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Our Opinion: Cracking down in the dunes

January 02, 2002

We have made it clear that we think it is urgent that something be done to get under control the mess that has become our local sand dunes on recent holiday weekends.

The first step might have happened this weekend, when a larger law enforcement contingent kept the carnage, at least the personal assault-oriented mayhem, down a bit.

That does not mean that is enough or that calm will hold. There are increasing hordes of drug- and drink-addled blockheads who are going to the dunes and raising hell and hurting others in the process. While the dunes were once largely a family area, word seems to be spreading that if you want to act the fool and ignore the laws, head to the sand dunes way out in Imperial County and let loose.

These losers ruin the dunes experience for all those who fear such people … and who wouldn't fear drug-addled punks with weapons?

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That takes us to our next point. Arvel Reeves, 66, of Mesa, Ariz., died after being shot during an argument with a group of young Southern California men in the dunes. While there might be some dispute over who first produced a weapon, there is no doubt that the group of young "men" who came into Reeves camp were acting like thugs, "borrowing" things that weren't theirs and then trying to physically impose their will on a family group.

While the men were arrested on attempted murder counts while Reeves was still struggling to live, they were soon released because of a lack of evidence, according to authorities. Now the case is a homicide, and we hope investigators come up with whatever evidence might be missing to pursue such cases against whoever shot Reeves.

Maybe the evidence will point to it being a justifiable homicide. If that proves to be the case, we hope law enforcement officials will look into other areas in which they might pursue charges against these men. Those possibilities could include assault, motor vehicle theft or any number of other avenues.

While we want the law followed to the letter, we are convinced the message needs to be sent loudly to such people that thuggery will not be countenanced in Imperial County, that the dunes are not a place to leave city or suburban life and act like a bunch of idiots, and mean, gun-wielding ones at that.

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