Myrtle Beach police are investigating an apparent homicide in an Ocean Boulevard hotel. Facts of what happened are still coming in.
Here’s my facetious question: Can this shooting be blamed on Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest?
Here’s my real question: When should any such killing be laid at the feet of a particular event instead of being blamed solely on the perpetrator?
When it comes to Bikefest, just about anything untoward that happens in the Myrtle Beach area during Memorial Day weekend is laid at the feet of Bikefest. When a Coastal Carolina University student was gunned down years ago in a parking lot that weekend, Bikefest was cited as the cause, even though everyone involved was a Grand Strand resident. When multiple shootings happened this past Memorial Day weekend, that, too, was blamed on Bikefest even though reports suggested a triple homicide at a hotel that weekend involved people from the Charleston area who long had issues with one another.
When did we stop blaming the people who actually pull the trigger?
In this newest shooting, we don’t know yet if it involved tourists or long-time residents. But according to the way we’ve treated Bikefest, we don’t need that information to blame it on the tourism industry, which attracts millions of people to the Myrtle Beach area every year, plenty of whom come for mischief, to get away with doing things they wouldn’t do at home.
We have about a month left in the primary tourism season, meaning there’s no reason to think beyond our attempts to bring in so many new people as the cause of this homicide. Right? The cause of the fight inside that hotel itself and the reason someone brought a gun and pulled the trigger are immaterial. Right? All we need to know is that it is tourism-related because it happened during a period when lots of tourists had been invited to town. No? But isn’t that precisely what we do concerning Bikefest?
Crime, particularly violent crime, is down in most places, including our area. But when it occurs, it is usually multi-layered and caused by factors we won’t be able to nail down for months or years, if at all.
That’s why it is silly and misguided to come to a quick, simple declaration of causes – it happened during Memorial Day so it must be Bikefest’s fault, for instance. Such a superficial, knee-jerk reaction can lead us to adopt supposed solutions that can make problems worse or create some where they did not exist.
That’s where I fear we are headed with Bikefest because so many people have responded emotionally to some awful happenings and not enough seem willing to think it through.
Hopefully we have leaders who understand that it times such as these, they are to calmly lead the crowd in a direction that will make things better rather than being led by the crowd’s fear.