This morning I left the house to walk the dog, and was greeted by the grim sight of one of my porch pumpkins smashed in the road. My first feelings were sadness and violation. Then anger. Then fear.
Let me explain my fear.
Someone had to walk up my front stairs and onto my porch to get their hands on my pumpkin. Then, they descended to the street, held my pumpkin high above their head and smashed it onto the pavement with all the anger and violence they could muster. Did they feel satisfaction in the destruction? In the violation of my private space? At leaving a dead pumpkin at the bottom of my stairs?
One thing is certain, the pumpkin smasher did not destroy my pumpkin, or even steal it off my porch, out of love, unity, or civic pride. They destroyed it out of anger and hate.
Now, I not only fear for my other porch pumpkins, but I fear that on my front porch is a front door that leads into my home. What is stopping the anger and hatred that found its way onto my porch from coming through my front door and into my home to terrorize me with inexplicable violence?
I can only hope that my own private pumpkin-smasher reads this and has a change of heart, sees the humanity in my homegrown pumpkins and the beauty of my autumnal display. But, probably, pumkpin smashers do not read editorials and so will not be swayed by reading how their violence made me feel.
In the past I probably would have thought that my smashed pumpkin was all in good pubescent fun, but now I see that the violence is all around me and that there are those who cannot resist violence. As almost 6,000 people lie buried under 110 stories of concrete, I am astonished that anyone would destroy anything right now.
Teach your children love and respect. End the chain of violence and destruction. Teach your kids not to perpetuate violence on their neighbors.