Strong political opinions do not justify theft and vandalism

As the presidential election comes to an end, the mischief it inspired hasn’t. Many have been reporting their campaign signs being thrown away, broken, and stolen. Strong feelings and opinions on a subject do not justify the vandalism of other people’s possessions. People shouldn’t disregard other’s privacy because of their entitlement to their own opinion. 

This country’s first amendment gives people the right to freedom of speech. There are everyday displays exercising this amendment, such as placing a poster on a wall, any type of personal post on social media, or expressing support for a favorite football team by sporting their jersey. A fan of the opposing team can’t just decide to strip that person of their teams’ jersey solely because they think their team is better. Likewise, putting up a political sign addressing their standpoint is just as constitutionally protected and shouldn’t be exempt from fair treatment. 

Theft of a little sign may come off as insignificant and petty. However, this is not the case. This crime is made more serious by the fact that individuals often intend to find and steal campaign signs specifically, blatantly stripping people of their freedom of speech during a time where it is important that everyone gets their voice heard.

People are allowed to advocate for a specific political party. They shouldn’t be scrutinized and have their things tampered with due to their belief system being different from someone else’s. Rationally, it is inexcusable to remove stuff that belongs to other people for the sake of differing judgments. Using crime to validate a view’s superiority over another is unjust.

When one mistakenly stumbles upon money, it could leave them at a standstill on whether or not to take the money or leave it. According to the “finders keepers” rule, they didn’t deliberately go out and search for it. The money is unclaimed and it’s not illegal to take it. In contrast, no authority has stated that the theft of political signs is legal or allowable by any means.

It is against the law to step foot on another person’s residence unknowingly. There is no vindication for blatantly proceeding onto another individual’s yard to remove their possessions without authorization.

Sign theft is a trend that could snowball into something worse. The internet has been popularizing vandalism as a symbol of hate throughout the campaign. This problem may seem mild but is actually a felony.

For instance, there is a viral video circulating around of a girl seen running across someone’s lawn, snatching a campaign sign along the way. She hops in the car and speeds off.

Although this may come off as innocent shenanigans for the sake of views and likes, it is very dangerous to take part in this disruptive behavior.

A man in the house next door could catch her doing this and from his perspective, she is trespassing. Without context, he could assume she took more than just a sign.

This action can put oneself at risk because the owner of the property could react violently, or you could be prosecuted for vandalism or trespassing. All it takes is being in the wrong place at the wrong time to do real time.