Start the Presses: Broken window theory

What a mess.

Broken glass from the left-side window in front of the Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader lay strewn about the inside of our building. Someone, for unknown reason or motivation, destroyed one of our panel windows late Friday or in Saturday's pre-dawn hours.

On Saturday afternoon, I gave my report to a Glendale police patrol officer, after making an unusual weekend commute to see the damage. It's ugly. A gaping hole was below the papers' logos, and spider-web cracks of green safety glass crawled up the sides of the panel.

I feel violated and angry.

Was it someone, drunk and angry at the world, stumbling out of the Giggles nightclub two doors down? Someone upset with our stories? We share the building with North-West College, and perhaps some former student was displeased with the medical assistant training they received.

Or, perhaps, it was something else. Something that has nothing to do with any of us.

Still, odd things have been happening. A few days ago, someone decided to take out his anger on our mailbox, partially tearing it off the wall in our first-floor foyer. Several months ago, someone stole the news rack that formerly sat outside the building. That news rack was replaced, though put inside the building and within the range of our security cameras.

The officer I spoke to said there were etchings on the glass, scratches that looked like gang insignias. Someone from a rival gang, she said, may have seen those marks and decided the best course of action would be to bust the window down. Eliminate the canvas, so to speak.

I don't know. I only know that the glass was intact Friday night when I left via the front door about 6 p.m. That itself is unusual. I, and most of the staff, usually leave by the back door, as it's closer to the parking lot. But I exited the front door last night because I was attending Glendale's PATH Achieve annual gala at the Americana.

On a strange level, a good part of me hopes that whoever did this was motivated by undirected anger or gang ties. If someone decided to attack the newspaper office because of its stories, columns or editorials, we're all in a lot of trouble. There is violence and hatred in the world. That much is true. But if we can't talk about our issues in this public space, breaking a window instead, that's a sign that our democracy is going off the wheels.

Look at journalists in Mexico. I have met several reporters at papers in Michoacan and Tijuana, and have been deeply humbled at the idea they would consider me a colleague. Reporters, photographers and editors in Mexico take their lives in their hands daily to tell the stories of gang violence, political apathy and police corruption. Our biggest issues are poor drivers, municipal budget woes, and an overpaid former police chief.

Which is why I deeply hope this attack on our window was random. And I sincerely hope the police find the scum that did this. If you know or saw what happened, please let us know.

Our window has been boarded up. It is less than attractive, I know, but its ugliness is far preferable to having razor-sharp glass shards within feet of the public sidewalk. The window will be fixed soon, but my anger will not be salved so quickly.

DAN EVANS is the editor. Reach him at

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