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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: 6ppc

what sort of gangs/groups are doing this in alabama (from mississippi so assuming it is probably pretty similar at home)?


61 posted on 05/10/2012 9:18:36 AM PDT by WoofDog123
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

” 3-7-77. ;-D “

Had to look that one up —

Yup... ;)


62 posted on 05/10/2012 9:24:47 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: WoofDog123
what sort of gangs/groups are doing this in alabama

Some of them have been caught and the culprits were redneck trash types.

Some of the stuff has been found, for instance my old four wheel drive farm truck has been stolen and recovered twice. My brother in law's 97 F150 was stolen then recovered...sheriff didn't even call him to tell him it had been recovered...he happened to see it sitting in the impound lot. ATVs and other stuff have not been recovered.

63 posted on 05/10/2012 9:33:15 AM PDT by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
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To: 6ppc
"Some of them have been caught and the culprits were redneck trash types."

I'd bet ten large the culprits were mixed up in either Crystal or RX drugs like Oxy (Or both).

64 posted on 05/10/2012 9:35:26 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: Windflier

I live in NJ; that sign itself is probably illegal./s

I would never advertise a firearm in my home like that.


65 posted on 05/10/2012 2:31:16 PM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: dennisw

Just got through reading “Shadow People”. Meth-driven crime is eating at the Heart of rural America. Author is Scott Thomas Anderson. We work with the Meth- driven, and their Children. The book is very good, only about 175 pages but worth the read. They of course or not the only Thieves in our Rural California areas but most of it here. Nothing to drive by a lot and see a Trailer, Motorhome, camper, sitting there that you can look right through. If its not watched or on a Foundation they will strip it.


66 posted on 05/10/2012 4:03:45 PM PDT by easternsky
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To: 6ppc

I lived in Columbus Ga off and on from “75” when I was stationed at ft Benning until about “86”.

I say off and on because i left after I got out of the service, then returned two more times, once in “79, and another time I returned in “86”.

Lot of good memories in that area, but it always was a place of high crime. I remember my Uncle telling me that when he was stationed at Benning that Phenix City Al was known as Sin city because of all the gambling and whore houses that were controlled by the Southern mafia that also controlled the sheriff, city mayor and even the local Judges.

By the time I lived there, Phenix had been cleaned up, but Columbus had become more of a problem with crime. I guess the fact that low lifes will always hangout by military bases looking for easy pickings from the soldiers.

Especially when you add in the trainees at the Airborne school, and foreigners attending Long Range Surveillance Leaders Course (RSLC) Ft. Benning’s International Student Training center, plus the Army Ranger program.

Ft Benning has become quite an internationally recognized place, so I can only imagine how many foreigners hang out there that are not in the military.


67 posted on 05/10/2012 4:18:08 PM PDT by OneVike ((Just a Christian waiting to go home) internet ID:: impeachobamanow)
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To: kearnyirish2
I would never advertise a firearm in my home like that.

You might if you lived in Texas, or any number of other states where your 2nd Amendment rights are respected and upheld.

68 posted on 05/10/2012 5:37:59 PM PDT by Windflier (To anger a conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: Windflier

“You might if you lived in Texas, or any number of other states where your 2nd Amendment rights are respected and upheld.”

If you went on vacation I’d bet anyone who wants a firearm would know just where to steal one (or several); maybe they’d be caught, maybe not, but why advertise? Any federal agencies working in Texas would have a pretty good idea that you have guns as well, and as we saw in Katrina they won’t respect or uphold your gun rights.


69 posted on 05/11/2012 3:47:08 AM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: kearnyirish2

Live in fear, or live in Texas.


70 posted on 05/11/2012 8:57:39 AM PDT by Windflier (To anger a conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: homegroan

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

IIRC, it is (or was) a fairly common practice in the Middle East to use peacocks as watch dogs; the birds are as loud as Hell and cannot contract the rabies virus.


71 posted on 05/15/2012 5:02:46 PM PDT by GOPsterinMA (The stench of Earth Pimp-age is permeating over the internet...)
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To: GOPsterinMA

You are correct! Loud squawkers too! Some people around here have them on their farms with alpacas, emus-those kind of places. And in the summer, you’ll actually hear them scream before you see them-as you drive by! I thought I hit something first time I heard it driving past this WildLife Preserve place.

Wonder how vicious they are tho? We have fisher cats here, fox and of course coyotes and they love their poultry/fowl!

We’ve got a fox running around here starting around 5pm last few nights-ran right past my house on the road, then my husband saw him up by the fishing bridge a few days later, same time of day. He doesn’t look rabid or anything, I think he’s a young one who’s just learning the ropes and doesn’t know what he’s doing!

You have to be ready for anything out here-between animals-like the fox just trotting by my front yard when I am usually outside with my dog-glad I wasn’t...to the occasional car chase with the State Police in hot pursuit; we live on a CT back-country road that goes to RI or MA-had that happen last Thursday...honestly...it’s never dull-for long that is.....

:) SZQ


72 posted on 05/15/2012 7:51:36 PM PDT by homegroan (Veni, Vedi, Velcro....since 1998)
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To: homegroan
They are loud, nice!

“Wonder how vicious they are tho?”

That, I don't know.

Fisher cats scare me - they scream too.

Sounds like you have much activity in your neck of the woods; stay safe!

73 posted on 05/15/2012 8:27:17 PM PDT by GOPsterinMA (The stench of Earth Pimp-age is permeating over the internet...)
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To: Uncle Ike

You’re a little off your rocker. I moved from California years ago when the first signs of his started happening. I live in a much better state where I can defend myself and property without worrying about getting thrown in jail.


74 posted on 05/18/2012 4:14:06 AM PDT by sf4dubya (I rebelled against my parents by becoming a conservative)
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