While I can understand some types of crime, I’m at an absolute loss to understand vandalism, where one person harms an unknown person, just because….
I can understand some forms of criminality and destruction, even though neither appeals to me. I understand, for example, why people steal. You have something and they want it. They may want it for the thing itself or for its monetary worth, but the impulse is to fulfill a desire.
I can understand graffiti and tagging. They’re both nasty destructions of personal property, but they’re also a way for people to say “I am here” or “I was here” — and, in the case of tagging, it’s kind of like a dog lifting its leg to mark territory.
I can even understand murder, although I’m grateful to be entirely in control of that base impulse. For people without that control, ridding the world of someone irritating, unpleasant, noisy, blocking access to money or treasure — all of those things may justify murder.
But what I really, really can’t understand is people who key cars. They don’t take anything away from it, as would be the case with stealing. It’s not an artistic statement, as could be the case with graffiti, nor is it tagging, because it’s just a squiggled line. And it’s not like murder, either random or targeted, because murder is a huge statement that removes someone who is in your way.
Keying a car, though — there’s nothing big about it, there’s no lasting sense of having done it, there’s no artistry. It’s just a petty, random meanness against an unknown person merely because you can.
As you’ve all probably guessed at this point, someone keyed my car, defacing both the driver’s door and the driver’s side door passenger door (although the above picture is not my car, it’s a representative image). I would neither kill nor assault the person who did that if he or she were dragged before me, but I would want to ask him/her “Why?” . . . and have that person pay for the damages. As it is, to keep my car from rusting (and to keep the OCD side of me from going crazy), I have to tap my insurance company for vandalism repair. Feh!
In all the years I lived in the Bay Area, I had my wallet stolen and my car window smashed and my car rifled. When I was a child, during the hippie years, someone broke into our house. But that was the Bay Area. One expected it. But here I am, living in a sweet, safe suburb in a nice part of the Southeast and someone decided that it would be good for giggles and kicks to make someone else — someone completely random — unhappy.
Irked. I’m really irked.
Image credit: Keyed car (cropped) from Wikipedia.