Editorial: Hants County weir vandals step up to the plate, apologize

Carole Morris-Underhill
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When Darren Porter's fishing weir in Bramber was vandalized in late June, few people thought the culprits would ever make a public apology.

After all, to do so would be to admit wrongdoing and put the culprits in a precarious position should Porter renege on his offer for clemency. But not doing so also carried a risk. It would result in Porter asking the police to lay mischief charges.

As fate would have it, Matt Davidson and Corey Faulkenham, both of Wolfville, stepped up to the plate this month and apologized for their actions.

It was a bold move, and one that speaks volumes.

Although the apology is short and to the point — the full letter can be read here —they did something that few people would do: they apologized. Not only did they apologize, but they didn't shift the blame onto anyone else. They accepted full responsibility for their actions.

Sit through a day or two of court proceedings and you'll likely hear every excuse tossed about to deflect the responsibility from the person in the wrong. Having these young men voluntarily come clean in this paper is a giant step towards them being forgiven by the community. It speaks volumes as to the authenticity of the apology.

For Porter, their apology was just what he was hoping for. The longtime fisherman didn't want to proceed with a mischief charge. With our backlogged court system, Porter recognized if the case proceeded and they were found guilty, they would only get a slap on the wrist. He wouldn't get enough in restitution (if any at all) to repair and replace the sliced nets. He wouldn't get the cost of the fish he lost. He wouldn't have the satisfaction of knowing that the culprits felt bad for their actions.

What Porter wanted was for the weir vandals to feel shame, and ultimately, by admitting to their misdeed, learn a lesson.

While Porter's challenge certainly resulted in a life lesson for the young men, his compassion and level-headed approach to the situation is something the community can stand to learn a little something from as well.

Porter has proven that just because something negative has happened, it doesn't mean something positive can't come of it. Similarly, just because someone has done something wrong doesn't mean they don't deserve a chance to redeem themselves.

Sometimes justice can be derived by means outside of the traditional legal system. Porter's pledge to not press charges if the individuals came forward and apologized was not only commendable, but a smart way to teach a lesson to a younger generation, and avoid adding to the workload of our already burdened justice system.

In the end, Porter's decision, and the culprits' response, was just what was needed to restore balance and a sense of security down at the popular Bramber attraction.

 

Organizations: Department of Justice

Geographic location: Bramber, Hants County, Wolfville Windsor Nova Scotia

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