Thievery, carelessness tarnish beauty of isles
SATURDAY marked my first anniversary of living in Hawaii. During this year, I have felt incredibly welcomed by almost all of the people I have met. The openness, generosity, acceptance and family spirit that I see inspire me.
I have lived with a local family, welcomed into their home, talked and ate with the homeless, made many new friends. However, I also have seen the opposite.
Within this paradise there lives a large number of selfish, self-centered, arrogant people who have no consideration for others or simply don't care -- or, even worse, think they are in charge. In the land of aloha, such people stick out like a sore thumb and cause us all grief.
Who are these people?
» People who steal. People who take someone else's property, who take something someone else worked for and earned and just walk off with it. They are nothing more than parasites; they can't cut it on their own, so they have to take advantage of someone else. Maybe if they stopped their drug habits, they could afford to buy their own bike and clothes.
» People who enjoy littering. Several months ago I wrote a letter to the editor about a guy who threw his used bottle in the bushes and said, "It's OK, someone gets paid to pick that up."
Go to any bus stop and look down. If you can count the number of cigarette buts on the ground before the next bus shows up, you get a prize. Go to the bus stop on Nimitz Highway, ocean side near Puuloa Road. There must be at least 20,000 cigarette butts in the area. I have never seen such blatant disregard for the land. This alone should justify making cigarettes illegal in Hawaii.
» People who enjoy damaging property. The other night in Waikiki, while walking home from clubbing, I saw five guys pushing each other around in a shopping cart, running into the landscaping, damaging plants, knocking them over and even pulling them out. When I confronted them, they all got up in my face and wanted to rumble, the runt of the litter talking the most trash, all of them telling me I was in the wrong for telling them to stop what they were doing. When I told them I live here and have to pay for their mess, they said they also lived here, then used a racial slur. The whole time, one of them was calling me out and provoking me, wanting me to fight the five of them. (It would not have been a fair fight. They needed five more.)
» People who create graffiti. It's everywhere. On the bus stops, on the rocks at waterfalls, on a new building not even finished yet, on the sidewalk, on fences -- everywhere. It's not art, it's not "self-expression," it is destruction of property and it makes Hawaii ugly.
To the people who do these things: You, your family and friends are suffering with higher taxes because they are paying to clean up your mess. You have no right to complain about problems with life here, because you are the source of some of those problems.
Everyone in Hawaii is complaining about the higher taxes for everything. Want lower taxes? Hold people responsible for the destruction of the land and property and for cleaning it up. Make them clean up their own messes, and you will not have to pay for it:
» Get your brother-in-law to stop stealing, and you will not have to pay for more police.
» Get that guy next to you at the bus stop to pick up his cigarette butts, and you will not have to pay for the overworked street sweeper.
» Get your kids to stop writing on the bus stops, and you will not have to pay more for a bus pass.
» Get your friend who just threw his bottle into the bushes to put it in the trash, and you will not have to pay for a trip to the emergency room from your kid stepping on glass.
» Get your drunk friends not to tear up the landscaping, and your kid's school will have money for repairs.
To all of the wonderful people who have welcomed me to your islands, mahalo. I sincerely enjoy being here, being home. I hope to help you clean it up. One day, one step, one piece of trash at a time.
Curtis J. Kropar is a systems engineer and Web site designer. He lives in Waikiki.