By MEL ROTHENBURGER/ The Armchair Mayor
People who steal signs are deficient in some way. They’re missing a fundamental piece of their character — the ability to think rationally about the consequences of their actions.
They’re cousins to the Vancouver rioters and their “mob mentality.”
The cruel theft this week of our neighbour’s sign that honours their daughter and granddaughter took sign stealing to another level. Stealing public property is bad enough; stealing people’s memories is beyond the pale.
The fact the sign was found in a Westsyde Road ditch by a Daily News reader and returned to the owners Friday is a happy ending, but there remains the mystery of why it was taken in the first place.
Stolen signs are the trophies of stupidity. The malefactors like to display them secretly in the same way art rustlers build private rooms to hang their stolen paintings so they alone can enjoy them, perhaps with a few trusted friends.
Street-level felons get some kind of dumb kick out of ripping off garden gnomes, mailboxes, home-made Christmas decorations or anything else that can physically be removed. But stop signs, street signs, speed-limit signs and pretty much anything with words on it are the most prized.
This often takes a great deal of effort. Removing a stop sign, for example, as some lowlife did on Mark Recchi Way in front of Interior Savings Centre recently, takes some effort. They’re well secured. Some basic tools and a pickup truck are requirements of the trade.
So, the theft of the “Megan’s Bluff” sign from the Cross-Konjolka families’ driveway — as told on our front page — had to be well planned in the dark of night when there was little traffic on the road.
Even the most brainless thief would not be so devoid of grey matter as to hang such a unique sign in his own front yard.
So of what value was it to you, Mr. Thief? Do you have a girlfriend named Megan, and you thought it would be funny to present her with a sign with her name on it?
Was that fleeting giggle worth more to you than the sign is worth to a family that lost a courageous young child and grand-child? Did you not consider there might be important meaning behind that memorial? You wouldn’t know, for example, that it was installed at the spot young Megan used to wait for the school bus every morning.
That sign isn’t just some generic marker — it has a history all its own.
Shame on you. But you can still restore just a little faith in your potential to develop past your current worthless scum-ball state into someone approaching a human being if you were to slip a note of apology into the families’ mailbox.
You don’t even have to identify yourself.
That’s what the thief who stole a man’s 20-year-old homemade plywood reindeer last Christmas did. “I was drunk and stupid,” the thief explained in his note after returning the reindeer.
Being drunk and stupid is no excuse, but it offers something of an explanation. The return of the stolen property, and the note, at least repaired some of the emotional injury of the act.
Whoever you are, you would do well to follow that example.