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Stealing history A crime against the state
New Hampshire is a state that depends heavily on tourism, and much of its tourism depends on quaint, New England charm. A lot of that charm is irreplaceable. That is why a theft case that came to light last week is so disturbing.
John Campbell, 43, of North Sandwich, is accused of stealing a gate from a Bridgewater cemetery in May of last year and selling it for scrap. The gate dated from 1785. “It was a unique gate, it had a special design and markings,” Bridgewater Police Chief EJ Thompson said.
This was not just a property crime. It was a crime against history. It was a crime against the people of Bridgewater and the people of New Hampshire.
In 1785, the United States of America was still governed by the Articles of Confederation, and our Constitution would not be written for another two years. That gate lasted more than two and a quarter centuries, only to fall victim to some random thief. What a senseless loss.
State law places no more value on historical artifacts than the marketplace does. If we are going to preserve such artifacts for future generations, maybe that should change.
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