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Odd Monument
Bar Harbor
On my way to work, I pass through a little park in the center of Quincy. There is a small stone bench there, with the following inscription:
Dedicated to the strength and courage of all crime victims.
Every victim. Every time.
This seems extremely odd to me.

Are they suggesting that being a crime victim is a good thing, and that we should have more of them? I can't see how that could be accomplished without also increasing crime, which seem like a really bad idea to me.

Are they trying to suggest that all crime victims have extraordinary strength and courage? I thought crime victims were generally selected for their appearance of being weak and not likely to put up a fight. I suppose they could be celebrating the *smallness* of the strength and courage, but that seems unlikely.

Are they celebrating the fact that these victims survived the crimes, and didn't let them ruin their lives? But some of them *didn't* survive, and some lives *were* ruined, so the repeated emphasis on "every" seems counterfactual.

I suppose they might be saying that "If you are a crime victim, you should be strong and courageous about it." That would at least make a little sense. But if that's what they mean, they've phrased it very poorly.

(And for that matter, what are they saying by carving this into a bench? "We think this message should be sat upon"? "People who sit on park benches make great crime victims"?)

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Do you really want an answer, or are you just musing?

If you've got a real answer, I'd be interested to hear it.

I think a lot of crime victims feel utterly forgotten. The police have extremely limited resources, the prosecutors do as well, and most of the rest of their friends don't want to hear about it. Sure, there are victim advocate groups, but the larger portion of society just doesn't want to hear about it. Quincy has made a small, but permanent (and useful- benches are useful) effort to show that they care.

And as Fabrisse says below, when she was robbed, she doesn't feel brave during the actual crime, but she did feel brave (and she was) in choosing to go to the T the next day. Some crime victims (I'm including people who knew murder victims here, as well) have a lot of trouble working their way through what happened. Because it's hard. And it sucks. And sometimes, just knowing that it's possible to continue to live your life despite what happened, knowing that it can be done helps.

It's a small thing, in the grand scheme of things. But it shows that someone cares.

It is technically very poorly expressed, but I'm sure you get the emotional point -- a statement of support for all victims of crime. It would certainly be nice if it were worded more eloquently, but y'know...

Donating a bench is a fairly common way to pay tribute in small (and maybe large) towns around here. It's probably much harder to donate a monument, or a plaque on a wall, or something like that.

I find it a bit insulting. When two guys came after me with a gun, I was a coward. I gave them my purse, which had every penny I had in the world at that moment ($28.00 while I was at the nadir of my unemployment) and my passport.

Cowardice let me survive, because that gun was big and it was pointed at vital bits. Yeah, I called the police, but the entrepreneurs in question are still at large.

On the other hand, I walked home from the T stop alone the next night. I still count that as one of the top five brave things I've ever done.

That is rather peculiarly worded, but at least it's a useful bench.

I'll offer this thought: perhaps this is a subset of what one might call The Pride Meme, the odd phenomenon of folks taking pride in, well, really odd things to be proud of. As you mention, this appears to be saying "All of us/you crime victims are/should be proud of being crime victims, because we/you are all strong and courageous". To which I agree with you: yeah, right, crime victims are often (but no, not always) less than strong and courageous. But we do take pride in odd things, like being gay, or left-handed, or from Pocatello, or liking vinegar on our french fries. Or having been mugged.


not particularly proud or ashamed of being straight, right-handed, from Boston, liking ketchup on my fries, or having been held up at gunpoint.

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