We've had some pretty harsh words for the vandal who damaged the giant U.S. flag on C Hill. And we meant every one of them.
But we also believe in forgiveness, and it's a good time to make that statement.
A Dayton teenager obviously did the wrong thing when he took a rock to the flag. Then he did the right things in publicly apologizing to the people of Carson City and, this week, taking his lumps in Justice Court.
Few among us can say we don't have a youthful mistake to regret. Some of us got caught; some of us didn't. The difference, it seems to us, is the ability to take responsibility for our actions and suffer the consequences.
As crimes go, vandalism to the C Hill flag has to rank fairly low on the scale of seriousness -- even if it ranks pretty high on the scale of stupidity.
No one was hurt. The damage done to the flag was repaired, and the sentenced handed down by Justice John Tatro -- $250 fine, $50 restitution and 80 hours of community service -- will cover the costs appropriately.
The damage done to the community's pride was more serious, but the teenager's apology and admission of guilt have gone a long way toward repairing it, too. Carson City residents can help close the circle by finding room in their hearts for foregiveness.
Unfortunately, there remains the question of who did more serious damage to the flag on Easter weekend, slicing a 30-inch hole in an attempt to cut out one of its stars.
It appears there is another culprit out there, one who is unwilling to take responsibility and who is unworthy of our compassion. He still has an opportunity to come forward. We wish he would.
Until then, we'll reserve our harsh words for him.