Dr. Mark Hall
5 March 2002
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!"