Those of you who know me, know that I rarely get angry. It takes a lot to upset me because I’m pretty mellow. Most times, it’s usually in defense for my friends who cannot or will not speak up or defend themselves. This is one incident that I can’t ignore. I understand that the timeliness of the incident is off, but that cannot be helped.A week before spring break, window glass littered the streets, the West Chester Borough Police were inundated with calls, and many people were left taping trash bags to where their passenger car windows used to be. I almost feel that writing about the incident, in some odd way, glorifies what was done. Because that is the last thing I want to do, I went back and forth about whether or not to say anything at all. But seeing as how I know some of the victims, I feel obligated to say something, at least on their behalf.
Let me back track, though, because I have been told that there are still some people out there that have yet to hear about the incident. During the middle of the night a kid and his buddies drove around West Chester shooting at car windows with a BB gun. I first learned of the incident the next morning when I opened my door and Nields Street glittered with the greenish-blue glass pieces.
The cars that were hit either had small holes in the glass or were missing the window altogether. Imagine waking up to a beautiful morning only to see that someone, with little or no life, ruined your day/week/month (depending on how long it would take to fix the car) because he had nothing better to do with his night. Nothing says “good morning” like sweeping up the pieces of your car off the road.
Six to seven was my guess as to how many victims there were that night because I thought only my street had been hit. Little did I know that I was way off. I found out, later that 30 people woke up to the same unnerving and sick wake-up call. Thirty people had to call the police for information on what happened. Thirty people were forced to take their cars to be repaired. Thirty people are still dealing with the aftermath; lost in insurance claims, numerous run-around phone calls. Thirty people (I’m guessing) are still pissed off. And who wouldn’t be, especially after breaking it all down to five cents. I’ll explain.
The victims that I talked to informed me that the reparation fee for each window ranged from $150-$200. Multiply that by 30 and the total estimated damages range from $4,500 to $6,000. Not to mention police manpower, gas to take the cars to and from the mechanics, hours of phone time, and various other things that each person has had to go through.
I looked it up on the Internet and found out that a person can buy a small milk carton filled with 2,500 BBs for only $4.25. That means that each individual BB costs .0017 cents. At the time of the shooting each person’s window value was reduced practically 100 percent. For only a nickel, 30 people in West Chester were victimized.
Luckily enough, the police did catch him that same night, another result of his stupidity. The full measure of his punishment has yet to be determined, but I do believe that his insurance company is not a big fan of him at the moment. As they shouldn’t be. Paying for all the damages is the only fair punishment, I feel. In fact, for his $6,000, I will gladly offer a shiny, new nickel.
Blame naivete, but I have always believed that most people are good at heart and have the best intentions. Situations like this suggest otherwise. Personally, I don’t understand how someone could do something like this without taking into account all the angst and anxiety that he would cause so many people. And for what??? What did he gain out of it besides immediate glorification followed by a long list of debts, paperwork and face time with the cops?
What I really don’t understand is that he didn’t have anything better to do with his time. That’s sad, don’t you think? In some respects, I suppose you have to pity him in the regards that his life is so meaningless and empty that he would have nothing better to do than hurt someone else. What else would possess him to even consider this idea?
This one act of violence is not the first, nor last of incidents where a person or persons have vandalized or hurt someone. Our society is racked with deviant and criminal episodes. From the small gestures of cutting someone down for no reason to the more grandiose actions of clipping cars, human beings find an outlet in malevolent behavior. Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t understand why it feels so good to make others feel so bad.
Jaylyn Bergner is a senior majoring in Communication with a minor in Creative Writing. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.