Local business owner, homeowner and local resident Dave Campbell sent us this letter: We wanted to post it for all to read!
On September 23-25, the Wildwoods, Rio Grande and nearby communities had their peace shattered and safety threatened when descended upon by a literal invasion—not the long-welcomed Irish Week celebrants or Car Show attendees but an increasingly infamous group calling itself “H2oi”. That group’s main claim to fame is being ejected from other locations due to drag racing on busy streets, clouds of intentional smoke, loud engines, and cars rigged to backfire—which any rational person agrees should be illegal due to the disruption of the peace and deliberate mimicking of rapid gunfire, making streets sound like warzones, masking any real gunfire that may occur, and sometimes creating panic.
During this chaotic, unpermitted “event” here, two people reportedly were killed and others injured in crashes. At least one person was stabbed. Our police were overwhelmed and had to call for backup from miles away. I’ve talked to people who were justifiably afraid to leave homes or businesses. H2oi members offered feeble defenses online, some claiming to have left when things got out of hand. But this group’s basic purpose is to act in anti-social ways, maliciously disturbing the peace, terrorizing and endangering residents and visitors. While it’s social media-fueled, probably without an organized hierarchy, its origins and instigators should be investigated. The seeming inability or unwillingness to control anarchistic mobs like this points to a larger problem in recent years, namely that decent, productive Americans who work, pay taxes and/or own homes or businesses, however humble, are captive to increasing volumes of requirements and restrictions.
Meanwhile, assorted miscreants, parasites, anarchists, sociopaths and their immature, thrill-seeking followers are effectively given free rein—and too often free money—with practically no behavioral expectations or limitations. Officials had advance notice of this invasion but mostly dropped the ball, other than empty “zero tolerance” warnings. There are just three bridges into the Wildwoods and three roads into Rio Grande, so access control is there. (Police did eventually close the 47 bridge.) This outrage must be prevented in the future by implementing roadblocks after widespread public notice, and banning, ticketing and towing illegally-modified nuisance cars. The silver lining is that this could be a money-maker. (In 2020, Ocean City, MD issued over 3,500 tickets and impounded over 350 vehicles.) But there has to be more than a once-a-year effort. Noise laws must be added or strengthened—and enforced—so those with contempt for others’ rights know they’re unwelcome unless they change their behavior.
Window-shaking boom boxes, loud exhaust, “gunfire” car sounds and other disturbances of the peace must be penalized. Reckless speeding must be curtailed. Disruptive minors on the boardwalk and elsewhere must be increasingly detained to await their parents, who should pay fines in many cases. Trenton must stop hamstringing local police with inane restrictions. For those unfamiliar with the “broken window theory” of policing, it states that unaddressed petty crime encourages more crime because it suggests “anything goes”. We, along with the rest of America and the world, suffered a pandemic that triggered a period of societal upheaval, but Covid is now a manageable problem akin to the flu. The crisis is over—it’s time to rein in the mayhem and restore some semblance of order. This is a clearly bipartisan issue, and politicians of both parties who are unable to contribute to this basic goal must be voted out in favor of competent people who can. In addition to municipal officials, let State Sen. Michael Testa, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan and Assemblyman Erik Simonsen know how you feel.
By Dave Campbell Wildwood, NJ.