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There will be a toll to pay for bell theft

Posted: January 27, 2013 - 1:09am

As the boys from Spinal Tap once said, “It’s a fine line between clever and stupid.”

There is also a line between mischievous school prank and criminal enterprise. Ask the Greenbrier High School Glue Girls about that.

And Greenbrier is where this tale of intrigue begins on Jan. 19, when Greenbrier’s cast iron Victory Bell went missing.

So when the bell was found on school grounds Jan. 24, less than a week after its mysterious disappearance, did that make things good.

Word from Greenbrier is that they know what happened, it has been handled administratively and all is well. And that the bell will be welded on instead of bolted down this time.

“Hopefully we’ll be ringing the bell soon,” said Garrett Black, Greenbrier’s athletic director who paid for the bell out of his pocket five or six years ago.

So, I take it to mean that students pulled the stunt, but Black would not confirm or deny the matter was handled administratively by Greenbrier or by another school in the county.

Hmm.

Will this mean the swift arm of the law – or school punishment as the case seems to indicate – deter others from the same unappealing behavior?

Well, as of this writing, victory bells at Evans and Lakeside remain safely in place.

Perhaps the perpatrators found out what Columbia County Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris already knew, that while there is a market for cast iron, the price is about 9 cents per pound. Compare that with copper, which sells for nearly 37 cents per pound, and you wonder if that is what drove our modern day Quasimodos to return their ill-gotten booty.

While stealing mascots has become a part of folklore and is usually glamorized on television and in movies, real-life incidents are becoming less accepted.

Over the years it has become routine that the Naval Academy mascot, Bill the Goat, is stolen during the week of the Army-Navy game, including this past football season when he was found unharmed, tethered to a median near the Pentagon. It was reported that both service academies have agreed not to steal mascots.

We’ll see how that goes next year.

When I was growing up, pranks were fairly tame, like toilet-papering someone’s house.

OK, maybe pranks weren’t tame, maybe just my friends and I were. I think our biggest claim to fame was going behind a group that toilet-papered someone’s house and we un-papered it.

A fine line between clever and stupid, indeed.

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