In the Gazette issue of May 2, the editorial Lines in the Sand refers to the public beach at Squibnocket, and to public beachfront.

The use of the word public here can only be a mistake, a misnomer, a misprision, or at best, a mishegahss.

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, public comes from the Latin publicus and means: “For the use or benefit of all, belonging to, or concerning the people as a whole, of or by the community at large,” as in public welfare, public entry, public houses.

There are public works, public libraries, public transportation, public-ans, states that are republican and republican parties (tea or otherwise).

And there are public beaches.

Which Squibby isn’t.

To park at Squibby, you need a sticker only available to Chilmark residents. To walk on, you need a walk-on pass, again available only to Chilmark residents. No non-Chilmark residents need apply.

That ain’t public, in the common sense of the word.

Squibby is no more public than I am.

At best, to quote Winston Churchill, public here is a case of “terminological inexactitude.”

Something to be avoided in future Gazette editorials.

Ludwig Peter Ochs