Be­hav­ing badly

The Compass - - OPINION - — Melissa Jenk­ins

Last week an ex­tremely in­sen­si­tive crime was com­mit­ted in Car­bon­ear. A fu­neral home — a place of mourn­ing and re­spect — was treated with sheer dis­re­gard, with rocks thrown through two of its win­dows and the door kicked in.

The un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent took place at Slades Fu­neral Home, a fam­ily-owned busi­ness with a rep­u­ta­tion for com­pas­sion and sup­port dur­ing times of grief.

There was no one wak­ing at the time but the pub­lic had no way of defini­tively know­ing that.

The van­dal’s or van­dals’ bla­tant dis­re­gard for the dead is un­set­tling. If some­one has the au­dac­ity to van­dal­ize a fu­neral home, how far will they go?

Some res­i­dents have sug­gested that it would have been a less heinous crime if it had been a con­ve­nience store or re­tail out­let. That is ridicu­lous.

A crime is a crime and should be pun­ish­able as such.

The wan­ton dis­re­gard for some­one else’s prop­erty hap­pens in ev­ery com­mu­nity. It may not al­ways be vis­i­ble, but it is hap­pen­ing.

RCMP of­fi­cers have ad­mit­ted that is­sues like van­dal­ism come in spurts and of­ten is car­ried out by re­peat of­fend­ers. Ob­vi­ously some peo­ple don’t learn a les­son af­ter their first ar­rest. And that’s not a phe­nom­e­non limited to van­dal­ism.

Too many times the me­dia has re­ported on peo­ple rack­ing up thou­sands of dollars in fines for mo­tor ve­hi­cle in­frac­tions and peo­ple driv­ing with­out a li­cence or in­sur­ance, yet th­ese delin­quents are still driv­ing and still break­ing the law.

Why aren’t the ve­hi­cles im­pounded and used as pay­ment to­wards their fees? How come most of th­ese driv­ers walk away with more fines?

Sure our pris­ons are over­flow­ing, our court dock­ets are over­loaded and jus­tice staff have been cut, but if the crim­i­nals keep get­ting let off with a slap on the wrist they will con­tinue to be crim­i­nals and con­tinue to clog up the sys­tem.

Vic­tims of crimes de­serve jus­tice, in­clud­ing the Slade fam­ily.

It is time for the jus­tice sys­tem to be­gin mak­ing an ex­am­ple out of crim­i­nals by hold­ing them ac­count­able for the crimes they have com­mit­ted and, maybe, if they are caught early enough, they can change their ways be­fore be­com­ing a hard­ened crim­i­nal.

A fine won’t end crime, but real jus­tice is a good start.

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