The Hateful Apple
By Jenn Watt
Oct. 4, 2016
The saying goes that one bad apple can spoil the bunch.
We often say this when we don’t know what else to do. When one person or a small group manages to ruin things for the collective.
“What can we do?” we say and throw up our hands, “it just takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.”
And it’s true. Last week we saw in dripping black detail what one wormy, poisoned apple can do.
For the second time in three months, someone (or a group of hateful someones) spray painted the front of Prettypaws Pet Boutique and Spa on Highland Street in Haliburton.
The store’s owner, Christopher O’Mara, arrived to work on Wednesday morning to find “FAG” painted across his door.
The first time this happened, back in June, O’Mara said he hoped it was one misguided kid with nothing to do. Now that it’s happened twice, the motivation seems more sinister.
He isn’t sure what to do. An outspoken, ambitious young person in town, O’Mara is the kind of person who confronts things head on. When graffiti first appeared on his store, he demanded a community conversation about LGBT issues take place – and it did. This time around, the storeowner wonders whether conversation is enough. He’s installed video cameras and has even suggested he might move his business to another town, if the harassment keeps up.
We all need to process just how serious this is. We need to take heed.
One of this town’s young entrepreneurs is being targeted for his sexual orientation with an act of pure hate by one of our residents. By our very own bad apple.
This isn’t a situation that is happening to Christopher O’Mara and his dog grooming studio; this is happening to our town.
O’Mara asked what kind of message this vandalism sends to gay youth coming out to their parents, friends and family members.
What message does it send about our town?
As happened in the last instance of graffiti, the vast majority (and I mean vast) of the town surrounded O’Mara and Prettypaws with love and support. That is happening again.
But we need to do more. This person (or persons) cannot be allowed to continue targeting members of our community with their ignorance and hate.
Someone has seen something or heard something. Someone knows who did this.
This wasn’t a one-off stupid act by a bored teenager. This is a person determined to intimidate one of our community members.
As we support O’Mara in dealing with this hateful act, we need to find out who is doing this.
This isn’t an issue affecting one business owner. This is hurting our whole community. It needs to end.