Building a Sand Castle with Metal tools is a Crime in Florida

The article was dated April 1, so I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. Because stories like the one I’m about to describe no longer surprise me, I checked to see if the story had been published elsewhere.

“An Alabama youth minister was fined $25 for using a metal garden hoe to dig in the sand with his 7-year-old son while on spring break in Florida’s Panhandle.

The News Herald reports Bryant Rylee of Moundville, Alabama, was building a sandcastle on Panama City Beach with his wife and son on March 23 when a police officer approached.

“Rylee said the officer told them they couldn’t use metal tools on the beach, and Rylee asked to have the law cited to him.”

The officer told Rylee “that she would let him off with a warning if he simply filled in the hole. But Rylee wasn’t buying it. He wanted to know what ordinance he was violating.”

First, there’s nothing wrong in asking what actual law is being violated. We’re a nation of laws, not of men, although you won’t know this by some (most) of the decisions coming down from the courts.

Second, the law sounded ridiculous when the officer said the hole could not be deeper than two feet when it was only one foot deep. So where was the violation? This escalated the situation and brought more police for an illegally constructed beach sand castle.

“Before the officer could tell Rylee which ordinance he was violating, the family was surrounded by police. In fact, four patrol units would show up and sit there for 20 minutes before any of them could produce the law which said metal beach toys were illegal.”

Using metal digging tools is a safety issue but driving four multi-ton patrol cars onto the beach isn’t?

I’m all for protecting people from sexual assaults. But it’s obvious that this seven-year-old boy was not engaging in anything like a sexual assault. If someone is willing to engage in an illegal sexual assault is also willing to violate the law regarding metal digging tools.

What often happens is that one incident like a sexual assault results in the passage of ridiculous laws that only hurt and incovenvience innocent people.

Have you ever wondered why crazy laws get passed? Now you know.

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