Editorial: Destruction of our environment is not just a kids game

Sunday Supplement
The editor voices his views on Moray’s most topical events of the past week…..

Easy target – but kids are not all to blame

It is often very easy to get carried away with a headline – goodness knows, I’m more aware of that than most having been taken to task several times as editor of insideMoray.

The current general election throws up some fine examples of this – actually, some ridiculous ones now that I mention it, sparked by news editors who appear to see Scots as a bigger threat to the Home Counties than Hitler was.

Don’t give up on this week’s editorial just yet though – it is not about politics, not this time around in any case!

Asides from the political posturing what has occupied people in Moray this week has been the behaviour of youth, who are blamed for destroying the fabric of local communities – if you are to believe at least one headline on our own website.

Vandalism is a curse on all who work hard in the community to improve our lot and that of our neighbours. That it destroys the will to do good things there can be little doubt – let’s face it, why bother working your socks off to improve, say, Lossiemouth’s Station Park if a bunch of spotty little eejits are going to come along one evening, decide they are bored and tear it all down?

That was certainly my personal observation when writing a headline that such vandalism was “destroying the will of the community”. A few calming days later and, well, it often pays to think things through.

The story in question came a mere 48 hours after another highlighting how over 180 people turned out in Hopeman to clear up their community, blighted as most are by lazy dog owners leaving behind parcels of joy that don’t exactly give a great impression of our way of life.

Many of those 180 were in the same age group that we are so quick to round on as the cause of the vandalism – and yet is allowing your dog to poop in the middle of a pathway not in itself just another form of the vandalism?

All the same both are major problems in Moray, problems that are costing us all not only great anguish but hard cash that could be put to better use in our communities than clearing up after an unruly minority. The point was made several times that blaming ‘bored youngsters’ is just picking on the easy target – in particular when there is just no real evidence that the culprits in the vandalism at Lossiemouth and on the Landshut Bridge in Elgin was perpetrated by kids.

So the result of all this is once again police issue an appeal for help. And once again it will by and large be ignored by the vast majority of the public, after all – who wants to be a snitch? Who wants to bring attention to themselves and so perhaps even become the next target of the vandals?

Is that really good enough? Is it not the case that having witnessed a wrong of any sort by keeping quiet about it you are every bit as guilty as the perpetrators themselves?

We have to accept that there are those in our communities who just do love living in such a beautiful part of the world but frankly don’t give a toss for keeping it that way. Such people though come in all ages, shapes and sizes and are not limited to being rash youths.

Fortunately, they are a minority – but the majority have to pay the price for their attitudes, a price that we can reduce simply by paying attention to what is going on around us and yes, being a ‘snitch’ because you care enough for it to stop.