Leaving Your Mark

posted Jul 10, 2018, 6:30 PM by Paul Wagner

We've become incensed at some of the recent news stories of idiots in our national parks and other natural places painting their names, carving their initials, stacking up piles of stones, flying their drones, or in some other way making sure that the rest of us won't experience the place in its pristine beauty.  We're happy to read that a few of them have been caught and punished severely--although not severely enough for our tastes.

We were mollified a bit by reading Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad, a story about his travels through Europe and the Middle East with a group of American tourists soon after the Civil War.  And he noted the same problem then.  In fact, many in his party were prone to not only carve their initials in the ruins, but also break off a bit of stone to take home...

"One might swear that all the John Smiths and George Wilkinsons, and all the other pitiful nobodies between Kingdom Come and Baalbec would inscribe their poor little names upon the walls of Baalbec’s magnificent ruins, and would add the town, the county and the State they came from—and swearing thus, be infallibly correct. It is a pity some great ruin does not fall in and flatten out some of these reptiles, and scare their kind out of ever giving their names to fame upon any walls or monuments again, forever."

Reptiles.  We're going to borrow that...

And yes, those are bullet holes in the photo.  Apparently someone thought it would be fun to try to see how many of the petroglyphs they could shoot before they ran away.