If you're not a Jersey Shore native, you may not be aware that a fight involving 300 (yes three HUNDRED) teens broke out on a Margate beach and ended with the arrests of a few teens at a local Wawa. Locals had noticed the mass of teens, but surprisingly, no local teens were involved in the fight. A Philly newspaper cited that many of the kids came from the Cherry Hill area. One local police officer was hit with a Gatorade bottle, but thankfully no serious injuries were reported. Other charges included alcohol and marijuana, and most of the kids involved were under the age of 20.
As a local, I'm puzzled. I'm used to seeing hoards of rowdy teens and pre-teens roaming the Ocean City Boardwalk, often a first place for parents to permit their kids to go unsupervised for a little bit, but never had I heard of a fight en masse or a need for police involvement. Even Wawa, a local hangout spot for Shore kids and non-shore kids alike, had never bred a problem such as this.
My first question would have to be: where were the parents? I do not think that kids need to be supervised every last second of the day, but there definitely needs to be more supervision if they have nothing better to do than to get in trouble. The Jersey Shore, especially places like Margate and Ocean City, are family-friendly and extremely safe, and we should all aim to keep it that way.
Local workers at the shore know the pressures that summer and tourists put on our home. Dealing with this influx of people brings traffic, long work hours, crowds, excess trash and litter, parking difficulties, and more people who still think it's a good idea to feed the seagulls. What I cannot stand is the idea that people on vacation who think that it's okay to come to my home and cause trouble and disrupt people trying to live their lives and actually work. Thank goodness that this particular instance was not cause more injury or damage and that I can only think of this one instance of a mass fight, but the idea of things like this becoming a regular occurrence is wholly unacceptable.
Unfortunately, regulations like curfews and other laws have proven difficult to enforce and use as preventative measures for chaos such as this; as long as kids aren't blocking sidewalks in front of shops, there is not a lot that law enforcement can do to disperse groups. This means that it is up to us to keep our shores safe. I implore summer visitors to please remember that we LIVE here. This is not a playground that you or your kids can trash at will.