This is going to be a long summer.

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to addressing the mayhem that occurred in several Jersey Shore towns over Memorial Day weekend.

Sadly, the long weekend started with an 11-year-old boy being shot in Atlantic City — and that story didn't get much play in the media because of all of the garbage that unfolded after that.

We had a stabbing right in the middle of the boardwalk in Ocean City. False reports of gunfire in Seaside that sent hundreds of people running off of the boards. And then the icing on the proverbial bullshit cake, due to "civil unrest," a state of emergency was declared in Wildwood late Sunday night into early Monday morning that closed that city's boardwalk.

Oh, and a couple of women brawled inside of a Wawa in Pleasantville. Police say mace was sprayed inside the store, causing it to close for a while.

Makes you want to bring the whole family down the shore for a summer vacation, eh?

Sadly, it's not even June yet and we're dealing with all of this crap.

I hate to say this, but this is going to be a long summer unless things change. Quickly.

But for that to happen, some of our elected leaders are going to have to step up. Quickly.

Following the events of this past weekend, we saw a parade of press releases from practically every elected official in the southern part of the state (although I don't think I've seen one from Gov. Murphy or Attorney General Matt Platkin).

  • Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano said the city will not tolerate "unruly, undisciplined, unparented children" nor let the laws of the state "tie the hands of the police."
  • Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland: "For those who come to our communities to create unrest, be forewarned that your bad decisions and bad actions will not be tolerated and law enforcement will use all legal measures to arrest and charge all violators."

Press releases and carefully worded statements are fantastic but they don't actually do anything.

So what do we do?

Let's go back almost two years to September 2022.

It was the last weekend of that month when an unsanctioned car rally brought thousands of unruly people to the Wildwoods. The streets turned into warzones and two people died. Local first responders were overwhelmed, cops from neighboring municipalities were called in, and it was a disaster.

Following that weekend, people were angry. All of South Jersey was angry. Pissed off. I've never seen widespread anger like that before.

And while no one died this past weekend in Seaside or Ocean City or Wildwood, one could argue that if our local police officers didn't step in and step up and take control like they always do — even with dozens and dozens of kids shoving cell phone cameras in their faces — who knows what would have happened.

Ocean City boardwalk
Ocean City boardwalk (Chris Coleman, Townsquare Media NJ)

I was reading what I wrote right after that Wildwood car rally and it fits what happened up and down the Jersey shore this past weekend practically word-for-word:

Elected officials will now be looking back at what happened.

And it's those elected officials that we will now carefully watch to see how they respond and react.

This is no longer about properly-worded press releases and 5-second sound clips on Action News that give the appearance of pretending to do something. It's time for Gov. Murphy to step up and stop this from ever happening again. It's time for Attorney General Matt Platkin to step up. It's time for our two senators to actually care about South Jersey (can anyone actually remember the last time either Cory Booker or Bob Menendez were in our area?).

It's time for Congressman Jeff Van Drew to step up.

It's time for the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office to come out swinging with a 40-pound sledgehammer.

It's time for the mayors of each town to scream at the top of their lungs that they will not put up with this shit ever again.

As one mayor said on Sunday, "Not here. Never again."

Do something.

That's what I wrote in 2022.

Sadly, not much was done following the events of that September in the Wildwoods. The island was cleaned up, two funerals were held, and I believe at least one person went to jail.

Now, much more than back then, kids totally disregard and disrespect police officers. Those in their teens and 20s see nothing wrong with creating panic or harassing cops just so they post a stupid video to TikTok.

Things certainly haven't gotten any better, have they?

It's been 18 months since that Wildwood car rally. People were so pissed off that that car rally never returned.

We're all really pissed off now, although maybe not quite to that level. Do we all allow this chaos to continue down the shore?

Photo Credit: TSM
Photo Credit: TSM

We've returned to unruly crowds overwhelming cops, people coming in and trashing our shore towns, people getting hurt, the Jersey Shore making national headlines in the worst way possible, and we get to sift through a pile of press releases citing carefully constructed quotes to give the appearance that we will do something.

Well, maybe. We didn't last time. But we thought about it.

Do we blame the parents for dropping their kids off in these shore towns and letting them run wild? Do we blame school systems for not teaching right from wrong? Do we blame the governor and the AG? Do we blame social media platforms?

Let's be honest here. We're not going to be holding parents responsible. We're not going to be calling parents out by name and fining them huge amounts of money for what their kids do. It ain't never gonna happen, especially in this state. Don't hold your breath.

And we're not going to hold our elected officials accountable, either. That ship sailed a long time ago.

"I voted" sticker
"I voted" sticker (Chris Swendeman)

So here we are... hundreds of keyboard warriors complaining on social media sites but not really doing anything while politicians are issuing carefully worded press releases and not really doing anything, either. Welcome to New Jersey.

Are we really going to demand change from those in charge this time? Are we really going to stand up and not tolerate this kind of crap any longer?

This is going to be a long summer.

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Gallery Credit: Chris Coleman

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