Michael Foster
Dr. Mark Hall
5 March 2002

Weston in Weston, West Virginia?
An Unman Sighting

In C.S. Lewis' book, Perelandra, the character of Weston, notoriously known as the Unman, has a purely destructive nature. Weston's destruction, however, doesn't serve a purpose, but rather he is destructive for its own sake. Throughout the story, Weston plucks the feathers from birds, methodically dissects animals, and even cuts down plants. Weston's behavior fits his namesake as he attempts to "unmake" creation.

This desecration is seen today through the destructive medium of vandalism. Vandalism doesn't receive much public attention, but it can be seen almost anywhere. There are many forms of vandalism, but ultimately, vandalism doesn't serve a purpose. Theft equates to personal gain or greed, and Murder relates to aggression or vengeance towards an individual, but what about vandalism? Vandalism is rooted in one thing, the joy of destruction.

I remember at a young age witnessing the disgusting act of vandalism. On Halloween, the jack-o-lanterns my sister and I worked so hard to carve were taken from our porch. In the light of the next day, we found our works of art smashed in the street. Through the years, I have been able to deal with falling victim to violence and theft, but my righteous anger towards vandalism has never been reconciled.

Ironically, in Weston, West Virginia, a historic museum was vandalized. The interesting fact about this case was that the culprits were not misguided youth, but adults. To make matters worse, these adults were members of the law enforcement community in that area.

Some may argue that since the damage was caused in the course of a paintball combat game, the men are only guilty of having irresponsible fun. Consideration, however, must be given to two points. First, these are adult men, and second, these are men that have been selected, trained, and entrusted with the public welfare. Based on these circumstances, the destruction was unequivocally premeditated and deliberate. They were nothing more than vandals.

This unprecedented case adequately serves to illustrate the unfortunate direction of modern society. As we wonder what the Unman could possibly be thinking during his reign of terror, we also must speculate what these guardians of justice were thinking as they vandalized a public building.

Whatever compelled the Unman to destroy life is surely what must compel vandals to deface, demean, and destroy. Does the Unman walk among us? One sighting in Weston, West Virginia would answer with a resounding, "Yes!"

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