We are celebrating independence, so how come Santa Cruz beaches look like prison camps around the Fourth of July?
You know the answer: Police want to make sure that people don't blow off illegal fireworks or get too drunk and harm each other.
So they have fenced off the beaches along the coast, restricted parking and will search bags on the Fourth of July to make sure people aren't bringing in illegal fireworks.
They've also instituted triple fine zones along the beaches for the offenses, raising fees as high as $1,500.
On one hand, I'm happy that they may quell some of the violence and mayhem that the alcohol and explosive charged holiday brings with it.
On the other, I wonder about the Ben Franklin quote: "Those willing to give up liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both."
Living a block from the beach, I noticed last year that people avoided setting off fireworks on the shore and instead did them in my neighborhood, which felt a lot less safe. And as stretched as the police and sheriffs are, it was doubtful they would get to a complaint in time. In fact, as I sit here at 7:43 p.m., charges are going off already.
Is it worth turning the most beautiful beaches anywhere into prison camps for a day?