Confronting a Vandal At Frontier Park

When I went to Frontier Park to pick the kids up from practice today, I was waiting with another of the cross country parents, and I observed a kid doing a bit of vandalism. 

The bandshell at the bottom of the hill (officially the McCain Outdoor Classroom if you look at the map) has some broken glass (or possibly plexiglass) and needs some repairs.  There was a kid down there, who looked like he was about 15, who was picking up a big chunk of glass and throwing it repeatedly against the bandshell.  A girl was with him, but she was more or less innocently walking her dog.

It took me a while to realize what he was doing, but after a while I realized he was up to and then I decided to confront him, so I went down the hill a bit, and yelled at him to stop.  I got his attention (obviously his IPod wasn’t turned up high enough) and when he looked up, I ran down to him, telling him lots of things that were sure to hurt his self esteem, and just generally letting him know that he was being really stupid and thoughtless. 

He seemed completely without a clue that what he was doing was destructive, but perhaps I got it into his head.  In hindsight, perhaps I should have grabbed him and called the police.  I think he was wearing his pants down low, so outrunning him would have been easy, even for me.  Or I could have made him clean up the broken glass.  I’m sure he would have loved that, since most of the glass was already broken when he got there, and cleaning up someone else’s mess would have been the perfect punishment. 

As it was, he said “I’m sorry” in the way that means “I’m sorry you are mad at what I did, can I go now?” and he skedaddled away on his scooter.  He and the girl who was with him, who might have been his girlfriend, probably have an even lower opinion of adults now.

How many more kids do I have to yell at before I am officially a Grumpy Old Man?

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6 thoughts on “Confronting a Vandal At Frontier Park

  1. Loved that question about grumpy old men. Kudos for you on getting involved and sparing the bandshell any more damage. I know what you mean about some of this generation of children not seeming to understand the impact of their behaviour. I choose to think that perhaps that young men did not show any true remorse for what he did but maybe he will think the next time before he does something similar about the fact that somebody out there cared enough to stop his vandalism of the public park. Thanks for your effort.

  2. Chances are, had you grabbed him and called the police, they would have blown you off, the parents would have had you arrested and charged with abuse, and the judge at your trial would have sentenced YOU to clean up the mess, and attend anger-management classes.

    But thanks for trying. Most would have looked the other way.

  3. This afternoon, two boys – about age 15 – walked in front of me…about 1 m…the one boy had an empty fizzy drink can and dropped it…in front of me…it touches my leg slightly in the process…I didn’t make any fuss…he looked back and saw me and he saw what happened…said nothing! I ignored him, as he is the type that will swear at you if you say something about it..but I was really very close to tell him off…sometimes you get the “feeling” who you can tell off/correct in a sitauation like that and sometimes it’s better for your own soul to keep quiet and to move on.

  4. Barb — I’m presuming that’s the same McCain that the street that runs next to the central post office is named for, not the one who is running for president. (I believe the street picks up again on the other side of the Bayfront Connector and runs to Buffalo Rd.)

    I’ve always wondered who that McCain was. An attempt to Google “McCain Erie” was, as you might expect, rather unsuccessful in finding anything relevant.

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