I had planned a column today about a wilderness poll that the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance recently conducted. However, that will wait until next week while I get off my mind something more recent and personal for all of us at the newspaper.
Early Sunday morning I was called at 2:45 a.m. concerning a break in at our office on Main Street in Price. When I got there I was appalled at the damage that had been done.
Someone had taken some of our landscaping rocks and thrown them through four of our front foyer windows, broken out door glass in the foyer and also broken out one door glass that went directly into the building. The perpetrator had left a note which the police had already picked up. They arrested a suspect within a half an hour. It was good work by the Price Police Department.
I called my wife and she came down and for the next six hours we cleaned up glass, picked up pieces of rock, boarded up windows and vacuumed. As I moved the landscaping rocks back into place, I wondered about what had made someone so angry to do this? What had we done that they couldn't have resolved with some kind of civil discourse?
As I worked through the night the wonder became anger. This wasn't just an attack on the Sun Advocate, it was an attack on the community. Nothing in recent memory had ever happened like this to the newspaper before. We have had a lot of people yell at us, we have even had some that I and past publishers have had to ask to leave the building because of their confrontational style. A few years ago we had a little graffiti on an outside wall. But never anything like this, nothing physical.
Worst of all as my staff learned about the vandalism, many of them felt violated, just as many people do when their homes are burglarized or someone breaks into their car.
We are all trying to put meaning to this. True no one was hurt physically (other than a cut I got getting rid of some of the glass) and the world will go on. But for those of us that work here, this violation of our space is hard to take. The Sun Advocate has a wonderful group of employees who are dedicated and hard working. We have pretty much felt safe in our environment here; now I and others are not so sure of that anymore.
This wasn't random violence. We were singled out, the only business in town to have received this kind of treatment on Saturday night/Sunday morning. A note had been left and while it was rambling and did not exactly point fingers, it seemed obvious to me it had been aimed at us.
An arrest has been made and someone will be prosecuted for the crime, and possibly found guilty. The glass will be replaced, the window sills repaired and the gouge in the wall from one of the rocks will be plastered over.
But none of us will ever have the same peace of mind that we had before the incident. It isn't hard in our minds to translate the violence that was done to this building into possible violence that could be done to a person.
And for the greater community, such an attack takes away from it too. We are the communitys paper, hopefully a voice for everyone that wants a voice between our opinion pages, letters to the editor and our various articles.
Everyone in the area suffers when something like this happens.