When such acts are committed against organizations seeking to make a difference in the communities they serve, this thoughtless aggression is altogether outrageous.
Couple these heinous crimes with the potential for personal injury — or worse — and the severity of their ramifications is further compounded.
We have addressed previously our disdain for unthinking and callous antics.
Their range is a wide and sad commentary on the dark side of our society and the unthinking ways of some of its members.
One such premeditated wrongdoing was the series of assaults on Interstate 75 motorists from overpasses, one of which included a bus carrying the young members of Voices of Lee.
Another were the short-lived incidents of looting against Bradley County families whose homes, property and lives were ravaged by five unprecedented waves of tornadoes and storms that raked across our community April 27.
The most recent came late Friday night when one or more suspected culprits burned the Goodwill donation trailer that operated from the BI-LO Shopping Center parking lot at Dalton Pike and APD 40. Interviewed by Cleveland Fire Department Capt. Ben Atchley, witnesses reported seeing an unidentified person toss an incendiary device onto a couch that had been placed under the trailer. The donated piece of furniture caught fire and the blaze spread to the under-section of the trailer.
As firefighters arrived, they found the structure completely engulfed. The storage unit, and all the donated contents, were destroyed.
Information and evidence collected are being turned over to Lt. Donnie Sullivan, CFD fire and arson investigator.
It is bad enough that an uncaring person or persons has committed such an outlandish crime against another.
It is bad enough that hate, anger and such a malicious disrespect toward others has been unleashed against any one individual or group.
It is bad enough that those who rely on the discounted pricing and community service of Goodwill are those who are most directly impacted by this crime of arson.
But the biggest crime is its potential.
What if innocent people had been placed at risk? Even worse, what if life had been taken? What if these inexcusable acts of atrocity had led to the serious injury — or the death — of the assailants? What if by chance the raging inferno had spread to the roof of the neighboring shopping center whose businesses might still have had employees inside? Or to the neighboring restaurant that recently opened?
The potential for catastrophe is frightening.
Perhaps most alarming is that which lies in the hearts and the minds of those who would make such decisions to inflict harm against others or their possessions.
Whether the reportedly intentional burning of the Goodwill donation trailer was a random act of vandalism, a result of childish peer pressure, a crime of revenge or simple boredom, the point is people could have been injured.
Lives could have been lost.
Had this occurred, the crime would have been murder, not just arson.
We urge those with information or anyone who might have witnessed suspicious activity last Friday night in the vicinity of the Goodwill donation trailer to contact Capt. Atchley or Lt. Sullivan at the Cleveland Fire Department.
Regardless of its motive, arson is a crime punishable in a court of law.
We encourage investigators to move thoroughly yet swiftly.
By any standards, arson is a hideous act.
One whose punishment should be mindful of not just the crime but its potential for disaster.