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A Vandalized Valley By Victor Davis Hanson
nationalreview ^ | December 21, 2011 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 05/10/2012 1:30:00 AM PDT by dennisw

I am starting to feel as if I am living in a Vandal state, perhaps on the frontier near Carthage around a.d. 530, or in a beleaguered Rome in 455. Here are some updates from the rural area surrounding my farm, taken from about a 30-mile radius. In this take, I am not so much interested in chronicling the flotsam and jetsam as in fathoming whether there is some ideology that drives it.

Last week an ancestral rural school near the Kings River had its large bronze bell stolen. I think it dated from 1911. I have driven by it about 100 times in the 42 years since I got my first license. The bell had endured all those years. Where it is now I don’t know. Does someone just cut up a beautifully crafted bell in some chop yard in rural Fresno County, without a worry about who forged it or why — or why others for a century until now enjoyed its presence?

The city of Fresno is now under siege. Hundreds of street lights are out, their copper wire stripped away. In desperation, workers are now cementing the bases of all the poles — as if the original steel access doors were not necessary to service the wiring. How sad the synergy! Since darkness begets crime, the thieves achieve a twofer: The more copper they steal, the easier under cover of spreading night it is to steal more. Yet do thieves themselves at home with their wives and children not sometimes appreciate light in the darkness? Do they vandalize the street lights in front of their own homes?

In a small town two miles away, the thefts now sound like something out of Edward Gibbon’s bleaker chapters — or maybe George Miller’s Road Warrior, or the Hughes brothers’ more recent The Book of Eli. Hundreds of bronze commemorative plaques were ripped off my town’s public buildings (and with them all record of our ancestors’ public-spiritedness). I guess that is our version of Trotskyization.

The Catholic church was just looted (again) of its bronze and silver icons. Manhole covers are missing (some of the town’s own maintenance staff were arrested for this theft, no less!). The Little League clubhouse was ransacked of its equipment.

In short, all the stuff of civilization — municipal buildings, education, religion, transportation, recreation — seems under assault in the last year by the contemporary forces of barbarism. After several thefts of mail, I ordered a fortified, armored mailbox. I was ecstatic when I saw the fabricator’s Internet ad: On the video, someone with an AK-47 emptied a clip into it; the mail inside was untouched. I gleefully said to myself: “That’s the one for me.” And it has been so far. But I wonder: Do the thieves not like to get their own mail? Do their children not play Little League? Do they not want a priest at their funeral? Would they not like to drive their cars without worrying about holes in the street? Or is their thinking that a rich society can cover for their crimes without their crimes’ ever much affecting them — given that most others still do not act as they do?

I know it is popular to suggest that as we reach our sixties, everything seems “worse,” and, like Horace’s laudatores temporis acti, we damn the present in comparison to the past. Sorry, it just isn’t so. In 1961, 1971, and 1981, city street lights were not systematically de-wired. And the fact that plaques and bells of a century’s pedigree were just now looted attests that they all survived the Great Depression, the punks of the 1950s, and the crime-ridden 1970s.

A couple now in their early 90s lives about three miles away from me on their small farm. I have known them for 50 years; he went to high school with my mother, and she was my Cub Scout leader. They now live alone and have recently been robbed nine, yes, nine, times. He told me he is thinking of putting a sign out at the entrance to his driveway: “Go away! Nothing left! You’ve already taken everything we have.” Would their robbers appreciate someone else doing that to their own grandparents? Do the vandals have locks on their own doors against other vandals?

There is indeed something of the Dark Ages about all this. In the vast rural expanse between the Sierras and the Coast Ranges, and from Sacramento to Bakersfield, our rural homes are like stray sheep outside the herd, without whatever protection is offered by the density of a town. When we leave for a trip or just go into town, the predators swarm.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: declineandfall; vdh; victordavishanson
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1 posted on 05/10/2012 1:30:05 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw

THIS IS JUST AN EXCERPT -— read more at http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/286354


2 posted on 05/10/2012 1:31:15 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw

Damn ....


3 posted on 05/10/2012 1:35:57 AM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: dennisw

I read this before, freepers who read it will see that as Victor Davis Hanson shows us a little of where he lives, it is an intimate connection with our own lives in relation to the deterioration of America.


4 posted on 05/10/2012 1:40:45 AM PDT by ansel12 ( Obama, Romney,"Eurasia" "Eastasia" "Oceania" I can't keep up with the players anymore.)
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To: dennisw

I read the entire article. what a depressing piece. I had no idea it was that bad in california.


5 posted on 05/10/2012 1:46:49 AM PDT by WoofDog123
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To: ansel12

yep... A repost for those who might have missed it the first time around. VDH is reporting from ground zero. First from his vandalized county, then his vandalized state of California


6 posted on 05/10/2012 1:47:16 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw

It is no secret that California has very literally gone to the devil.


7 posted on 05/10/2012 1:48:20 AM PDT by iowamark
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To: dennisw

We live in rural Indiana. There have been several home robberies lately in our vicinity. Scary stuff.


8 posted on 05/10/2012 1:52:16 AM PDT by raisincane (I'm an optimist...I think most people are half full of crap - Maxine)
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To: dennisw

He is one of our great writers, but this time, he is writing a simple/short piece about his own California neighborhood, and recent crime.


9 posted on 05/10/2012 1:53:13 AM PDT by ansel12 ( Obama, Romney,"Eurasia" "Eastasia" "Oceania" I can't keep up with the players anymore.)
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To: dennisw

Here in NJ they’re stealing nameplates from headstones; we are at a low I haven’t seen before in my time.


10 posted on 05/10/2012 2:06:33 AM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: kearnyirish2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd2B6SjMh_w


11 posted on 05/10/2012 2:20:57 AM PDT by ansel12 ( Obama, Romney,"Eurasia" "Eastasia" "Oceania" I can't keep up with the players anymore.)
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To: WoofDog123

It is that bad. It started in 2007 and it progressively got worse. What absolutely kills me is that these are Grapevine communities that produce food the rest of the country needs to live, and they are getting destroyed.

When the Nob Hill elites suddenly have the horde at their doorstep, maybe then it will stop.

Either way, so glad we got out of there. I am first in line to build a wall on I80 to keep the kalizombies out, and will only give the secret password to those who pass a high school civics exam. :D


12 posted on 05/10/2012 2:21:00 AM PDT by sf4dubya (I rebelled against my parents by becoming a conservative)
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To: raisincane

Theft of all metal items to be sold as scrap now include cemetary urns and anything they can carry off;I blame the scrap metal dealers who ask no questions.

A sort of neighbor was practically salivating looking around my place before I told him off;everything he saw looked like scrap $$$$$ to him.

I have some lead for these thieves.


13 posted on 05/10/2012 2:34:49 AM PDT by hoosierham (Freedom isn't free)
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To: dennisw

I did miss it. Thankyou for posting it, Dennis. What a sad time we live in.


14 posted on 05/10/2012 2:41:34 AM PDT by stilloftyhenight
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To: dennisw

Not quite that bad in central PA yet, but I feel like he’s giving us a glimpse of our future. At the same time though, I keep hearing the propaganda about how the US incarcerates a larger proportion of their ‘males’ than any country in the world. I just don’t get it...


15 posted on 05/10/2012 2:52:18 AM PDT by Kay Ludlow (Government actions ALWAYS have unintended consequences...)
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To: dennisw

I remember reading this when it first came out..and it is well worth it again. Very sad to see what was once a golden state fall to ruin by its own hand. I hope the rest of the country wakes up before we share its’ fate.


16 posted on 05/10/2012 2:55:34 AM PDT by SueRae (The Tower of Sauron falls on 11.06.2012)
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To: sf4dubya

” When the Nob Hill elites suddenly have the horde at their doorstep, maybe then it will stop. “

Why should it be up to *somebody else* to put a stop to it??

This nation has a rich history of ‘Committees of Vigilance’ to deal with lawless places in lawless times — a few vandals hanging from roadside trees has a marvellous deterrent effect...

What a nation of sheep we have become...


17 posted on 05/10/2012 3:02:25 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: hoosierham

I had someone leave a brochure on an old car in my driveway; I called the 800 number and told them they’d be arrested if they set foot on my property again.


18 posted on 05/10/2012 3:11:09 AM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: dennisw

*


19 posted on 05/10/2012 3:18:33 AM PDT by Calusa (The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles. Quoth Bob Dylan.)
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To: dennisw
The criminal-minded basically do what they want. There is a certain amount of anarchy here, where the laws don't matter.
I believe that decent-minded folks may take it upon themselves to summarily execute criminals. [shrug] That's just more anarchy, right?

I think it would be a good thing. An armed society is a polite society, and the point of being armed is so that you can defend yourself and your property. As it stands, our elected government does a pretty poor job of stopping criminals - if the government decided to focus on the persecution of the productive, decent-minded folks who wish to preserve their own property rights ... then I think the government will just be clearly aligning itself with the Looters, and I think citizens will act upon that little tidbit.

20 posted on 05/10/2012 3:22:41 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Like Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin has become simply a stick with which to beat Whites.)
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