The Town of Ocean City is doing exactly as it should with next week’s potential influx of rowdy automotive enthusiasts.
The official H2Oi event has been relocated to Atlantic City, N.J. after not being held at all last year. Despite it not officially being held at Fort Whaley in Whaleyville as it has for many years, there was still a large presence of the young element that has generally come to the area intent on wreaking havoc on local roadways as well as trashing properties.
Based on last year’s draw without the event and the online threat by many to come to Ocean City anyway, there is no option for the town. They have to prepare for the same trouble as has occurred in the past when the event was held 14 miles west of Ocean City.
It’s a hard read to gauge social media comments. There are several Facebook pages set up for H2Oi and a majority of those commenting say they are coming to Ocean City. It’s unknown if they prefer it over Atlantic City, simply want to return to Ocean City because it’s fun or whether they enjoy coming to a place where they are not welcome.
The fact troublemakers will be targeted while here was delivered loud and clear this week. This is a familiar tactic Ocean City has found success with in the past.
Several years ago, word came through social media that a college takeover weekend was planned in Ocean City after a similar event held on Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront resulted in violence, thefts and property destruction. Ocean City got the word out early and often about law enforcement agencies partnering to ensure peace and good order. The messaging was long on threats and warnings and short on specific plans. That’s what appeared to be happening this week.
“We have individuals that remain brazen and they are determined to come into town with ill will,” Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said. “There will be absolutely zero tolerance and every one of our officers will be working during this event in some capacity.”
Once word spread of Ocean City’s law enforcement position, the robust absurdity online grew to even more preposterous levels. Clearly, there is a segment who relishes in not being welcomed to town.
The fact is the actual H2Oi event never truly mattered to the miscreant lot. They used it as a date to circle on their calendar with no intentions of registering for or even attending the event. They come to town intent on being unruly, ignoring the laws, racing on Coastal Highway and acting out against common rules of decency. Ocean City is right to show through tough talk and threats it wants no part of this bunch.