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Marines feel they are being discriminated against downtown

READ MORE: Marines feel they are being discriminated against downtown
For months there has been the controversy surrounding an old law that some people say bar owners use to discriminate against members of the military. Tonight the Wilmington city council will decide whether to ask the state to get rid of the law altogether. It all started when a group of Marines wrote a letter to Mayor Bill Saffo and the owners of several downtown clubs. They were concerned about being kept out. They said they felt discriminated against because of their role in the Marines. For US Marine Kevin Nicholson, getting into a bar in downtown Wilmington is not easy. ”It's a simple matter where you can be in line, three civilians in front of you, three civilians in back of you and you're the only person that's asked for a membership card.” Marines said they are not allowed into some of the clubs because they are not members and must wait 3 days to get their membership. Former Marine and Wilmington council member, Jason Thompson said the old private club membership law is only selectively enforced. “Bar owners were discriminating against Marines in there establishments and they were hiding behind this 3 day rule." said Thompson. College student Danny Greene said he has never had a problem getting into a club. "I have been going to the bars downtown for a couple years now and I've never been asked for a membership or to sign any kind of papers saying I am part of a membership." The Executive Director of Wilmington Downtown Incorporated said that military personnel may not be wanted in the bars because of an old stereotype of marines being more violent, a stereotype Danny Greene disagrees with. "I wouldn't say they cause anymore trouble than your everyday intoxicated male." Wilmington city council cannot change the law; however, they can decide whether or not to recommend that the state takes the three day membership law off the books. John Hinnant of Wilmington Downtown Incorporated said Marines will be held accountable for their actions when downtown. Bar owners will be able to call Camp Lejeune and report any problems, and these issues will be addressed.

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Marines will be held accountable?????

What happens when the damage is already done? When the pack attacks a person and seriously hurts him? Were the six marines held accountable when they attacked my son? I don't think so!!!!

I was the owner/operator of

I was the owner/operator of a taxicab in Jacksonville for many years. There are a few private clubs here in town that require membership, dress code, etc. and the situation is no different. If the club has a waiting period for approval, then you have to wait. For the most part, you are just dealing with topless bars or general admittance situations. There are no cries of discrimination here. The city and county both have recently shut down some very popular bars as public nuisances. The patrons were actually coming out and fighting in neighbors' yards and going into nearby businesses and continuing to fight. Over the years, I have witnessed some unbelieveable fights. Every bar here has well trained and well armed (mace, stuns) security forces. And they are needed. It is nothing for a twenty to thirty person brawl to spill into the parking lot and even damage patrons' cars. These guys are tied up all week in training, and most of them have the weekend to let loose and that is exactly what happens. Take a group of rowdy intoxicated men and put them in a situation where they outnumber the women 10 to 1 or worse and you have a recipe for trouble. From driving a taxi, I know that the Marines get in your cab and want to go to a college town or some other city where the ratio of men to women is better. The drivers reccommend Wilmington because it is a 2 hr. trip in which they can earn more than driving around Jax in 4 or 5 hours. Often, they are called back for the return trip so that is more of an incentive to reccommend going out of town. Some of the guys just want to get away from the other Marines, but mostly it is to associate with the women. What really used to bother me as a father was when they would get in the cab and ask where the high school girls were hanging out. At that point, I preferred that they went out of town.

OK there are plenty of bars

OK there are plenty of bars downtown where marines can get into and they cater to that group and they spill out fights every night....yes not all marines are bad but no door guy is going to let a bunch of marines slap boxing each other come in the bar...seriously go to the the bars that want you ....WE NEED TO BE FOCUSING ON THE REAL PROBLEM AND THAT IS WHY IS THERE NOTHING BEING DONE ABOUT THE CRIME DOWNTOWN..I.E. WHY IS THE GHETTO CREEPING INTO NICE AREAS OF DOWN TOWN...SHUT DOWN THE FREAKING ROX CLUB.....SHUT DOWN THE ROX CLUB...AND KEEP PEOPLE FROM HANGING OUT IN PARKING LOTS... KEEP PEOPLE FROM HANGING OUT IN PARKING LOTS.... KEEP PEOPLE FROM HANGING OUT IN PARKING LOTS....SHUT DOWN THE FREAKING ROX CLUB.....SHUT DOWN THE ROX CLUB.......THAT IS ONE OF DOWNTOWNS MAIN PROBLEMS.......ZERO TOLERANCE.......ITS EASY,,,,,,,

They should stay in Jacksonville

Why do the marines have to come down here anyway? We should keep them out of Wilmington. All they do is beat us senseless when we bad-mouth them and then lure our women away. Let's face it - I may have a 3.8 GPA, hair just like Bob Marley, and a great MP3 collection, but I can't compete with some tan, tall, clean-cut guy with sixteen inch biceps and three tours in Iraq under his belt. Plus, they all have full-time jobs that pay fairly well, so a lot of the girls notice that they don't have to buy the marines drinks, like they do for me and my buddies. (Thank George Bush for destroying the economy.) When my girlfriend Heather dumped me in June she said it just wasn't working for us but sure enough the next thing I know she's dating some sargent that looks like Dermot Mulroney but more muscular. Her friend Lacey said that he's getting ready to reup and go to Afghanistan, and that he already took Heather all sorts of places like New York and Las Vegas. I called Heather and said that I'd still take her back if he goes back to the war, but she told me no thanks and good luck in life as a boring dweeb. I hate marines.

Dude are you sure the

Dude are you sure the problem is with the marine, do you at all think it could be you. I mean if you can't buy your own drinks you shouldn't go out in the first place. That is a total turn off when the women has to my the man a drink. I mean whats next our own ring if you ask us to marry you.

Outstanding post!!

Outstanding post!!

Is it discrimination if...

...I want to go into Landfall's Country Club, but they won't let me because I am not member? No, it's not discrimination. It's a private organization who can choose who they allow into their establishment and set requirements people must adhere to. ...I want to go into a restaurant that requires a proper dress code, but I am wearing a hat, flip-flops and shorts, they do not allow me to dine there. No, it's not discrimination. It's a public business that sets regulations on how you must dress yourself to dine in their establishment. There are many public restaurants with bars that do not require a membership downtown because they sell food. If it's just about going to get a drink, why not go there? God Bless the Men and Women in Uniform. It's not about them. It's just about the business' preference. I think im going to try and drive onto Figure 8 Island this weekend. Oh wait, I'm not rich enough to be a property owner there, thus I can't enjoy their PRIVATE beach. I guess I'll just have to go to a PUBLIC beach where I won't be "discriminated" against. Private is what it is. It's choosing who you let in and who you don't. It's not discrimination, it's preference and a business owner's right not to let in someone they feel is not dressed properly, or may be a hazard to their investment. To the men and women on ILM City Council: I was just discriminated against because a guard wouldn't let me go down a private road, to the private clubhouse, in a private community. Will you hold meetings, go on local and National TV (Fox News is where I saw Mr. Saffo) to show how I was discriminated against, and see if we can get that road, clubhouse and community open to the public so I may be allowed to enter? Find something better to spend your time on.

You make valid points, and I

You make valid points, and I agree with a lot of what you say. However it IS discriminatory when the businesses choose to only apply their membership rules to those they think might be in the military. Which is what one Marine is quoted as saying. I don't think anyone is saying businesses don't have the right to enforce their membership rules, just that they need to do them fairly.

If they know they aren't

If they know they aren't going to be let into ANY bars, then why do they keep comming down here? It sounds to me that they are getting into some bars and they know which ones. Obviously they don't have a problem getting into bars in Jacksonville, so why not stay there? I don't go out of town to get drunk, knowing it's going to be harder for me to get home after a long night of drinking.

Any drunk

Alcohol is dangerous. PERIOD. Anyone who wishes to partake should be required to do so with food, like medicine. Anyone who serves it or drinks it one after another, and expects reasonable behavior does not know their science or math or civics. Uniformed or not, educated or not, it is not rocket science to know that alcohol consumed outside the home requires one to travel either by foot or by vehicle and both can be dangerous to the drinker or to others. Elitism or brotherhood or rules that create an environment for more drinking for me and not for you is ridiculous, immature, and as proven on occasion has been fatal. The constitution states that we have a right to first LIFE, LIBERTY AND PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Let us all be more willing to insure that once having arrived here by the grace of God and by the labor of our parents, particularly the mother who gave us the opportunity for life, it will be more cherished and all can have their drink with their food and then go home.

While living in the downtown

While living in the downtown area i noticed a problem as well. "The fool, the proud, the intoxicated". Not all, but most were the same. Sorry to those that acted like adults, but the stereo-type has effected yet another group, in all. I have seen many ,many stupid acts downtown and do not blame the city for wanting to open the next day with the bar still in one piece. When three marines slug a door man for not letting them in is,well the last"straw". Happy drinking,running out on tabs, vomiting on the bars, abusing the female race, starting fights, and making the Armed Forces name a disgrace somewhere else (Jacksonville). Downtown Wilmington is struggling enough on their own to stay afloat. There is no question about why the bars keep you all out. Do you remember what you did last night on the town? Bon voyage.

Are these people freaking

Are these people freaking kidding me? Because some Marines act a fool, its acceptable to discriminate against all Marines? Seriously? I knew parts of the south were backwards still but this is ridculous.



Crazy, isn't it??

Yep, it is just plain crazy for a business to try to keep their place safe for people to visit. They should allow people with guns in so they don't hurt any feelings. Forget about the fact they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. Go back to where you are from if you don't like it here. I40W to I95N

It is discriminatory if you

It is discriminatory if you are assuming that any and every Marine who enters a club or bar is there to cause trouble. That is a generalization, and discriminatory. I grew up an army brat, and so I know that problems occur with enlisted men and women. But those problems occur with civilians, too, but I think with more at risk - the enlisted person is more apt to behave themselves. Why? Because the enlisted person knows that they have more to be accountable for. The military is a way of life and you jeopardize that when you risk breaking the law. Not only will you have to pay damages and the possibility of legal consequences, but you can also be punished through the military. You can be demoted (which also means a pay cut) and face disciplinary actions in addition to those you face in the civilian courts. My brother was a proud Marine and lived up to the title, representing it well. And the idea that he would have trouble getting into a club or bar to hang out and enjoy pleasures of the civilian life is ridiculous. He is being denied the pleasures he has every right to enjoy because he has made sure we have the freedom to enjoy them as well? I'm not saying that every Marine represents themselves or the Corp properly, but I find it disgusting that people would make those generalizations and SUPPORT the idea that it is some how right. Yes - the business people have a right to protect their property, but there is a way to do it without being discriminatory. I am proud of those who wear the uniform, and I thank you.

For the most part, they

For the most part, they aren't talking about all branches of the armed forces. I have several friends in every branch, but there is just something about Marinies. I appreciate everything they do for us and support them in everything they do...but when they go out on the weekends and get drunk they are a total different person. And no, not all of them, but it only takes one. They all stick together so it only takes one to cause problems for all of them. That's the problem. It's not like one guy goes out and gets into a fight....when one fights they all fight.

Marines in downtown bars

I have to add my two cents to this issue! My 26 year old son was beaten to a bloody pulp by six drunken fools (Marines). He is new to this city, decided to go downtown with some of his new friends. One marine in one of the bars had a comment to make about my son's long hair. Words were exchanged and that was that! Or so he thought. When he left the bar to go home the "brave six" were waiting for him. Six on one....keep the marines out of downtown, don't serve them alcohol here! Let them act like animals with each other IN JACKSONVILLE!!!!! I am proud of our troops (my oldest son was in the Air Force) but I am not proud of the way they act here in Wilmington!

My son was in the Marines

My son was in the Marines and stationed at Camp Lejeune and he never went to the bars or wanted to go there.Not all the Marines at Camp Lejuene are like they are being portrayed on here,My daughter goes to clubs in Knoxville,Tennessee and she sees fights there all the time.And there are no miltary bases in thia area. The people that go there are just your ordinary people.So don't blame all the fights on the Marines.

There is a reason that bars

There is a reason that bars don't let marines in downtown. I completely stopped going downtown because I get tired of every bar having a group of marines looking for 3 things. To get in a fight, to find a woman, and to get drunk, and it is not always that order. In the past I had been turned away because I fit the physical type of a marine. I didn't take it personally I just moved on to the next bar. Individual marines are fine but in a group they do cause trouble. I do support them defending our country, and I support the right for private businesses to refuse service. Stereotypes are made for a reason, if marines don't like thier's then they should change it.

Yadda Yadda Yadda

"To get drunk, to find women, to get in a fight" ... Lady I got news for you.. 99% of all guys downtown drinking are looking for at least 2 of the 3 and if they get drunk enough they will accomplish all 3.... And to the lady who;s son got "beat up" bu 6 marines.... Please leave the court docet number so we can all look it up.... I have doubts about the story... Since no bar lets Marines in.. It probally didn't happen.... All this is just talk until the ACLU figures out they have a case to gain publicity with.. Then you will be forced to let em in.... What you SHOULD do as responsible bar owners is to come up with an agreement like are in other military towns.. Yes we want the Marine's business and money but please have a group of 4-6 MPs be it reservists or active patrolling downtown spot checking bars.. The Army does this in Georgia (Ranger/Airborne School where the testerosone is leveled up as well) and the bars have no problems and make tons of money.. What you don't want as a Marine is MP custody, a night in the brig, formal punishment and then on top of that to have to deal with a superior officer that is beyond ticked off... You tend not to get out of hand with MPs around..

Marines in bars

To you bar owners: I KNOW that there is a problem with some enlisted guys causing problems for you. In this case now that they whined enough to get the laws changed YOU all need to change your policies as well. You need to ask for ID on the suspected enlistees (military issued) make photo copies so if they cause any damage you know who they were and can send the bill to them and their commanding officer. May be a little annoying to you and them but O'well. I know many of these young guys and in my former life have partied with them. I know the type and I agree with your concerns. Protect yourself and your business. Appreciating what the enlisted do for us and letting them party is one thing, letting them trash your property and annoy your other customers is another. They also need to learn how to behave like young men of the US Military in a respectful and dignified manner.


I think its very fair if a bar owner dont want marines in his establishment he has every right not to let them in...same as a non smoking establishment has the right to keep smokers out. What people in Wilmington dont understand is why dont the Marines stay in Jacksonville? There are plenty of clubs there that dont discriminate. Quit whining and grow a pair. Your supposed to be marines and because a club dont want soldiers in means find a new place. I totally agree with the club owners. As far as rank goes I think that it doesnt matter because actually it is more likely that an officer who is supposed to be more responsible is actually more likely to cause trouble because he can get out of trouble easier. Trust me as a former member of the military I have seen it in action from an 0-6 and a W-4. In this case it's not just one bad apple its so many that the citizens of Wilmington are tired of it.


i have been coming downtown for the last 12yrs or so. downtown use to be one of the greatest places to come. ever since hwy17 was four laned from Jville(about 6yrs ago) it has been a steady decline. rapidly the last 3 or so. i dont hate Marines or any of the branches of service. i am thankful for what they do. but now going downtown after 10 or is not fun. its a constant watch your back or watch your girl. sad. its the marines and the whole thug thing that is out there. you see, i live here year round. not every 6 month or so. i have money to spend, not a limited budget. so if the bar want my business and i am sure there are a lot more like me. than they have the right to not allow them in the clubs. if marines dont want the stereotype of causing trouble. then when the stupid one do something "stupid". start taking care of them. then over a little time. the stereotype will hopefully go away.

I have worked downtown in

I have worked downtown in bars for 12 years. Young marines(E2-4) have caused more fights than I can possibly remember. If we let them in(I have made this mistake) they turn the place into an MMA event. Then are regular customers leave. Then the police start coming every night and shortly there after we are out of business. Nobody let's them in for a reason.

Marines feel they are being discriminated against downtown

I am sorry but I am not sure if this "Danny Greene" character has ever been to a downtown bar in his life. It is not a stereotype that Marines cause more problems in downtown bars, it is a mathematical fact. Lets add it up. Take a group of amped up young men, who spend 95% of their week training how to kill and to look out for their comrades at all costs, all the while devoid from any female interaction. Now lets add, at a moments notice, a setting w/ endless alcohol and an abundant supply of provocatively dressed females, many of whom who are with their boyfriends, and what does that equal............ .............The reason why bar owners don't welcome Marines in their establishments. Unfortunately it is just simple math and science.

marines feel they are discriminated against downtown?

Marines ARE discriminated against downtown. Recently my brother, recently back from his 4th tour in Iraq, stationed at Lejeune and I went downtown. My brother was sporting his "high and tight" and his Annapolis graduate ring. My brother is a Captain and has a Masters as well as an undergrad. Our wives and children stayed at home as we cabbed it downtown. Because my brother was a Marine, we were denied entry to two clubs, even after he preswented his ID showing his rank. My point.... There are so many citizens whi complain about the boots coming down to Wilmington starting trouble. If you look through the police reports from the past year, it seems the college age group takes the prize for most violent and annoying. These Bars cannot state that they do not discriminate and they cannot say they look at rank. There wass no reason to keep my brother out of any bars or clubs... There is no reason to keep anyone out of a club unless they are causing trouble. But to keep a comissioned officer out of a club with a formal college education just because he is a Marine? Something is WRONG with thi picture...

Your Point Is?????

Last time I was at a bar downtown, no-one asked me for my education record. This is the most absurd reason I have ever heard to let someone in a bar. Lady, comissioned or not, Captain with Masters and undergrad, Annapolis, Kannapolis, whatever, the law is the law. Stop your bellyachin and get a life. I wish my boss would discriminate and maybe his hotel rooms wouldn't get trashed by the FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARINES.