Spring Break 2016 breaks from tradition

Selena McPherson/The NewsSelena McPherson/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Selena McPherson/The News

Selena McPherson/The News

When you lend someone an article of clothing, you probably expect it to be returned washed and folded – good as new, or as good as the condition you last saw it in.

Sometimes this simply isn’t the case.

You get it back and there’s a ripped hole no amount of patchwork will attractively cover up and it smells not-so-faintly of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Now imagine a giant article of clothing with more holes than fabric, drenched in every type of alcohol known to man and covered in sand: Panama City Beach, post Spring Break, ladies and gentleman.

Panama City Beach, or PCB, Florida is such a massively popular Spring Break destination that a website exists solely for that purpose: PCBeachSpringBreak.com. According to said site, PCB is the “Spring Break Capital of the World.”

Every year, this city lends its beaches to hundreds of thousands of college students who blow in and out within a week’s time and leave little more than the devastation of a drunken hurricane in their wake.

Thus, when looking at the pros and cons of being such a monumental tourist attraction throughout the month of March, the PCB Chamber of Commerce decided the cons outweighed the pros and has made some changes for the current Spring Break season.

According to their website, the following ordinances have been passed:

  • Increasing the Amount of Civil Penalties for Open Containers Violations
  • Prohibiting Balcony Climbing
  • Prohibiting Parking in the Right-of-Way in Scenic Corridors After Dark
  • Alcohol Hours of Sale During March
  • Prohibiting Drinking in Commercial Parking Lots During March

And possibly the biggest let-down for some Spring Breakers:

  • Prohibiting Alcohol on the Sandy Gulf Beach During March

They clearly know that subtlety doesn’t work well on college students looking for a good time.

According to Ordinance 1353, against the consumption of alcohol on beaches, “beaches in this state represent one of the most valuable natural resources of Florida and it is in the public interest to preserve and protect them … the City finds them to be a tremendous resource and asset to the community.”

Public intoxication and littering aside, these ordinances were also put in place to prevent incredibly serious crimes.

According to a report by the Bay County Sheriff’s office, 2015’s Spring Break season was a record-setting year, and not in the good way.

Here are the numbers:

  • 93 guns confiscated
  • 507 drug-related arrests
  • 2,423 total arrests
  • 19,439 collective calls for service (Panama City Beach Police Department and Bay County Sheriff’s Office)

These numbers don’t even include unreported sexual assaults and cases of alcohol poisoning, among other potentially-fatal situations.

So before you leave for Spring Break outraged over the stance this travel destination is taking against popular Spring Break pastimes, consider the possibility that this sets a good, not bad, precedent for other Spring Break destinations.

Nobody is taking away your right to have a good time. If you’re at least 21, nobody is taking away your right to drink responsibly.

These ordinances are about two very important things: respect and safety.

Respect yourself, others and the cities you’re visiting.

In fact, leave it better than you found it.