We are better than this

Jess Oaks
Posted 6/19/24

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon baking in the kitchen while the temperature wasn’t nearly as high as it had been. I decided to sit down, take a break, and scroll through some social media …

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We are better than this


On Sunday, I spent the afternoon baking in the kitchen while the temperature wasn’t nearly as high as it had been. I decided to sit down, take a break, and scroll through some social media while the oven worked on baking something wonderful. 

On Saturday, there was a car show and street dance in the little town of Fort Laramie and I was saddened to see there had been vandalism at the splash pad on Saturday night/Sunday morning. 

A good-sized piece of PVC pile had been completely broken at the joint area in a photograph posted on one of the many town pages I follow on Facebook. There had been no recent hailstorms. No tree limbs had fallen on the pipe, crushing it. There wasn’t any reason for a nearly new piece of pipe to break spontaneously, which means somebody had to of been involved. 

Once I read through the handful of comments on the photo, I knew I wasn’t alone in thinking there was no possible way for this chunk of pipe to fail. Not only fail but fail in such a way that cannot be explained. A few comments read, “Looks like it was done in purpose,” or “It didn’t break by itself.” Most community members expressed sadness commenting things like, “How ridiculous, not many activities for kids during the summer in Fort Laramie and someone wants to tear it up,” or “We drive from Torrington specifically to go to this splash pad.”

Of course, many suggestions were also tossed out in the comment section of the photo. Members suggested getting cameras or enclosing the pipes, “Looks like the town’s going to have to put cameras up. Someone always has to ruin it for everyone else,” or “Avoid it from now on by putting a cover on it.”

But no one suggested the most meaningful suggestion of all, teach our children better.

Now, I know I am assuming the vandal or vandals were “children,” but I just can’t wrap my head around an adult breaking something like this piece of pipe, intentionally, and walking away with zero cares given. 

One of the comments under the photo was from the town maintenance officer who explained the broken pipe wasn’t the only thing that was vandalized in the town that late night/early morning which only furthers my gut feeling believing the person or persons involved were, in fact, children. An intoxicated person stumbling around after the street dance wouldn’t have damaged, or in this case, vandalized so many things. 

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t hear at least one person in the community complaining, “There is nothing to do, and there is nothing for our kids to do.” 

Well, that is true, and this is one of the reasons why we don’t have some of the opportunities that some biggest towns have. 

If you want nice things, you have to take care of them. We all know that. If you want a nice house, you have to clean it. If you want to keep your vehicle looking great, you have to clean it and take care of it and the same is said about our public spaces. You can’t expect the things you care about to maintain themselves, right? 

Right. And those are principles we need to teach our children. Things cost money and if you want nice things you need to work for them. Once you finally work enough to get the things you want, you work to keep them nice. 

The same can be said about our public spaces. 

Given the time I had to dive into this situation deeper, I am only touching the surface. I don’t know where the funding came from to build the splash-pad but obviously, it didn’t come for free. The sad part is, it is provided to our community for no charge and now it has needed a repair because someone couldn’t keep things nice. 

Please, please, teach your children the value of a hard-earned dollar. Teach them money does not grow on trees and more importantly, teach them to be respectful of another person’s property. 

Sure, I know it won’t solve all of the issues our world faces today, but this is Goshen County. This is the place where everyone helps one another, and neighbors become friends. We are better than this.