WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH – Social Distancing mandates have led plenty of local muncipalities to take it upon themselves to close access to public spaces, never mind excessive and nonsensical some of the closures are.
A father playing catch with his daughter in an empty park in Colorado was recently arrested and cuffed in front of said six year old daughter because the park was closed to enforce social distancing mandates. Arrested for violating social distancing laws. In an empty park.
In North Carolina, public parks are being regulated for social distancing in lots of popular places, but in Wrightsville Beach, just venturing on to an empty beach will earn you a $650. Plus court costs.
“[…] Officials in Wrightsville Beach say if people are caught on the beach in violation of the public beach closures, they could face fines of up $650 and potential court costs, WWAY reported.
Before the change, offenders faced a misdemeanor that carried a $150 fine. After handing out 18 citations to people violating public beach closures over the weekend, the town said changes were needed.
Town leaders passed an ordinance allowing police to charge anyone caught on the beach with a $500 civil penalty up to the officer’s discretion.
Former Wrightsville Beach mayoral candidate Greg Buscemi suggested the only reason for the change is the loss of parking revenues. Mayor Darryl Mills said the change was to give officers some flexibility and an alternative to giving someone a criminal record.
However Buscemi said a civil fine doesn’t give the violator a chance to defend themselves in court. He believes what the town is doing is illegal and said he plans to sue the town if they do not reconsider the ordinance. […]”
This is one example of the excesses inherent in employing authoritarian measures to accomplish a public health goal. The exhibition of local and state governments abusing authority afforded them by a emergency pandemic responses is a site to behold, and beware of.
Fining people for walking on beaches, cuffing lone surfers for being alone in the ocean, or arresting a father playing catch with his daughter in an empty public park; these are examples of things that happen when local shot callers are high on power and just cannot stop themselves. These are things that happen in a police state.
Is this the ‘new normal’ we’re just supposed to accept and get used to, because it’s for the ‘greater good’?
Read more about the Wrightsville Beach fines here.