You know you are tough when.
On Monday of last week, Blackfalds RCMP responded to a complaint of vandalism to the Blackfalds cemetery. Several flowers and vases had been damaged, as well as lights and grave ornaments left by loved ones. Broken slabs of granite were also located, as the cemetery cenotaph had also been damaged.
The next day, three youths, whose identities are protected under the Young Offenders Act, turned themselves in to Blackfalds RCMP in the presence of their parents and guardians. No charges have been laid as yet and the investigation is ongoing.
First of all, thank you to the families of these three individuals for helping them make the right decision to turn themselves in. Secondly, what in the world was going on in the heads of these individuals that made them think it would be a good idea to go and desecrate the final resting place for hundreds of people?
There is nothing cool or macho about vandalism. It’s a crime, simple as that.
Vandalism mars landscapes and the beauty of any area where it happens. It is hard to imagine a lower form of petty crime.
Of course, any kind of vandalism is awful, but there is something particularly despicable about vandalizing a graveyard. It might have something to do with what a cemetery actually is.
This is a place for the dead. A place for them to be remembered, honoured and respected. It is not some kind of playground for punks to show off how cool or tough they think they are by beating up gravestones, smashing flower vases or otherwise maiming what are usually beautiful areas designed to be the final resting places of the dead.
Thankfully, it appears that no headstones were damaged in this incident.
Headstones are perhaps the most important objects in a cemetery as they serve as markers for the dead. In a way, when people die, their headstones become their identities in the cemetery.
However, these vandals felt it appropriate to attack a different marker in the cemetery. One for those whose bodies could not be buried in the cemetery — the cenotaph. Again, it is hard to think of a lower form of disrespect.
When someone is disrespectful in a graveyard, it is akin to being disrespectful to the people buried there. It is not acceptable to disrespect people while they are living, so why should it be acceptable to be rude, or downright insolent to people after they have stopped breathing?
There are some lines you just don’t cross. This is one of them