Is there something in the human condition that needs to be just a little bad, just sometimes, just to establish your own identity? Is it like the psyche's pressure safety valve?

When I read Erin Vogt's story about a couple of Rowan students allegedly causing $6,000 of damage to the public holiday decorations in the Glassboro Town Square I was angry. It just seemed so senseless. According to authorities witnesses said one man was climbing the Christmas tree apparently trying to take off the star up top. When police arrived authorities say the man got down from the tree to run, destroying a section of lights and damaging branches. Police say surveillance video shows the two men, both 19 years old, wrecking a big Santa hat decoration as well. Police also say video shows the men trying to yank bicycles down from a wall mount in a parking garage and kicking the bumper of a car.

They face various charges. You can read more details in Erin's article here.

While at first I was angry, thinking how absolutely senseless this sort of thing is, I quickly reminded myself of things I did when I was a teenager and the ridiculous stunts my friends pulled. While I never tried to destroy property for fun, I drove recklessly for a time. Honestly? That's even worse. I could have hurt people instead of things, and I'm sorry I did.

I had a friend who made sport of stealing milk crates from behind grocery stores, not for any great reason.

I had another friend who pried the small name plates off of cars for a brief time.

All stupid. And if you only knew this about us, you would have every right to think we were nothing but jerks or thugs. But it was short-lived, we all went on to have careers and be responsible adults, pay our taxes, help out charitable causes, raise kids properly, etc..

So I don't know what it is with those brief years in our teens. We were raised well. We would go on to all be good people. Is there just something in human nature that needs to flirt just a little with defiance and danger even if mildly? If we don't do a few dumb little things younger do we end up more repressed when older, and do we make larger missteps? I'm sure it's been studied but I'm not going down that research rabbit hole. All I know is when we hear of these dumb things, let's remember our own before we throw too many stones.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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