Message to Vandals: You can’t win

Charles Helm

The newly rebuilt Booker bench.

The newly rebuilt Booker bench.

I’ve gotta admit I was a bit miffed when I discovered you had destroyed another Booker Bench on the Flatbed Pools hiking trail. That’s the second time you have tossed it down the slope and into the creek.

The first time Linda and I levered it back up and into place, but that was quite a tough job. This time, luckily, Fred and Shawna Booker were in town doing volunteer trail work, and for them it was quite an easy task to re-establish it. Granted, it is not quite as long as before, and will only seat three as opposed to the six people that could fit on the old one, but the thinking is that if you try to destroy it again, a smaller bench will be easier for us to replace.

Also noticed how you twisted some of the directional arrow signs on the trail so as to send hikers in the wrong direction. We fixed that problem as well, and you need to know that if you wish to repeat this stunt you will need to take your own screwdriver bit (Robertson #2) and drill with you.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was a bit annoyed as I was walking back on the trail, but then I got thinking, and realized that this is all a bit like a game. Every time you destroy one of our benches, you score a point, and every time we replace it, we score a point. So for this Booker Bench, we have three points, and you have two, and you are therefore losing.

And the problem for you is that you can never get ahead—the best you can ever do is to score an equalizer, and for me and my fellow volunteers who are trying to enhance our community rather than despoil it, the worst we can ever do is a draw. But rest assured that when we find examples of your vandalism, we repair the damage quickly, so it is not long before we have pulled ahead again.

True, there are other things than repairing acts of vandalism that I could be busy with, but winning like this sure feels good. And so does the thought that one of these days you may get caught on camera by a trail-cam.