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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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To: hoosierham

12ga = Zero recividism. Problem solved.


21 posted on 05/10/2012 3:23:40 AM PDT by carriage_hill (((.)))
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To: lightman; SF_Redux

Ping! Read the article. Be warned; it’s coming here.


22 posted on 05/10/2012 3:25:10 AM PDT by carriage_hill (((.)))
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To: hoosierham

I live in a very rural area and we have the same problem with the metal junkies-that’s what my husband calls them.

They stop in almost every week insisting on “buying our junk” which are trucks that my husband is working on and a really cool old Dodge camper that a friend lives in on our property.
Even when we tell them no or our friend says he lives in the camper, they get pushy and you can see the dollar signs in their eyes.

And the junk dealers don’t care where it comes from either.

Our best solution has been dogs. Loud barking mean looking dogs. We lost our Rottie a few years back, but we still have our crazy Shepherd mix who barks at the wind...mama taught her well! :)

We all watch out for each other best we can and the only guy who’s house was robbed and is a little more isolated, didn’t have a dog at the time. He does now.

When we hear a dog barking around here for any length of time, we check it out. It’s so sad to live like this, but right now the USA is like the wild west and you’re on your own.


23 posted on 05/10/2012 3:30:11 AM PDT by homegroan (Veni, Vedi, Velcro....since 1998)
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To: WoofDog123
"I read the entire article. what a depressing piece. I had no idea it was that bad in california."

I live in Southern Ohio and it is just as bad here. BUT, we don't have 1% of the Illegals here as they do in California. I've caught criminals three separate times on my surveillance Cameras. And when I say caught I mean full face shots of people carrying stolen goods with time stamps and twice showing Vehicle License plates. All of the thefts were in excess of 2000 Dollars and each time the thieves were out walking the streets within 48 hours with nothing more than a "don't do it again" and not even brought to court.

I've had people trying to break into my building weekly. I usually catch them in the act of battering my door with a crowbar or some other burglar entry tool. I don't even call the cops anymore I just point my "burglar deterrent device" at them through the window and the run off.

We have several buildings around us who have had the outdoor AC units stolen (Usually at a cost of 5k or more per unit stolen) They've tried twice to steal mine the last time I just went outside with my "burglar deterrent device" walking right down the middle of the highly traveled public alley and run them off. I was reported to the police for brandishing a weapon they stopped by and told me if I have to use my "burglar deterrent device" to make sure they have a weapon. They said any baseball bat or crowbar will do just keep an extra handy.

The reason the police tell me this is because they are hamstrung by no money which means that even if they do get a successful conviction they system has no place to put them in jail.

All this is due to one problem, prescription drug abuse. Oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin Xanax Etc. its destroying our area. I'm told 9 out of 10 crimes locally are due to these drugs in one way or another. Copper thefts in municipal buildings are due to cash needed to purchase these drugs. Domestic violence is due to fighting over who gets the last of Grandma's Oxy for the month. Break-ins in Senior's homes always results in the medicine cabinets and kitchen and bedroom drawers and such ransacked for drugs. Also most of the electronics and jewelry are stolen for quick cash to buy their fix. The gold buying places locally have taken to immediately melting down any gold or silver to avoid losing it when the cops come searching.

The going rate for an oxy is 1 buck per milligram. That means and Oxy 80 goes for 80 bucks a single pill!

Its a friggin nightmare and I see no way to stop it short of forcing the manufacturers to shut down production.

We just hunker down and pray we won't have to apply our "burglar deterrent device" on some zonked out pillbilly looking to score a fix. But I know each time we have an incident the odds go up of such happening.

24 posted on 05/10/2012 3:48:00 AM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: homegroan

That’s a very good point! Get a dog.

I have a crazy german shepherd that is stationed in the front of the house. I say she’s crazy because vehicles drive her nuts. She goes after them (she is chained up), spins in circles, barks loudly and constantly, even frothing at the mouth.

Over Christmas, we were doing a lot of buying online and the UPS and FedEx trucks were here every day. The FedEx driver was black, and would NOT get out of the truck. Someone had to go to him and take the package. The UPS guy found it all very funny and would stop and throw the dog her ball, which she absolutely loves.

Another time some guys in a gang-banger car (a typical “donk”) came up our long driveway, saw the dog, and drove right back down the hill, before I could even get my shoes on and out the door to greet them. From the front window I watched them come up the drive, and when they saw the dog (spinning, barking, growling) the look of fear on their faces was priceless!

We’re safe as long as the UPS guy doesn’t tell others how harmless our dog is!


25 posted on 05/10/2012 3:56:40 AM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: Uncle Ike

“What a nation of sheep we have become...”

Sad, but unfortunately so true.


26 posted on 05/10/2012 4:15:20 AM PDT by Shane (When Injustice Becomes Law, RESISTANCE Becomes DUTY.----T.Jefferson)
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To: dennisw

The Detroitification of an entire state......the Democrats must be so proud!!!!!


27 posted on 05/10/2012 4:18:16 AM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: carriage_hill

Yes, the 12 ga would prevent the crime at that time. But would the sheriff arrest you if the vandal/robber was shot, or he filed a complaint with the law? And how long would it take another thief to return knowing that you were locked up as a threat to society? Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t, just like Zimmerman found out.


28 posted on 05/10/2012 4:39:19 AM PDT by 2001convSVT (Going Galt as fast as I can.)
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To: Alas Babylon!

That’s so true!

I really feel for the UPS guys that fill in for vaca for our regular guy!

They just sit in the truck and beep the horn scared to death.

My reg guy knows not to go near her and just walks past her and sometimes throws her a cookie.I won’t let her befriend him, so she stays on guard duty, cause ya never know!

I always tell people she bites-just so the word gets around and I let her bark because to me, she’s doing her job.

My neighbor used to have geese as watch dogs...they are the best. Just not as lovable as a dog :)


29 posted on 05/10/2012 4:43:03 AM PDT by homegroan (Veni, Vedi, Velcro....since 1998)
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To: dennisw

In answer to this article, the problem is that we now live in a blameless society.

Everything from robbery to murder can be blamed on some other factor than the attitude of the actor of the crime.

Laws are not enforced. Your color, background, level in life and a whole host of mental and physical problems are used to determine just how much law violation percentage you will be held accountable for.

On top of that the legal expression of “beyond a reasonable doubt” has been raised to the level of “positively, with no chance of error” has destroyed our legal system.


30 posted on 05/10/2012 4:43:51 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: 2001convSVT

Don’t you have a “Castle Doctrine” Law in your state? Or a “S-S-SU” unwritten one?


31 posted on 05/10/2012 4:55:20 AM PDT by carriage_hill (((.)))
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To: Uncle Ike

You realize that the “Nob Hill” I referred to was the Dem donor infested section of SF.

This is their monster they created with their open borders. They especially love it when people use their entry ways as their personal bathroom.


32 posted on 05/10/2012 4:56:26 AM PDT by sf4dubya (I rebelled against my parents by becoming a conservative)
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To: dennisw

Sounds like Zimbabwe.


33 posted on 05/10/2012 4:59:24 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (I'm for Churchill in 1940!)
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To: sf4dubya

” This is their monster they created with their open borders. “

So you permit your life and property to be terrorized and vandalized because it’s *their* creation??

Take a hint - *they* ain’t a-gonna fix it...


34 posted on 05/10/2012 5:03:54 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: dennisw

The only answer is to increase the real penalty for the criminals. If caught by the owner they should be executed for trespassing. Let the owners kill the invaders.

If caught on video (face) they should be executed for theft. Send a team to their house, blow them away, leave a bill in the mailbox.

If they are going to behave like animals then we need to treat them like animals.

Always remember to practice the three S’s


35 posted on 05/10/2012 5:05:16 AM PDT by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: 2001convSVT

“But would the sheriff arrest you if the vandal/robber was shot, or he filed a complaint with the law?”

The sheriff in a county here held a public press conference and urged women to buy a pistol and learn how to defend themselves. The local liberals had a fit. The sheriff told them to buzz off.

A few weeks later a local good ol’ boy blew away two burglars. Two shots, each smack between the eyeballs. The sheriff called it good shooting.

If you don’t have a constitutional sheriff in your county who supports the 2nd amendment, get one as soon as possible.


36 posted on 05/10/2012 5:09:47 AM PDT by sergeantdave
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To: dennisw
“I stay here, however, because I now ask: Why should we change our way of life rather than demanding that those who are changing it should look inward and themselves change?”

VDH misunderstands the problem. He seems to think that the predators will find ANYTHING of substance when they look inward. There is nothing there, or at least, nothing good.

These “animals” have been raised (actually, not raised) to be, well, predatory animals. Whether it was lack of parenting or abusive parenting, these creatures are as wild & dangerous as any predator in the jungle. More dangerous, actually.

We have regressed in this country back to the wild west days, where it was kill or be killed. There is no law & order. The “law” refuses to deal with these predators in a final way, instead preferring to release murderous monsters back into society after a short period of free room & board.

If we are to ever reclaim this country for decent, law abiding people, we are going to have to deal harshly, quickly, & finally with predators.

As for Kalifornia, the place is beyond redemption w/o the mass expulsion of illegals AND Liberals. That ain't EVER gonna happen, so I can't imagine why decent people such as VDH remain there. Seems almost masochistic to me.

37 posted on 05/10/2012 5:26:44 AM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: ansel12

His book, “Fields Without Dreams” is an excellent description of his growing up on the family grape(raisin) farm in the Fresno area.


38 posted on 05/10/2012 5:33:32 AM PDT by Cuttnhorse
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To: ClearCase_guy
our elected government does a pretty poor job of stopping criminals

Someone broke a window in my wife's car and stole a laptop she'd forgotten to bring into the house. A lesbian "police officer" took some notes, told me it was "just a property crime" and not to expect any further action on it. I told her it was probably a kid visiting a delinquents' halfway-house down the street that had been sneaked into the neighborhood with no public hearings.

She launched into a diatribe in defense of the "mistreated kids" and how "citizens like you" should support all such efforts. End of conversation. So yes, "if the government decided to focus on the persecution of the productive, decent-minded folks who wish to preserve their property rights," then some "quota" law enforcement people, at least, are definitely aligned with the looters. They are more in tune with the criminals than with the citizens who pay their salaries.

39 posted on 05/10/2012 5:36:01 AM PDT by Bernard Marx
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To: Kay Ludlow
hi neighbor   :-)
40 posted on 05/10/2012 5:39:26 AM PDT by tomkat ( FU.baraq <font finger=middle>)
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