Two stories in the paper attracted my attention yesterday.

The first concerns Alisha, a 15-year-old local girl who’s a promising young horse rider. ‘In December 2020 her horse lorry was trashed by a group of vandals… in Pakefield, meaning she could not travel to compete in national competitions.’

The article describes how the lorry was trashed causing £8000 worth of damage. This has had an impact on Alisha’s mental health and her development as a horse rider. The police investigation has been closed due to lack of evidence.

The second is about Grayson, a 12-year-old lad. Grayson is a SWAN – he has a ‘syndrome without a name’. ‘Grayson is a lively boy with a lot to say, he doesn’t speak and communicate like most children…’

‘In a restaurant with her husband and two other children (his mother) was asked if she could stop Grayson making so much noise… when she explained that no, she could not, the diner cemented her rudeness with, ‘Well you shouldn’t bring him out then.’’

The first story of physical vandalism is all too common… vandalism to children’s play areas or memorials in cemeteries… with a monetary cost, but also significant personal distress.

The second example of verbal vandalism – hurt-full, pain-full, distress-full words – is widespread and is equally destructive. Racist or homophobic abuse is often highlighted and well publicised. Mostly verbal vandalism goes unseen and unrecorded…


The ‘Vandals’ originally were a German tribe who were good at destroying things. It’s easy to think that vandals today are a foreign tribe…

… I may not be a physical vandal but I have been a verbal vandal. I still have that potential…

…James, Jesus’ brother, talks about the tongue being like a fire, a small spark that sets the forest alight…   

King David prays: ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’

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