Did you ever feel like you needed to just scream, yell and stomp your feet? There is nothing like throwing a good old tantrum to help relieve some of those pent-up frustrations. If you haven’t tried it, you ought to. It actually feels pretty good. However, before you do, consider the locale.

They say, in life, timing is everything. Standing in front of a mirror in your room jumping around like the half-naked monkey that we all are is OK. Standing in front of a mirror jumping around like a half-naked monkey while in the local JCPenney indicates to everyone that you forgot to take your medication. At home, good; at JCPenney, medication and possibly rubber room.

My point is this: We all have those moments that just make us want to scream. That’s normal. What has helped separate us at least one step (or maybe just a half-step) on the evolutionary chart from Bobo the dancing circus monkey is our ability to control our urges. OK, this is not a bid to take over the Wednesday Hump. I’m just talking about dealing with each other out in Isla Vista every day.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped someone for some minor violation like an open container or MIP, and the person begins by yelling and screaming about the unfairness of it all. They work themselves – or sometimes their nearby friends – up to the point where all communication stops. I’m not saying you have to agree with the ticket. Disagreeing is totally fine. I’m not saying you have to pretend to be happy. Honestly, if I think you’re really happy about getting a ticket, I might be questioning your current medication dosage. It’s about learning to communicate in a way that might help achieve your goal, whether it’s just to let the officer know you disagree, to convince him to not write the ticket or to let us know that you think it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Many may find it surprising, but most of the time when we write tickets, we actually have fairly good conversations with the people receiving them. When asked genuine, honest questions, most officers will attempt to answer them. However, comparing your MIP to Stalin’s political purges in Russian history probably won’t get the warmest reception. But even if your questions don’t get answered then, wait until the next day and then ask me or any other officer. Venting at the time you get the ticket rarely helps to resolve anything and makes everyone more frustrated. I absolutely encourage you to question authority – just do it effectively.

I was trying to keep my party private by putting up a tarp over our yard. The I.V. Foot Patrol came by and told us we had to take it down. Can they really give us a ticket for that?

So, believe it or not, keeping parties contained and private is one of the goals of the Foot Patrol. Tarps and awnings can go a long way in doing this; however, they also present an extreme fire hazard. When you talk to your friends about what a blazing time you had at that party last night, we want it to be because you hung out with some great people, not because your head caught fire. The fire code (Article 32, section 3201) prohibits the attaching of large tarps and other materials to building structures or within a specific distance without the proper permit. The reason is that many, if not most, of the plastics used in tarps are flammable and can catch fire fairly easily as the temperatures rise under the tarp. The last thing we want to see is a repeat of the fire at the White Snake concert in Isla Vista that was partially attributed to the improper use of flammable materials like foam and plastics. So have a great time, but just realize that the officers will probably tell you to take the tarp down, or give you a ticket and then make you take the tarp down.

Ticked off by a ticket? Party popped by the Patrol? If you’ve got questions, don’t let it eat away at you. Ask questions. Call Sgt. Signa anytime at 893-4063 or e-mail him at Mark.Signa@police.ucsb.edu.