A few years ago, I wrote about a teenager that had come to stay in our village. The ease with which she managed to poison the community spirit was frightening.
She came from a city centre background and was what I would call a bit “hard”. Foul mouthed, yelling at people, picking fights etc. Our village had never had anyone like this, we were all from rural backgrounds, the kids were relatively well behaved for teenagers, we counted ourselves lucky.
Within a month of this girl’s arrival, the boys were all strutting down the town, trying to out do each other in their new “hard” personas. The girls suddenly acquired make up and tighter clothing, ageing from young girls to wannabe Lolitas in a matter of weeks.
From leaving our doors open we had to start locking them as suddenly things started going missing. The police arrived at my door with my savings jar, smashed to pieces. I hadn’t realised it had gone missing.
The age of community was over as yelling, swearing, smoking and drinking became the norm. If you challenged them, well first they yelled at you, then your washing got covered in tomato sauce, then you got flat tyres etc. (Yes that is what happened to me personally).
It seemed such a short time ago we had counted ourselves lucky that our kids were growing up at a natural pace and were decent citizens, for want of a better description. This small village with an enviable sense of community was now like any other inner city estate, the gang of teens roaming round causing chaos and residents to afraid of the consequences to deal with it. So the community became less and that is sad, people stopped organising events, stopped making the village look beautiful. No point in planting flowers if they are ripped up every time you plant them.
Why am I telling you this? This is how easy it is to poison somewhere, whether it be a village, a workplace or a forum. It only takes one person to be pedantic and loud, another couple to follow and you have your gang. Answering any objections with force and ugliness, till very quickly, those objections die. Not because we don’t want to stand up to them but because it is easier to walk away and leave yourself in a better place, than to keep fighting and be villified. It takes a concerted effort to change such a place and only if you get together with others can you make a stand that will have an effect. It doesn’t take long until this vocal group start attacking newcomers and making the place undesirable for any but their narrow minded group.
It is sad to see a place I have been visiting for quite some time fall victim to this kind of poison. I hope there are enough of us to ensure the pedantic and loud faction do not end up taking over.