Community needs time to come together, heal after vandalism

Published: 2/10/2017 2:19:02 PM

Over the weekend there was an act of vandalism in Greenfield, my hometown. Early reports have shown what looks like six teenagers knocking over displays from the annual ice festival.

As I spoke with family members about the incident, I learned that a relatively known person in town posted about it on Facebook. The post immediately garnered hundreds of reactions, comments and shares.

I am of course saddened by this act of vandalism and feel very badly for all of the artists who spent hours building their beautiful ice sculptures. But I am even more saddened for the teens who broke the ice sculptures. The amount of anger they must be living with is tremendous. The world has probably not been good to them, and while it doesn’t excuse their actions, it does help me make sense of it.

Instead of going onto Facebook and talking about how horrible they are, what if we used the opportunity to come together and begin to heal the community? It is not easy to do, but it is more of a step in the right direction as opposed to just bashing the people.

What if our conversation could start in a place of love for the teens, instead of outrage? That does not mean that we excuse what they did. If the police are successful in identifying them, is there an alternative form of justice that can be used in order to help them see themselves as a part of the community?

What if those teenagers knew that every person in the town cared about them, and their future success, and could forgive them for what they have done? I believe that only then can we begin to move forward and make progress together so this does not happen again.

Kathryn Hayes

New York, N.Y.


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