When I went out to the beach for Spring Break in college, I packed a carload of supplies. Mostly it was case after case of Pabst Blue Ribbon, plus the usual assortment of beach supplies, snack food and maybe a change of clothes. One of the things I never thought to bring were guns - unless they were Super Soakers (probably to be filled with Pabst Blue Ribbon for some asinine drinking game).
But Norfolk State track athlete Carlton Phipps apparently is a bit more thorough in his packing than I was. Because the VIRGINIAN-PILOT reports that he has been suspended by the team after he and former teammate Raymond Brown allegedly caused a panic at a Daytona Beach resort this weekend by firing their semi-automatic weapons into the air at 3:30 in the morning.
But before you rush to judgment against them, there were definitely some extenuating circumstances. According to a police statement Phipps and Brown - who are both black - were in a hot tub with three other people when a group of 15 white college students began racially harassing them.
The pair first ignored them knuckleheads, but then went back to their rooms, retrieved a .357-caliber Glock and a .380-caliber Bersa into the air and fired them into the air before fleeing. Police found the guns buried nearby on the beach, which seems like a silly place to ditch the guns: a place where lots of people frequently are digging. That would have been a nasty surprise for little Jimmy as he was trying to build a sand castle.
I am in no way condoning what Phipps and Brown did - firing guns into the air at a crowded resort is insanely stupid, but not as stupid as bringing guns into your hotel room during Spring Break in the first place. (Because alcohol plus semi-automatic weapons are always a good combination.) But - and I know this is hardly high praise - Phipps doesn’t fit your profile of a “thug athlete” - he was on the conference All-Academic team. At least he was smart enough to fire into the air and not at someone.