In June, a couple was jailed on charges of grand larceny with a value of more than $2,000, but less than $10,000, and breaking into a motor vehicle.
They allegedly tried to steal a car on Poplar Street in Myrtle Beach. Their plot was foiled by a concerned citizen who had been sitting on her porch when she saw the pair and called her neighbor whose car was targeted.
She then grabbed her gun after growing afraid for the safety of the vehicle’s owner, who confronted the pair.
She held the couple at bay until the police arrived.
It’s the type of story staunch 2nd Amendment proponents love to recount whenever a mass shooting sparks another round of talk of gun control.
It proves to them that more armed citizens are the answer to gun violence.
But also in Myrtle Beach, and elsewhere along the Grand Strand, are stories told and retold by grieving mothers and fathers who have lost sons and daughters to gun violence.
There have been marches and wakes and town hall meetings and vigils and use of prescription medication to dull the pain of such loss.
That heartache proves to them that the fewer guns on the street, the better.
Apparently a similar debate is going on Colorado.
On July 20, a 24-year-old man named James Holmes allegedly walked into a movie theater near Denver and began spraying bullets, killing 12 people and injuring another 58.
Every bullet that pierced skin and every gun used were legally obtained.
That led to mourning and shock and discussions about what would make a man do such a thing. The violence associated with the new Batman movie? Video games? Psychotropic drugs? Evil?
Then talk turned to how the theater was a gun-free zone and speculation that such places are the most vulnerable to madmen, that maybe had there been more armed citizens, the bloodshed could have been stemmed, if not stopped.
A little more than a week after the shooting, another man walked into another theater near Denver. He was armed, a gun strapped prominently to his side. Dozens of other moviegoers fled. The theater was evacuated because of the panic and the man was arrested.
He told media outlets that he was not threatening any one, that his gun was as legal as those used in the Aurora shooting 9 days earlier.
There is no easy solution to mass shootings or gun violence.
Some will cite a Daily Beast analysis which showed that every Southern state except Virginia ranked in the top half of states for gun deaths, with South Carolina coming in at 18th and North Carolina 19th.
They will say Hawaii has the fewest gun deaths per capita, while Mississippi has the most.
But there are other factors at play. Even law enforcement officials acknowledge the complexity of the issue.
Myrtle Beach Police Chief Warren Gall had mixed feelings about the Myrtle Beach woman’s use of her gun to stymie potential car thieves.
“She was successful, so that was good,” Gall said. “The question would be, could she have used it, would she have used it, and under what circumstances would she have been justified? A lot of scenarios could have played out where she would have been in the right and an equal number where she would have been wrong. Each citizen armed with a firearm must be prepared to make that decision.
“And it’s tough one.”
Contact ISSAC J. BAILEY at 626-0357, email@example.com or via Twitter.com at @TSN_IssacBailey.