I can remember having a conversation with the Whirlwind about two years ago. There was a vicious and prolonged attack of graffiti at our local railway station and, for a while, it seemed that nothing was going to stop the problem.
The Whirlwind and I were going somewhere and, while we were waiting for the train to arrive, she had wandered around looking at the mess in a puzzled sort of way.
"I don't understand," she told me, "I mean do they think it's fun or something like that?"
Possibly the young graffiti artists do think it is a sort of fun. There is the thrill of obtaining the spray cans - either by stealing them or getting an "adult" to buy them (it is mostly the former). Then there is the thrill of spraying the paint on - and the adrenalin rush of hoping you will capture attention but not get caught.
Every morning one of the local residents would take paint and paintbrushes and paint over all the graffiti. The need to do it every day for weeks made him angry but he went on doing it. Eventually the attack stopped, quite abruptly. It was as if the perpetrators were tired of having their "art work" wiped out all the time. The local resident still checks the railway station each day - even though it is closed for the moment. If he is unable to do it someone else in the street adjacent to the line will do it. There is usually very little graffiti there now.
The kids who were spraying graffiti did not, as far as anyone can tell, move on to another venue. Perhaps they simply grew up and decided that there was no fun in doing something when the evidence of their foolishness was just wiped out all the time.
Of course we can't do that with other sorts of violent vandalism where lives are lost and property is damaged. People have a right to know what is happening. It is even necessary that they should so that precautions can be taken - and people understand why those precautions are being taken.
Yesterday the Whirlwind came in late in the afternoon. School is on holiday this week and she had been out for the day with three friends. They had been helping to take some much younger children to a rather swish playground. It was, apparently, "super" fun. Inevitably though the news of the bombing in Boston had reached the ears of the Whirlwind and her friends. They were upset - and so they should be.
"Don't they want people to have fun? Nobody was doing anything to hurt anybody!"
I don't have an answer to those sort of questions.
"I wish that they could not say anything about them doing it at all. That just makes it worse, like a really big deal, so they want to do it again. They should just go and sort of paint it over like the man at the railway station does."
I wish they could. His method worked.