Reading Justice: Vandalize a Home, Read a Poem

RobertFrost.jpgThe Associated Press reports that about 24 “young people” vandalized Homer Noble Farm, in Ripton, a former residence of Robert Frost for “more than 20 summers before his death.” The facts read like a New England version of House Party — a couple kids buy $100 worth of beer, word gets out, and

Up to 50 people descended on the farm, the revelry turning destructive after a chair broke and someone threw it into the fireplace. When it was over, windows, antique furniture, and china had been broken, fire extinguishers discharged, and carpeting soiled. Empty beer cans and drug paraphernalia were left behind. The damage was set at $10,600.

The one who bought the beer received a three day sentence. The charges for most others were for trespassing. Most plead out and accepted a diversion involving a class on Frost:

“I guess I was thinking that if these teens had a better understanding of who Robert Frost was, and his contribution to our society, that they would be more respectful of other people’s property in the future and would also learn something from the experience,” said Addison County State’s Attorney John Quinn.

It would be nice if the world of sweetness and light could be true. Reading Frost might be able to deter drinking to excess, destroying property, and soiling carpet (a nice way of saying vomit and other bodily excretions in one version of the article). Or it may make one think that the world has gone mad. Haruki Murakami has a great story “The Second Bakery Attack” in The Elephant Vanishes about an attempted burglary that results in a Wagner listening session and an odd form of marital therapy. The story is well worth the read. But it is a story.

Whether this small nod to sweetness and light really works or is the right recourse falls into the world of draw your own conclusions.

Image: WikiCommons

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4 Responses

  1. Miriam Cherry says:

    The type of people who go to a party and trash historic homes probably do think reading poetry (or reading anything) *is* a form of punishment.

  2. JohnLopresti says:

    The elderly gent still had regal fire when he visited a place I was once. His message was much about internal discipline in his writings, though in public his personna was more rounded. Yet, I am glad the prosecutor accepted community service from the illicit attendees at the historic site destruction. Perhaps a few of those youth will discover in their own life a road less traveled and less littered with aluminum can discards.

  3. Amy says:

    I don’t consider reading poetry to be a form of punishment but it is a close second. Regardless, I am not going to trash a home of one of the celebrated poets of the past no matter what I think. Amy