As a former resident of Long Branch and someone who is very fond of Pier Village, it pains me to see something like the pop-up party chaos that occurred last weekend. But I’m not naïve enough to think that there’s anything we can really do to stop it.

Aside from increased police presence to prohibit the breaking of any laws, what can New Jersey do in a free country with social media that would prevent hordes of teenagers gathering for a party, or for anything else for that matter?

If we learned nothing from the protests of the summer of 2020, we learned that kids are going to gather where they want to gather and that social media is the perfect forum for spreading the message.

Sen. Robert Singer is calling on Governor Murphy and the state Attorney General's office to create a task force to prevent these types of chaotic incidents from happening in other shore locations.

attachment-Long Branch pop-up Singer

He says this is not a case of getting some people together and going to the shore, but rather an organized orchestrated criminal act.

"If we don’t take swift action, this problem will get out of hand and threaten to disrupt the vital shore economy at the worst time imaginable," Singer said.

He’s also asking for New Jersey transit to get involved, claiming that thousands of kids descended upon Long Branch over the weekend by way of train. But, in a free society where movement is considered constitutionally protected, how would we stop kids from coming here?

Long Branch considers legal action after pop up parties (Townsquare Media)
Long Branch considers legal action after pop up parties (Townsquare Media)

Constitutionally, there is absolutely nothing to prohibit kids from gathering for what they are calling a party whether it eventually causes chaos or not. Once the police are there, they can, of course, arrest any kids engaging in unlawful activity. But as much as Singer would love to prevent a Long Branch scenario from happening again, and preventing a scenario where kids “flood the streets, intimidate residents and visitors, disrupt businesses and overwhelm local law enforcement,” there is simply no real way to do it.

As we said during the summer of protests, this is America after all.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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