The state and its enforcers are not known for their common sense and proficient use of discretion. Instead, they are known for the opposite. An example of this lack of common sense and discretion was evident this week when an innocent family was thrown off of a public beach for shading their young children with a small half-moon tent.
Courtney Jackson, owner of Claws Nail & Beauty Bar in St. Catharines, Ontario, took her family to the beach this week on her only day off. Instead of having a relaxing time and soaking up the beauty of Crystal Beach, she was humiliated and threatened by police who forced her and her entire family to get off the beach — all over a tiny tent.
Jackson recalls going to Crystal Beach all her life. However, a lot has changed since she was a child. Just to get on the beach — which has seemingly morphed into a police state — beach goers must submit to a search of their bags and pay the state for the privilege of visiting. Once on the beach, Jackson was quickly approached by a "see something, say something" government-worshiping drone who then warned her about the tent she brought to keep her kids out of the sun.
"We get to the packed beach and a random man comes over and says 'did they tell you about that?', pointing to my half moon tent sitting on my cooler. He said, 'no tents on the beach.' I said to this random stranger, 'oh, of course not. What exactly am I able to do here?', Jackson recalled in a Facebook post.
Jackson, wanting to enjoy her time at the beach she just paid to be on, ignored the man who was trying to threaten her and 30 minutes into their beach trip, she pulled out the tent to shade her little ones.
"The choice was to either pack up 3 adults and 5 children and go 40 mins back home or to provide him with the proper protection I brought for him for this very reason. I popped up the half moon shelter and laid him down with two other children seeking shade," Jackson said of her toddler.
For the next hour, not a single person complained as Jackson's children played in the shade. But the relaxation was about to come to an end when the "see something, say something" citizen returned and threatened Jackson.
“What did I tell you about the tent. Take it down," the man said, according to Jackson, who promptly replied that she would not.
The man then threatened Jackson, saying, "oh no? Watch."
According to Jackson, this man returned 45 minutes later, this time, with the cops.
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"About 45 mins later this random guy and a Niagara Regional Police Service officer walk up to our stuff and tell us to leave! Our children were starring in shock and fear because they didn’t know why police officers were making their family leave. EVERYONE around us were either looking in shock or giving the police officers a piece of their mind," Jackson wrote.
Then even more cops showed up.
"No one understood why these police officers were so adamant that this apparent by-law was so important to uphold in this moment, that removing a 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10 year old from their beach day was more important. No complaints were made, no one was being harmed, bothered ..nothing! We were out and no refund was to be issued as they said," Jackson wrote.
Moments later, the family was kicked off the beach by these hero officers protecting society from the likes of evil mothers who'd dare set up a small tent to shade their children from the sun.
"Mommy, are you going to jail?" Jackson recalls her daughter saying as police escorted the family off the beach.
It is important to point out that yes, having a tent on the beach is against the city ordinance. Only umbrellas with a center pole no taller than seven feet six inches with a shade diameter of nine feet are permitted — which happen to be far larger than the tiny half-moon tent Jackson brought for her children.
The reason Jackson is so upset is because she feels like her beach tent was a bigger concern for police than “real issues” affecting her business and community. Many of the people who commented on her Facebook post agree. Apparently there is a problem in town with criminals and police are ignoring them, choosing to go after mom's and their tents instead.
We've seen this time and again with marijuana arrests and rapes. Cops choose to arrest people for victimless crimes like possessing a plant instead of investigating rapes and murders.
“On my one day off, I go to the beach and this is treated like I want to see serious crimes treated. That’s what I wanted to shed light on.
“I take ownership that I wasn’t aware of the bylaw, and when told I couldn’t have it up, I still put it up. (But) the police should be working with bylaw officers … ‘What is the actual problem, how can we help the family enjoy their day?’ Instead it’s, ‘Treat them like s—t, walk them out.’”