Solution to cruising issues may be #039;minutemen#039; away

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 6, 2005

Many months ago I had a conversation with a man who'd grown up in Ironton and as folks will often do, we started talking about news items.

At that point, one of the big things under discussion in the city of Ironton was how to solve the problem of cruising.

And, to be fair, it isn't the cruising, per se, that's a problem. Having a number of people driving up and down the streets isn't really that harmful.

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Sure it's a pain for motorists who try to make it through downtown, but it's not patently harmful.

The problem begins when folks either hop out of their vehicles or toss things out their windows.

Downtown residents complain of the noise and mayhem caused by some of these people. And, despite what some folks may think, the problem isn't the teenagers; it's the technically adult group of people who go downtown and act like teens.

Business owners complain of having to clean up everything from simple trash to broken bottles and even human waste.

In discussing the problems, with the Ironton native, he replied.

"What can we do?" he asked. "The police say they don't have enough personnel. They go down there every once in a while, write a few tickets and that clears it up - for a little bit. Then, as soon as they stop patrolling, the problems return."

I have to admit; I didn't really know what the solution was beyond constant police enforcement.

Now I've never claimed to be an overly intelligent person. I'm just your average fellow. But I'm pretty hardheaded, so when confronted with an insurmountable problem, I'll just keep plugging ahead until I find a solution.

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about the cruising problem and I think I have finally come up with a solution.

We should create our own anti-cruising force, tailored after the Minuteman Project in Arizona.

If you aren't familiar with the Minuteman Project, it is a volunteer organization that decided to bring awareness to America's porous border with Mexico. The Minuteman group gained attention by fanning out in the desert along the border and simply providing a presence.

The group said that their presence discouraged illegal border crossings, at least in the small areas where they watched.

So why couldn't that same logic be applied to the cruising situation and its outside-the-car effects?

I say let's deputize each of the senior citizens who live in Park Avenue Apartments and the Sherman Thompson Towers.

Give them each a badge, a flashlight and a police radio.

The minute they spot someone breaking the law, they simply key up the mic and call for help.

How long would it take before the late-night shenanigans stopped?

The Ironton Minuteman Project could probably deal with the issues in just a minute or two, I'd guess.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at 740-532-1445, ext. 12 or by e-mail to