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I'm thinking I might add

I'm thinking I might add some "mature" (as in age LOL) input here. I am 44, a woman, a mother and I love live music and the energy of downtown on weekend nights. There are probably very few bars/clubs in downtown Wilmington that I have not been to at least once. I am also a people watcher. Yes, it is true that Marines & the military in general seem to travel in "packs". What is the reason? Well, they leave base together so it makes sense that they bar hop together. Many a night I have seen large groups of young Marines in a bar and they just hung together and laughed and had fun, and yes, became loud and rowdy as the beer flowed. I have seen the crap they take just for being Marines (hence the reason many of them wear caps or hats to hide their buzz cuts) I've seen Marines attacked verbally and physically many times. a. for talking to a local girl i.e.: who has been flirting and sending one of them drinks...the local guys do not like that b. one walking to the rest room and a gang of non-military cat calling at them on their way (yeah, if it escalates, the pack will defend their friend) c. The same thing happened when a group passed where my friends and I were waiting to get into a club, they were taunted by the "decent non-military" in the line. When the group slowed to hear what was being said the bouncers walked out and told them to get on their way...not a word was said to the scum that taunted them. I have more than once stepped in to cool a Marines temper when he was being pushed. A free night out, booze, being on edge b/c they expect trouble from locals, and then being the target of insults and taunts, definately leads to trouble. I have stepped in and more often than not, after a lot of reasoning and breaking through the alcohol and emotion, it ends with the young Marines saying, "why are they pushing me into a fight, I just want to listen to music and hang out with my friends" c. When the cops are en masse' standing on the corners at closing times with their "jail on wheels", most of the groups I see them iteracting with are not Marines, but large groups of underage kids, local kids & those from UNCW. Yes, any group traveling together is a bit intimidating, but everyone deserves respect and unfortunately some people just think that Marines are fair game and push them. If any other young man was pushed like that, he also would react and his friends would come out of the woodwork to defend him. Maybe if we stopped being on the defensive about them and actually watched what was occurring under our noses, we could identify what sets the problems off and deal with that. Sweeping a wide brush rarely works, it creates hostility and defensiveness. My thoughts on memberships... 1/2 and 1/2...I have had friends visiting, they wanted to go out but I didn't and they call me b/c they cannot get into a club to hear a band b/c they are not members, so I have to drag myself out and go with them. I have also been to membership bars when I was asked to sign a guest book and yet others behind me were turned away. Guess my friends and I look safe.

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