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Dad encourages kids to deface federal property

When a man happened upon a family carving their names into a railing at Tumalo Falls Park in Oregon, he snapped a photo after they refused to stop.

Brett Nelson then turned to social media, posting their photo on his Facebook page, calling out the father and his two kids who didn’t seem to care that they were breaking the law. He outlines the confrontation and the don’t-care attitudes of the family, and now the U.S. Forest Service is working to track them down.

While this vandalism may seem like a tiny thing to worry about, it really isn’t. Yes, a metal railing can be painted over, but that isn’t the point — this father was not only allowing his kids to mark it up but encouraging them to do so. It’s kind of gross that this sort of thing is no big deal to the trio, and the fact that the father and his kids were disrespectful when confronted is a little alarming.

Chances are the U.S. Forest Service will never catch up to this family, and it’s possible that they will never be aware that their photo is being shared over and over again (as of this writing, it’s been shared over 60,000 times). Is their crime worthy of a modern-day witch hunt? That’s a question that may have less of a clear answer. Social media can bring about rapid results, from adopted kids seeking birth parents to people looking for items they lost in public places. It can also help solve crimes, but may have the unhappy side effect of painting the suspects in a negative light that can extend beyond the crime they are accused of.

I agree that this family unit should answer for their vandalism, though, and hope that if they are found, the kids learn a valuable life lesson on proper behavior on public lands. Minimizing this act because it was relatively minor does these kids no good. Don’t carve your name or initials into things. It’s really that simple.

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