About those beach closures in Los Angeles

Writes Timothy Williams:


Having read Ryan McMaken’s thoughts, I thought you might like another perspective on our uneven lockdown in Southern California.

I live in Venice Beach, where my friends and I have worked daily for a year on a community sandcastle, facing intimidation and threats of arrest from beach-maintenance bureaucrats. The police, having been called on us repeatedly, ultimately determined that there is, in fact, no law against building a sandcastle.

When the beach here was shut down by county fiat, it was empty for several days, during which the bureaucrats bulldozed the sandcastle, apparently as an “essential service.”

This past Saturday, however, something miraculous happened. The beach was swarming with people and surfers, all seeming to keep a respectable distance, while lifeguards looked on impassively. Anyone would have thought it was a normal spring day. That entire day I did not see any law enforcement anywhere near the supposedly-closed beach.

Early the next morning I went out with my shovels and was immediately invited to leave — though by lifeguards, not law enforcement. I had made the mistake of going out before the crowds arrived.

It is clear from these events that the county has nowhere near the resources necessary to enforce such an absurd and counterproductive measure as closing the beach. After all, reasonable people recognize the beach as an ideal place to ride out a pandemic, or a hysteria, as the case may be.

So today, we may walk on the grass, but not on the sand. Such absurd rules are made to be broken, and absent an army of riot police, the county’s only recourse is to make a vicious and arbitrary example of the occasional surfer and dog-walker. These draconian measures only undermine their legitimacy further.

The AP headline blared: “Officials across California losing patience with those violating stay-at-home orders.”

But what I observed was Californians losing patience with “officials” and their “orders.”

As Tom Luongo recently noted, we will defeat the tyrants not by marching through their institutions, nor by violent resistance, but simply because a growing plurality are tuning them out.

Wouldn’t it be a delightful irony if Californians led the fight against statism with a collective “whatever, man.”

Sincerely, your fan for decades,