Sunday, August 08, 2021

Don't tolerate vandals, vandalism

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for July 7, 2021)

The article in last week's paper about the problem of restroom vandalism in Clovis city parks struck a chord with me. I've seen the results myself.

I realize the people who vandalize park restrooms aren't the kind of people who read newspapers. Nor much of anything else for that matter. I'm going to express my contempt for those reprehensible creatures anyway.

The most useless thing in the world is a park without restroom facilities. If you're going to have a park, you need the facilities. It doesn't matter if you're the parent of a small child who waits until the last minute to tell you they "need to go... NOW", or an adult who has to interrupt a family visit to the park in a desperate attempt to find a nearby fast food restaurant with a public restroom-- which was even harder to find in the era of "take out only" under Covid-19 hysteria.

If I sound like I speak from experience, it's because I do.

I never excuse taxation and don't want it used to fund anything, even things I like, including parks or their restrooms. But what kind of a dimwit vandalizes restrooms? I'd guess they are the kind of people who will relieve themselves on a picnic table or on someone's lawn, just because they are too self-centered to care about others.

Vandalism and litter are two things I can't think of any excuse for doing. If you ask me, both are as irresponsible as cluttering the world with legislation.

Vandalizing tax-funded property can only have one of two results-- either those damaged properties get repaired, costing even more stolen money (you might call it "public funds"), or they get taken away so that no one will have them. Don't count on getting a tax rebate due to fewer available facilities, though. It's not going to happen.

How can this problem be solved? My suggestion would be to let local businesses and individuals build, own, and maintain park restrooms. Let them protect their facilities however they see fit. I would hope security cameras inside the restrooms are off the table, but there have to be other clever solutions.

What can you do? Don't tolerate vandals. Anyone who vandalizes anything is your enemy. They are violating you and me. Don't vandalize anything in my presence and expect me to laugh about it or ignore it. I won't. It's completely unacceptable.

(The week after this was published, vandals struck the city aquatic center. And a week or so later, vandals broke the glass in both outer doors of a Family Dollar near my house.)

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  1. Outdoor cameras with facial recognition software and a fingerprint reading lock on the exterior door. Require both a good facial scan and fingerprint read in order to enter. That should work perfectly for most areas. In real problem areas, interior cameras with powered lens covers could be utilized. In order to protect people's privacy, it could work something like this:
    1. Look into the camera while touching the fingerprint reader. The interior cameras record the state of the bathroom, then cover themselves with physical lens covers.
    2. The exterior door unlocks, the person(or group) may enter. Interior cameras remain covered, exterior door locks to prevent additional people from entering.
    3. When the group exits, the exterior door lockout is disabled and the cameras are returned to a ready state. A warning message is played in case anyone remains behind. The next time a person or group attempts to enter, a new set of photos are taken prior to permitting entry.

    1. I can see that working. No, I wouldn't really like it, but it might be better than not having a restroom available. And you aren't forced to use the restroom, either (nor fund it in my suggestion).

  2. I wonder if the individual/s were angry about actions the state had taken against them.

    1. I had considered that, but they aren't hurting the state if that's their excuse.