After the happenings of last weekend, I feel too strongly to sit by quietly and let the Halloween melee go uncommented on. I am a second year student and a second year resident of the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive. I was here on Halloween last year, and I remember thinking that was insane. Friday night has changed my mind.
I live in a house with 14 other people, and all of us were shocked and dismayed to walk out of our house Saturday morning and see that not only was our street in shambles, but our cars had been destroyed as well. Drunken party-seekers had climbed atop our vehicles as they struggled to get a glimpse of the packed street. Saturday morning, the evidence of these people on our cars was undeniable, both in the muddy footprints covering our hoods and roofs and the shattered windshields which had likely taken an assault from a drunk’s knee or foot.
There are two points that I wish to make.
First and foremost, the damage to our cars was not done quickly; it was ongoing. People were standing on cars for more than half an hour. Why is it that if you accidentally walk out of a party with a beer, there never fails to be a police officer on hand to write you a ticket, but when there are 30 people standing on top of cars, there isn’t a single one around to help?
Where were the officers when a drunken sorority girl tried to assault me for not letting her into my home? I’ll wager a guess: they were probably down the block, out of the thick of things, writing people tickets for being drunk in public. It is both frustrating that people were arrested for breaking the open container law and for being minors in possession, yet not a single person was stopped, cited or arrested for causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to our cars.
Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate the things that the police officers stand for. However, they are not serving and protecting Isla Vista. They are harassing and hindering. I also say this not as the bitter recipient of any of the aforementioned tickets, but simply as a law-abiding resident of Isla Vista who finds it ridiculous that at the age of 21 I can neither consume a beer in my driveway nor play music after midnight on the weekends.
The second point that I want to make to all of those so highly critical of the residents of I.V. is that we are not the reprobates we are so frequently labeled as. We like to party, but most of us living in I.V. also have jobs, carry full class loads and graduate. Many of the people who live in I.V. visited here first, loved the atmosphere and became a part of it.
I.V. is a community. We may be a community of rowdy college kids, but overall, there is a sense of unity and pride in our little town. The thing everyone needs to understand is that our pride in our community is not manifested in planting begonias and holding community meetings. Our pride in our community is manifested in a unique atmosphere. We are a very open, inviting, welcoming, laid-back town – the sort of place where you can drive in for a weekend, not know anybody and not only be welcomed into any party you walk into, but likely be offered a couch to sleep on if you need one.
However, it is this welcoming attitude that makes us easily exploited, as many of us feel we were on Friday. Thousands of people packed the streets of I.V., many of them not knowing anyone here and just looking for a party. These are the people that the police need to concern themselves with, not the residents, because we don’t want them here either. And my roommates and I, whose house bore a sheet spray-painted with “GO HOME” all day Saturday and Sunday, couldn’t help but wonder, where were these guys last night?
Most of us in I.V. are college students, and most of us have a basic respect for one another. We are not the ones wrecking each other’s possessions because our possessions are here as well. What we don’t have a respect for are these Isla Vista Foot Patrol officers who would sooner write us a ticket for public urination than protect or serve either by watching out for us or helping us control the people destroying our homes, cars and neighborhoods.
Kristen Boyle is a sophomore English major.