For the second holiday weekend in a row, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area has seen peace mostly overcome violence and that may mean the plan of law enforcement to maintain order in the dunes is working.
It may mean we will never see another holiday weekend like Thanksgiving 2001.
The local dunes have become a focus of state and national attention following a Thanksgiving weekend in which violence escalated to new levels and one person was shot to death and others were attacked. That cannot occur again, and it appears — at least based on the recent New Year's and Presidents Day weekends — that the trend may have started to shift. Law enforcement may have gained the upper hand and delivered a powerful message of zero tolerance.
During the recent holiday weekend, about 150 officers filled the dunes, trying to make sure the dunes were safe for families to enjoy. Those who would seek to cause problems — most not regular off-roaders — have been finding their way to the dunes and they are bringing violence and idiocy with them. Most are fueled by drugs, alcohol or both.