I don’t know about you, but I remember how absolutely glorious spring break was. Everyone would go to the beach, party it up, and live life to the fullest before having to go back to school and get back to the grind.
At least, that’s what it was like in high school. I had one in college before I went into the Navy and, for some reason, the military doesn’t give spring break.
When it comes to such frivolity, there’s no place better than Florida. It’s where we went back in the day and kids still go.
Surf, sand, and semiautomatic weapons.
Florida officials seized a staggering 75 guns from rampaging partiers in a spring break beach town this past weekend alone — calling it enough firepower to “arm a small army.”
“What we saw this past weekend is absolutely unacceptable,” Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said Monday.
“The behavior of these pathetic cowards that came to our beach and committed these crimes, their actions will not be tolerated.”
The surging weekend chaos culminated in the non-fatal shooting of an Alabama man in Panama City Beach on Sunday. Javonte Sanders, 22, was busted in relation to the shooting.
Authorities have been struggling to contain spiraling spring break revelry in several Florida areas including Miami Beach.
There was plenty of other chaos going on as well, with a Walmart in Panama City being stormed and basically wrecked.
Clearly, this calls for gun control, right?
Not really. Some will see it that way, but again, we’re missing some serious context here.
Every year, 500,000 students reportedly flood Panama City for spring break. Meanwhile, police confiscated 75 firearms.
Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t sound like a huge problem when you look at the numbers. Sure, it’s less than ideal.
Further, we know that these include high school and college students from throughout the nation, and only a relatively small percentage are remotely old enough to lawfully purchase a gun as it is. Then there’s the issue of transporting them. Many spring breakers fly into Florida for their visits. While you can transport a firearm while flying, those who are too young to own one legally aren’t likely to do so.
Which means most of those causing the problems are driving to the beach.
All of this suggests that, as per usual, you’re dealing with a small minority of people causing the problem. You’d do better to address that small minority than to create broad, sweeping rules that won’t be adhered to anyway.
Don’t get me wrong here. I get the problem. Drinking is a staple of spring break at the beach and we all know how well guns and alcohol mix. Couple that with the drugs we know also show up and it’s a bad combination.
Luckily, this is Florida.
What I mean is that Florida may have a history of knee-jerk reactions, but it takes something far more than police confiscating a number of guns from kids at spring break. They’re not going to get stupid and try and pass regulations that won’t do anything but will let lawmakers pat themselves on the back for “doing something.”
They’ll recognize that this may be an issue, but it’s an issue that laws are completely and totally insufficient to address. A different approach will be needed.
What is that approach? Damned if I know, but I do know that if the laws on the books didn’t stop this from happening then just how in the hell do you expect a couple more laws to actually do so?