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Vandals cast shadow on good community

Cole Road Housing Co-op came under attack a couple of weeks ago. It was a pointless act of vandalism by a couple of senseless teens. It was a shame, because it happened just two days after the co-op celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Two decades of providing decent, affordable housing to families. I am fortunate to work for them, and I have got to know them reasonably well. They did nothing to provoke it. They neither needed nor deserved to have their cars and windows spray-painted.
Members of the co-op come from 17 different countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In alphabetical order, they are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, England,  Greece, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Uganda and Vietnam.
It is as culturally diverse a community as you will ever find. Just like Canada, isn’t it? For a man like me who enjoys his food, Cole Road pot luck meals are a dream come true.
Other than some quarrelling among neighbours that would happen in any townhouse complex, the members generally get along with each other. It’s not perfect, but no gathering of human beings ever is. There are some people with good jobs in the co-op. Others work in the fast food and retail outlets along Stone Road.
Some are on retirement pensions, others are on social assistance. Some are living on student loans. Some members pay full market housing charge. The rest receive a subsidy geared to their income. It is as economically diverse a community as you will ever find. Almost like Canada, except there’s no small pockets of super-wealthy.
Our richness is our members.
For the most part, it is good people trying to make good lives for themselves and their families. Yet on the morning of Tuesday Aug. 30, a pair of hoody and baggy shorts wearing vandals wandered through. It was between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. We know that because we have video of them from some security cameras.
While most decent people are asleep in their beds, these two wandered the streets finding what is kept in unlocked cars.
Then they hit the jackpot. Or it must have seemed like one to kids whose major accomplishment in life so far involves the theft and destruction of other people’s stuff. They stumbled onto three cans of spray paint.
“Oh joy!” they must have thought as they set about the task of redecorating the co-op. They decided a white car needed a red penis painted on its hood. Patio doors got splotched. Several hydro meters turned red.
At 5:28 a.m., while painting something, one kid looked up, saw the camera and painted it as well.
It was a stupid, senseless mess created by stupid, senseless kids. Whatever evidence the co-op was able to find was handed over to the police. If these kids are not caught for this episode, they will be caught for something else. They can bet their ill-gotten gains on that happening.
When it does, I hope they find themselves in the hands of a judge, a probation worker or a teacher who can show them that clever is better than stupid, and honest is better than crooked.
I don’t know who these kids are yet, but I will bet they are products of a troubled and dysfunctional family. They will soon start one of their very own. Kids are not born bad. How they get that way is another long story. While they make their journey from diapers to detention, a good community got caught up in the destruction.
And that’s the shame of it.

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