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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Decapitated dinosaur update - with pictures

So it looks like some morons drove a pickup truck right up to the fence surrounding our brontosaurus sometime over the weekend, climbed the fence, and made off with a fairly large chunk of dinosaur head. I've got a message into Durham PD asking for a statement.

I know, we have bigger problems in Durham. We have more important issues to deal with. We have limited resources. Yadda yadda yadda.

That refrain gets pretty tired. What happened to "no problem is too big to be solved or too small to matter?" Where's the attitude from our city's leaders that "we're going to do whatever it takes to make Durham great?" We're always going to have "a bigger problem" to deal with. The dinosaur trail, however inaccurate science has rendered it over the past 50 years, remains a significant cultural touchstone in the lives of thousands of people who grew up in Durham. It would be truly a shame if our elected and appointed officials adopted the attitude that this trivial bit of vandalism is insignificant enough that they don't need to devote resources to finding the perpetrators.

Part of the philosophy behind the "broken windows" theory of community building is that it's precisely the little problems, the empty lots, abandoned cars, and, yes, broken windows, that leads to the development of bigger problems. We've all heard our city council members and community leaders talk about broken windows.

Talk's not enough.

I've read from one community leader that he's ponying up a hundred bucks for a reward leading to the return of the dinosaur head. How about the city put up a thousand for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever did this, and invite the community to donate to that fund as well? Put some publicity towards this case. Instead of the silence coming out of City Hall so far.

Symbols matter. So does leadership. Don't let this be yet another instance of the latter missing in action.

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  • City officials need to speak up and draw the line. They also need to "do something," of which I'm not sure yet, but to let this go without comment sends a bad message to the miscreants who did this.

    I'd sure hate it if it was some kind of frat prank.

    This is asinine.

    By Blogger Tony, at 9:56 AM  

  • This is so sad. That bronto lasted since the 1960s, and now some assholes have intentionally wrecked it.

    By Blogger MinTech, at 12:41 PM  

  • I've seen the 'broken windows' philosophy in action in Los Angeles under one of its biggest proponents, Police Chief William Bratton, who also employed the theory successfully in New York city under mayor Rudolph Guiliani. It can be effective against crime as well as galvanize and invigorate a community as everyone takes a greater sense of ownership in the community. Durham PD has an opportunity here. Let's hope they take advantage of it.

    By Blogger Patrick, at 9:54 AM  

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