The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office says that it can and will arrest swimmers if they venture out when a double red flag is posted on the beach.

This is a typical, but wrong, reaction to the problem of people drowning at the beach.

People own their bodies and must be held responsible for their own actions.  People who swim when it is dangerous are making a personal decision to assume risk. For government to say they cannot accept another’s personal risk is the height of the nanny state.

To arrest people for swimming at their risk is morally abhorrent. It leads to limitless government.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the sheriff is shovel-ready.   

Better to present would-be drowners with the bill. A foolish person who must be rescued and then pay the hefty monetary cost would make a far better deterrent, and less costly to the taxpayer, than marking them forever in the criminal system, limiting their future job opportunities and exposing them to the never-ending dangers and costs that living as a lawbreaker brings nowadays.

Pete Blome is chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party.