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September 13, 2011 > Editorial: The crime spectrum

Editorial: The crime spectrum

In the world of law and order, the magnitude and nature of a crime is often viewed through different prisms depending on the observer. A perpetrator's biological age, socio-economic status and mental state are factors for legal maneuvers and courtrooms, but in most cases, there are clear winners and losers. If physical injury is involved, pain and suffering are measurements to determine the harm sustained. Mental distress may be a less tangible result, but no less injurious. Crimes against large groups of people can be classified as "crimes against humanity" and tried in national or international venues with highly publicized significant, even fatal results.

On the other end of the spectrum, crimes that are petty, thoughtless and downright stupid are often shrugged away as the acts of idiots who are not worth the time and effort of mainstream society. If caught, such "criminals" are considered a petty nuisance, unworthy of law enforcement efforts and costly counseling to try to reform such behavior. It is unfortunate that such individuals form patterns that persist, causing grief in communities that have enough problems without such juvenile actions. A kid with a can of spray paint, a sharp object or rock can do much damage to the property of others, but suffer little consequence since these actions are often done while cowering in darkness and, if caught, regarded as a mental Lilliputian. Law enforcement fiscal and manpower restraints work in favor of these denizens of depravity.

The problem for law enforcement when faced with "petty crime" is that often these actions are not really petty. Serious and injurious actions against the community may have far-reaching effects. As an example, when mental deficient individuals spray graffiti and damage property that serves the community with no other purpose than betterment of local conditions without personal gain, such criminals are committing a criminal act - a crime against their community. There is no excuse for such behavior; it simply degrades everyone and everything around them; a social injustice to the entire area.

A case in point is the recent defilement of the Candle Lighter Ghost House by an individual or group of intellectually deficient morons who believed their markers were more important than something that exists solely as a resource for our community. Hard work of a dedicated group of civic-minded citizens results in much pleasure and fun during Halloween. Funds collected are directed to charitable local organizations. How could anyone fault this activity? How could anyone with an IQ above single digits desecrate such a facility? It defies logic!

This crime against our community is an assault on decency. Just a few days ago, this country - and much of the planet - mourned an atrocity that equaled heinous acts of any era. Can segments of our society actually shield those at fault and applaud such behavior? The community at large and those who stand by, watching such actions - large and small - are abetting others who hide behind hate, violence and warped ego-centric intentions. It seems impossible, but there are those who applaud such destructive and nihilistic conduct.

To set yourself apart from those who wallow in self-righteous hate and destructive behavior, make your voice heard in our own community by supporting the efforts of the Candle Lighters. Make it known that such behavior is unacceptable in our community. There is much to be done in a short period of time to repair the senseless damage to the Ghost House and get ready for another holiday season. The Candle Lighters need your help and law enforcement needs a concerted effort by citizens to make those responsible understand that crimes against their community are unacceptable.

Those who would like to help rectify this situation are welcome to contact Brigitte Wilkerson, President of Candle Lighters at (510) 657-1729 or visit

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