Cultural Changes On Display All Over

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Is Ocean City changing? That’s a question many have been asking of late, and the obvious answer is yes.

Ocean City is changing and so is Fenwick Island, Berlin, Millville, Salisbury, Ocean Pines and communities across the country. We are always in a state of flux and it has to do with society always in a constant evolution.

Perhaps no place is it most evident than in Ocean City, a true melting pot during the summer season that epitomizes the racial diversity of this area as well as the multitude of cultural norms that seem to be changing by the week. Ocean City is really no different than a big mall — it’s a mecca for people watching and usually a reflection of what is the norm in society today.

Rather than turn our noses at the many different segments of society that come to Ocean City, perhaps we should embrace it more, albeit with a cautious eye and a requirement that those bastions of today’s culture behave within the boundaries of the law and acceptable standards.

That’s why this week’s well-rounded discussion on a proposed decency ordinance being championed by Councilman Brent Ashley served a worthwhile purpose. The discussion has largely centered around baggy pants, but it’s much more complicated than that. It’s about establishing a set of standards to what Ocean City finds is acceptable. It’s murky waters to chart to be certain, and the will of the council does not appear to support a law restricting the type of apparel people can wear on the Boardwalk.

Nonetheless, the conversation was revealing and symbolized what many have on their minds of late. Council President Lloyd Martin was perhaps most blunt about it, referring back to the crime wave in June that is largely linked to the senior week crowds.

“We had a week in Ocean City that was a little unruly … hopefully that is not the norm. I haven’t seen it as the norm in Ocean City … we will get to the bottom of it. We find out who these people are and why they are here. That is what you do. It is not about how somebody dresses,” Martin said. “I want a positive message to be sent out there. I want to show that we are going to address the concerns, do the right thing but not jump to conclusions. We need to do it right …”

Martin is on point and a brainstorming session to reflect on the madness that was this June needs to be balanced with the traditionally family-rich months of July and August and the event-rich September.

What we have observed in Ocean City is reflective of what is happening across this country. People simply do not behave and act in the same manner, and many of us are bothered about how foreign it appears to be. Acceptable behavior is not today what it was five or 10 years ago. Generally, some people seem to enjoy extolling a grim exterior as a means to intimidate. Many people are apt for more aggression during simple confrontations and evidence of that is everywhere around us.

Case in point is last month’s shooting in the downtown area that began with a verbal altercation and eventually led to a man pulling a gun and firing multiple shots at other subjects. Last weekend, a couple men questioned a motorist speeding through a parking lot. That motorist then pulled out a machete and threatened them.

These sorts of extreme reactions spotlight what has changed in our culture. Rather than verbal sparring or a fistfight or a shoving match ensuing in these two incidents, a gun was drawn and a knife was pulled out. That sort of excessive reaction is a new phenomenon.

How the city can address that sort of cultural shift is unknown. It’s probably impossible, but the process needs to start with identifying what exactly the city can address within its power and then determine how it goes about it.

While we hoped that discussion would take place sooner than later, the fall might actually be the best time, but it needs to be when the entire summer as a whole is fresh on the minds of policy and decision makers and concrete data can be used to facilitate realistic options.

9 comments on “Cultural Changes On Display All Over

  1. I agree with the editorial that things are ever changing…I suppose the big questions is not how to stop change but how to ensure the change that happens is desirable. The unfortunate reality is that when a criminal element begins to feed on a new host (moves into an area or neighborhood like OC) and no one does anything about it, more will come. Why? Because there is low hanging fruit…easy money, new market to sell drugs to, easy to intimidate, etc…Enacting new regulations, rules, or laws does nothing but make the honest person feel more restricted…those offenders will continue to be offensive…taking advantage of the unsuspecting…does this mean that everyone needs to harden to the fact that the criminal element has arrived in OC…and is here to stay?
    Well, I challenge the real residents of OC, the Chief of Police, the Mayor, the town council and all of the business owners to come up with a plan to make it undesirable for the criminal element to feed…much like bacteria needs a host to stay alive, lets figure out how to stop being the host…I will not take my teens on the boardwalk after 2 or 3 pm…and even earlier in the day the element is not so great…I see an arrogance of you can’t do anything about me sitting on your front step…watching your daughter and maybe calling out some rude or crude comment…The way I see it, and it’s unfortunate, but the OCPD does not have teeth…if they did the criminal element would not be so quick to behave the way they do, pulling knives, guns, and quick to throw down.
    On another note, the seniors that visit in June are not only letting their hair down, OC is embracing a come and do whatever you want mentality…we will not hold you accountable unless you put yourself in such danger that we’re forced to step in.
    Want a view of what’s going on…visit the Emergency Room after midnight during a summer weekend…obviously the bartenders do not know when they have over-served someone…
    The message should be that if you come to OC and break the law you will regret it and are not welcome back.
    Let’s not only advertise Rodney but let’s advertise Zero Tolerance!

  2. If you’re going to appeal to younger crowds with events geared to get them to come to OC then families with children might become turned off about all the hubbub that it brings.Drinking and drugging combine to add fuel to rowdy behavior;it’s just common sense to expect it from people that have issues and bring that baggage with them to our beach and nightlife.

  3. From where does OC’s money derive ? These are the people paying the bills here. Simply put..the people who come here are..anyone. The boardwalk crime is disturbing and an intolerable situation; through the years, it has definitely escalated. And, in so doing, mirrors what is occurring in many communities. Exclusion is not the answer. Perhaps more cameras on the Boards could be helpful ( every block ). Why not ? Privacy is not the issue; public safety is. Let the discussions begin…that’s the best start.

  4. Change cannot happen overnight. Current council has not been on the job for 1 year yet. Must remember challenges today involved descisions which took place in the past. To have a citizens committee to take back OC (ala HALLS) includes those to made decision which we have today. Making OC familar to when family traditions ruled CANNOT happen overnight. Understand several of us remember when times were family. How we got to the situation our City environment is today will take time to reverse. City decisions and BUSINESSES must work together to reclaim good times from the past. When everyone only thinks how I will recoup that juicy nut (i.e, $$$$$$$) then any move forward is short term. City and business MUST work together to assure a resemblance of yesteryear. History to me is a learning processes. Reverting to how things were doesn’t help today or the future. Learn from the past and move forward is the only way that all are successful. Without all with the same goal then we will fail.

    As I have said, trying to sell a room for $450 a nite and its empty does not do any justice. 2 steps back to move 1 step forward….or digging the hole a bit more to finally get out may help LONGTERM if everyone is on the same page.

    ~BUSHMAN!~

  5. Don’t stop there OC! Ban Speedos and bikinis for anyone over 35 or with a BMI over 20. And as for those “thuggish” hoodies, so popular with the young, well wh know they are a proven indicator

  6. @ Ty : Yes ! The Beach Plaza at 13 th. street & the Boards. Check their facebook page. Nice front porch, with Adolfo’s Restaurant attached to the business as well. Try them out.

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