Vandalism is a terrible thing anywhere.
It’s a particularly despicable thing in a cemetery.
When vandals attack a business or home or public place such as a park, it is deeply saddening.
Sometimes it’s just a scrawl of ugly, badly spelled graffiti filled with expletives across a wall or sidewalk.
Other times it’s actually breaking windows, or ornaments or pulling out plants and strewing the remains here, there and everywhere.
It’s always disheartening.
It also feels like a personal violation.
Often somebody has worked hard to build or paint or plant something, only to have it destroyed by thoughtless idiots. Sometimes the culprits are impaired by drugs or alcohol when they go on their rampages, sometimes they’re just buoyed up by their buddies and a mob mentality coupled with malicious stupidity.
But these actions are even more hurtful when they are perpetrated against a graveyard.
The photos of what happened at Pioneer Cemetery were heartbreaking, with their depictions of the shattered monuments that had stood so proudly as remembrances of those now gone.
For many, an attack on these stones and statues feels like an attack on the loved one they remember, a loved one who cannot fight back and defend themselves.
The person is already greatly missed, damaging their graves just adds insult to injury.
Because they are still greatly loved, too.
When someone kicks over a gravestone it is a thoughtless cruelty against an entire family.
When that stone is broken into pieces, so are the hearts of those who picked it out with great care, and in many cases, visit it to feel close to the person they lost.
Some of the stones in Pioneer Cemetery represent the history of the Cowichan Valley, as they remember some of the area’s oldest families.
So on top of the personal loss, there’s a sense of loss for the entire community.
The vandals have struck at the heart of our collective history.
When we heard about the vandalism in the Citizen newsroom the overwhelming question was, who does something like this?
Whoever they are, we hope they are ashamed of themselves.
Would they do the same to the grave marker of someone they loved? Or would they be outraged that someone would dare to strike so close to the heart? We bet it’s the latter.