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Hate crimes
We're better than our graffiti
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 Great Bend residents routinely call the police to report that their cars or garages have been splattered with eggs or paint balls, and usually they’re advised to wash everything off and call back if there was any actual damage. Sadly, vandals took it up a notch this week by writing racial slurs on the vehicles of a black family.
In a town where, according to the 2010 census, 84 percent of the population is white and only 1.7 percent is African American, some jerks apparently thought it would be funny to single out a black family. They scrawled the “N-word,” “I hate blacks,” a swastika, what appears to be a pentagram, and something that is either a trident symbol, an upside peace sign without the circle, a bird track or a wheat shock on a car window. That last one may even be the ancient rune algiz, which (like the swastika) has many positive meanings but seems to have been adopted by skinheads. Who knows? Someone was going for shock value, but at least they didn’t use paint or break the window. A lot of windows get shot with pellet guns every week, all over town.
Here’s the good news: This was done with window chalk that can be washed away. It was probably done by ignorant kids. A white woman whose car also was marked up said she only got a cryptic “2K15,” which only seems to mean 2015, or possibly the PlayStation game, NBA 2K15.
Now the bad news: Someone in our community did this. Looking only at the homes tagged, several individuals are annoyed, and one family was hurt. In the broader sense, the wrongdoing affects us all.
In the social media, some people reacted callously to the news that this is considered a hate crime. Who among us hasn’t gotten something smashed, spray painted, egged or just messed with? So, some of the 84 percent complain, why is it a hate crime if it happens to the 2 percent?  To those folks we would answer, which would YOU rather wash off — something that makes no sense at all, or something vulgar and personal, that singles you out by your race?
We recognize the sheer stupidity of the vandalism, and our hearts go out especially to the family directly affected. We can try to teach tolerance, and try to be positive examples. It all comes down to common decency, doesn’t it?