good in the community that benefits a significant portion of the population.

The latest example of such a situation occurred last weekend when two vandals destroyed a popcorn-themed floral display in front of Sanctuary Cinema in downtown Alpena. The display was there as part of the community Flower Festival.

The display was an oversized popcorn box with white flowers inside representing popcorn and yellow balloons representing butter. It was a very creative display that garnered much admiration until its destruction Saturday evening.

I also like stories that have satisfying endings, and, thankfully, in the case of the popcorn display, that is what happened.

Video surveillance cameras caught the two vandals in the act. Within a day after police made public a photo of the two, they were identified.

While the end result is satisfying, it still begs the question for me: Why would anyone do this?

Interviewed by The Alpena News about the incident, Sanctuary Cinema owner Jeff Konczak was rightly upset about what happened.

“It’s not cheap to do something like this and then some jerks go and try to ruin it for everyone,” he said.

And Konczak is right.

Do you think he won’t think twice next year about participating after what happened?

And it’s not about the money so much. As Konczak said in the news story, the vandalism deprived others of the opportunity to enjoy the display on Sunday.

“It’s just stupid,” Konczak said of the vandalism.

And it is.

Yet, despite that, Konczak was willing to give the vandals somewhat of a break, provided they learned a lesson from the incident and won’t repeat it in the future.

“They need to be held accountable to some degree, because we don’t want to see this type of problem get worse,” he said. “My hope is they learn a lesson from this.”

Last month, meanwhile, the new basketball courts near the skate park were vandalized. Years ago, Rotary Bridge, which spans from Rotary Island Mill Park across the Thunder Bay River to the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, was defaced.

The list could go on of other improvements in the community that have been damaged over the years.

I hope the quick action this week by police and cooperation of the community will serve as a deterrent in the future to those contemplating mischief.

Alpena has a lot going for it, so celebrate that reality together.

Bill Speer retired in 2021 as the publisher and editor of The News. He can be reached at bspeer@thealpenanews.com.


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