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No folly at Folly Beach

There are two sides to every story.

For some people, relaxing at the beach needs to involve an alcoholic beverage in order to be really pleasant. “Knocking back a cold one,” as they say, is the same as eating a hot dog or lying on a beach towel.

On the other hand, hot dogs and beach towels don’t encourage people to act in inappropriate ways -- usually. Rowdy groups of people, often including those who are underage, annoy the people who live in the area and those who frequent the beaches.

So over at Folly Beach a temporary ban has been levied against alcoholic beverages. They join a long list of beach towns who have such laws for just such reasons. In fact, Folly Beach was the only beach in the Charleston area where it was legally permissible to drink alcohol. The ban was set up originally to last 60 days right after a large group of drunken people caused quite a ruckus on the fourth of July. During that riot, five officers were hurt and seven people were arrested.

The 60 days would end after Labor Day weekend. But before the August calendar’s page had a chance to flip, the Folly Beach City Council voted 4-3 to approve a permanent ordinance against allowing alcohol on the beach. It may become final after two more readings.

Residents complain that the alcohol changes the behavior of the young people from wise to wretched. Normally polite people begin using off color vocabulary and leaving a mess of trash behind, expecting other people to pick up after them. Broken glass is hard to clean up on a beach, and bare feet may be injured.

Mayor Tim Goodwin says, “But if there is no drinking on the beach, they're probably not going to be planning a fraternity party there." Sad to say, it’s not that people are going to say, Oh, well, let’s just skip the liquor and enjoy the ocean and the sand and the sun and sports and each other instead. It may mean instead that they go somewhere else so that they can drink alcohol.

Professor Leatherman of Florida International University doesn’t think that it will hurt the economy too much because people will still enjoy coming to the beach – they just won’t be able to bring their six packs.

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