New Bans Bad For
“Bans can’t be enforced. I don’t know why we have not learned this lesson. From Prohibition to the war on drugs, we repeatedly indulge the fantasy hat behavior can be banned. Invariably we fail”. Those were the wise words of the late Michael Crichton and he knew a little bit about indulging into the world of fantasy.
Unfortunately for Ocean City’s law abiding citizens, the legislature has taken a turn towards the fictional writing of a Mr. George Orwell and his masterpiece, 1984. In this dystopian novel, our heroes are stuck in a world of perpetual war and authoritarian surveillance that Big Brother justifies its oppression of its citizenry in the name of the ‘greater good’. I’m afraid that Ocean City has just taken several steps towards a more Orwellian future.
The Town of Ocean City has taken steps that it believes will take create a safer environment on the Boardwalk and tourist experience in general. I think it’s a foolish notion that such an arbitrary ordinance would do anything by outlawing the sale of such easily attainable items. When the legislature bans an inanimate object, the fact is that only law-abiding citizens will abide the law. Therefore, the possession of said object will increase disproportionally to those which are not law abiding citizens. Seems like common sense: law-abiding citizens will obey the law, while criminals continue to break the law. One can logically see how a knife ban (or any other ban for that matter) realistically removes knives from law abiding citizens while criminals will continue to run roughshod over the arbitrary laws that are for the ‘greater good’.
The state and federal lawmakers have already acted upon the misconduct and use of laser pointers and knives. The penalties for misuse of laser pointers can be up to a 10-year prison sentence and a fine up to $2,500. The laws currently on the books are an important deterrent to the misuse of these items. However, this particular ordinance goes well beyond federal and state standards of laser pointers that are sold at some of the largest retailers in the United States. This ordinance bans the sale and possession of the most common classes of laser pointers traditionally used by business professionals for presentations and stargazers, and certainly not by criminals, nor does it prohibit actual criminal actions.
For this reasoning, it’s irresponsible for anyone to believe that the Town of Ocean City’s intent of enforcing sales and possession restrictions that exceed federal standards can deter undesirable conduct and will instead ban, restrict and punish lawful commerce. The criminal laws that already protect many families’ visit to Ocean City, is not bolstered by arbitrary restrictions that are not consistent with federal standards. These ordinances are bad for business, bad for freedom, and categorically unenforceable.
OC Needs To Review
I am writing this letter today because I know that I am not the only resident in town who feels that Cruisin’ weekend is out of control. Something needs to be done. This event is broken and should be “fixed” before the town allows it to return.
Why are these people allowed to flaunt our laws? We have an ordinance for noise (broken), an ordinance against public drinking (broken), an ordinance against speeding and reckless driving (broken) and an ordinance against illegal trailer parking (broken). I wouldn’t want to be the one to explain our hypocrisy to visitors charged with those same violations later on this summer.
There was no police presence in the north end of town, at least not around Hooters, where they were needed the most. Coastal Highway was a parking lot for most of Saturday. God help anyone who needed an EMT. Those guys had their hands full. Why weren’t the police out directing traffic to keep it moving? Maybe open the bus lane for the 10 blocks before and after Hooters? Or better yet give the Cruisin’ exhibitors their own lane. Maybe someone should post a sign that tells traffic trying to enter the Inlet parking lot that the lot is full, before the jam starts. Overwhelmed is an understatement.
I am always reminded when discussing this subject that this event has been going on for years. No one wants to change anything for fear that business will somehow suffer. The business of Ocean City, that is to say, our image, our “brand”, is suffering from this ill-planned, poorly executed event. How many people didn’t come down because of Cruisin’? How many people will never be back? This weekend was an embarrassment to the Town of Ocean City.
I am not advocating an end to this event. I challenge the City Council to listen to the residents and re-examine what they will and will not allow. Stand up for the people who live here. No group event should impact the town at the expense of the people who call it home. If the cruisers want to come to Ocean City and obey our laws, we should welcome them … in March or April.
Gabriel A Mancini
Honor EMS Providers
During the week of May 18 – 24, 2014, Maryland joins the rest of the nation in celebrating National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. We commend the Maryland EMS providers who respond every day of every month to emergency situations, making our Statewide EMS and Trauma System a national model for life-saving care. With Governor Martin O’Malley’s commitment to public safety and the well-being of all Maryland’s citizens, he has recognized the accomplishments of EMS providers by designating Emergency Medical Services Week in Maryland.
Maryland’s EMS system includes thousands of trained and licensed, volunteer and career emergency medical dispatchers, emergency medical responders, emergency medical technicians, cardiac rescue technicians, and paramedics, as well as hospital personnel. As with any organization, it is the people that make the system work. What is extraordinary about Maryland’s EMS system is that over half of those people are volunteers. Both career and volunteer personnel engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their life-saving skills. We applaud these men and women whose efforts save lives and minimize the disabling effects of injury in Maryland.
Even with all these highly trained EMS personnel, we need all Maryland citizens to do their part as a vital link in this EMS system. By calling 9-1-1 when they see an emergency and learning CPR, they become a part of the team. The earlier the response, the greater the chances are of survival. We challenge everyone to become involved, and not be one to say, “Someone else will make the call” and be the one to step up to help save a life.
The citizens of Maryland should be proud of their Emergency Medical Services system and its EMS providers, and join us in congratulating them on a job well done.
Richard L. Alcorta
(The writers are co-executive directors of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems.)
For Event’s Success
The Ocean City Downtown Association would like to thank all those who made our annual White Marlin Festival Crab Soup Cook Off such a huge success.
A special thanks to our sponsors and contributors, OCDC, Mug and Mallet, Shenanigan’s, Ocean View American Grill, Ocean City Today, The Dispatch, The Bank of Ocean City and Nancy Howard. We appreciate all you do for us.
Congratulations to our winners. Best Red Crab Soup: first place, Fager’s Island; second place, Lazy River Saloon; and third place, Seacrets.
Best White Crab Soup: first place, Mother’s Cantina; second place, Marina Deck; and third place, Pickles. Best Decorated went to the Casino at Ocean Downs.
Thank you also to the bands Go With The Flow and One Night Stand and Tootsie Roll the Clown for providing a lively atmosphere and keeping the Somerset Plaza and Boardwalk crowd entertained.
Several non-profit organizations were also in attendance and we appreciate their interest in our event — Surf Riders, Ocean City Beach Patrol, American Legion, Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council, John Hopkins Children’s Center, Susan G. Komen and the Ocean City Life Saving Museum.
Thanks to Lisa Aydolette for putting it all together, and to all our volunteers, Vi Candeloro, Lauren Taylor, Charlie Deal, Anita Papa, Terry Aydolette, George and Glen Phillips, Vickie Barrett, Amy Rothermel, Tom and Cookie Allen, Nancy Howard, Sheryl Sallow, Tiffany Phillips, Joe Manganello, Brian McCarthy, Brooks Trimper, Kevin Kibbs, Jon Rothermel and our volunteer students from Stephen Decatur. You made a great team.
Mary Ann Manganello
(The writer is the administrator of the Ocean City Downtown Association.)