With the weather turning to glorious sunshine, even shade-dwellers like myself tend to poke our wee ginger heads out of the shadows and slurp in some badly needed Vitamin D.
Victorians hit the beaches, stay up longer at night to enjoy the cool breeze and generally try to move many of their regular indoor activities to the great outdoors. The vast majority of us are mature, responsible adults who are simply out to have an enjoyable time, but for some reason this is also the time of year when the blue suits upstairs decide our police force should concentrate more heavily on minor infractions rather than the big picture of keeping the public safe.
Our average citizen should never be afraid or angry when they see a police officer walking towards them on the beach, but so many of our pursuits of happiness seem to contravene some ridiculous bureaucratic law that common sense is no longer the golden rule.
If an adult is having a glass of wine or a beer with his BBQ on the beach, leave him alone.
If someone is smoking a joint while taking in the sunset, leave him alone.
If a group of friends is having a small fire on the beach before the tide comes in to wash it away, leave them alone.
If somebody is being violent or abusive to others, drag him away and lock his ass up because he has become a threat to public safety.
I know that most officers, if given the choice, prefer to keep the peace than break out the rule book, but like a lot of corporations, it’s the suits at the top who need a paper trail and statistics to prove they’re getting the job done. But it’s also this restrictive, top-down administrative mentality that makes the public cynical and angry because they know the summer crackdown has less to do with crime and punishment than it does with balancing a ledger somewhere to justify the next budget increase.
A police presence on our favourite beach should be a comforting sight, a sign that the officers are there to ensure common sense prevails, that a drunk won’t get behind the wheel of his car and that children can be free to roam in safety. We need public servants, not a private army. M
North American Award
I’m happy to report that Monday has been selected as a Top 3 finalist for the Association of Alternative Newsmedia 2012 AltWeekly Awards to be handed out in Detroit on June 8. One of only two Canadian papers short-listed, Monday is a finalist in the photography category for its covers designed by Grant McKenzie and shot by a great team including: Danielle Pope, Nicky Nadeau, K.J. Dakin, Travis Bower, Derek Ford and Shelley Lipke.