Well, it starts off the way one expects: An abandoned home. Back in the 50’s or 60’s that just would have meant that local neighborhood kids would make up spooky stories about ghosts that live there…or urban legends about “Ol’ Man Johnson” who was mean to the bone. However, imagination predominated, not activism…
Now, what was relatively innocent fun around abandoned homes is now turning into a rave-like free-for-all where packs of feral children organize wirelessly…and aggressively.
These kids are texting, Tweeting and Facebooking events that have been occurring throughout the West, as is being presently reported in trendsetting states like California and Texas, with Florida also joining in. Six events occurred recently in one county in California, with “eVites” taking place online (via Facebook, Twitter and the like).
Despite the feral nature of the event, the hosts of this electronic free-for-all do display classic “Miss Manners” etiquette by providing an abundance of Sharpie® markers to invitees. Well, one cannot be a bad host. Can one?
We are surprised by this type of behavior…and disappointed. As REALTORS®, we deal with the emotions of struggling owners everyday. How many of us have sat across the table from an owner that is just inconsolable, tearfully resigning themselves to the fact that their dream of home ownership is now a nightmare…a dream they may never see again…or not see for a while?
Some of those listing appointments still haunt us to this day. That is why the vandalism makes us so mad. It is disrespectful to the prior owners whose memories are being trashed along with the physical damage — the height marks on the wall from the kids, the memories of the first kiss in the home, the first child, the stupid fight that made you remember that you really DID love each other that much! All of those memories get trashed too — the home’s “soul” sullied forever.
We may be right to be mad at the banks, or the irresponsible owners who willfully got in over their head. We may be angry at the unscrupulous REALTORS® who have since gone out of business or lost their licenses. However, that does not give us the right to devolve into feral animals, or allow our children to either.
It’s spiteful. It’s hateful. It’s feral.
To be direct, we have problems. However, they only get worse when we allow the lesser among us to pull us down further.
Let’s not just leave it to the police to stop these feral children. Let’s all keep an ear open and report suspicious behavior to the police so that the bad apples can be addressed, without dragging us down.
We hope we can rely on your support in stopping this abusive behavior.
For more on this story on CNBC – http://www.cnbc.com/id/48688084