Opponents of skate law missing point

I

read three letters in your paper about the skateboarding issue and found one thing in common with all of them. After the first paragraph they all changed the subject.

In the first letter we have a gentleman who thinks skateboarding isn’t the issue. The issue for him is the town should hire someone to follow him around and help him cross the street. According to him he’s been hit by a car, had "numerous close calls and more than several confrontations," all while he watches "in anger" as shoppers, kids, and mothers holding sobbing babies quake in fear trying to cross the street.

If he’s really having this much trouble walking around downtown Red Bank, does he really want to add to the mix kids barreling down the sidewalk on skateboards?

In the next letter a lady asks "would it make sense for the mayor to suggest gymnasts to use an empty gym? Wouldn’t it be fair to provide them with balance beams, parallel bars and all the appropriate apparatus?" Well, I think that’s fine as long as you don’t use my property taxes to buy the equipment, and you don’t set it up on Broad Street.

But the final letter really got to me. This well meaning mother praises her son for his school record, his job and his albeit strange looking but very nice group of friends. Frankly, if I get hit by a skateboarder while trying to get to Riverview Medical Center (a favorite area for local boarders), I don’t care what his grades are and I don’t care if he has a job. Mom does clearly state one relevant fact: "Most kids their age think they own the world."

Children are not born with good judgment; they learn it through the experience of exercising bad judgment. That’s a big part of what growing up is all about.

It’s a public safety issue and nothing more. I, for one, usually follow the concept that there’s no government like no government. In this case I’m happy to see a proactive stance by council, instead of waiting until there’s an injury on borough property and we’re all standing around saying what a good kid Johnny is and we hope his victim recovers.

As one person who has experienced a strapping, 6 foot tall, 180 pound kid coming straight at me on a skateboard, hurtling down Broad Street, this is a no-brainer.

Should we have a good, fun, safe place for kids to skateboard? Maybe. I’ll even say probably, but it’s not Front and Broad streets.

William Chandler

Red Bank