Instead of asking the hard questions about why young black males would affiliate in gangs or gang-related activities, we are left with knee-jerk blanket criticisms from a group of people who were as many degrees of separation as possible from the shooters as well as the victims. Do you think the people who committed the crimes were bikers?
At the end of the day, the reaction to the shooting has been so severe because of its randomness. It wasn’t supposed to happen here. Not around “good” people at a so-called “family” beach. These things, many believe, normally happen in the ‘hood, around people who should be in jail or killed themselves. they happen to people many believe have lives that are of negligible worth to begin with. We are not surprised when it happens there, and truth be told, beyond a head shake and a grumble, we don’t really care that much. Only when an event like this happens in an area that we all know, and come to enjoy, does the sense of grand horror come into play. That the chaos has come here.
Black people in general, and those who live with the criminal element in particular, are accustomed to living around or knowing people who have been affected by violent crime. Black people who are poor, who live in battle zones within our communities aren’t shocked or surprised by the actions of those who make up our criminal underclass, but they are shocked by two things: the fact that it happened in such a high profile area; and by the sounds of ankles breaking as Myrtle Beach area and state elected officials scrambled to get to microphones to use this crime as an excuse to shut down Atlantic Beach’s event.
Not a word is spoken about a way to make the event safer so that the participants who come to this area can do so without having to think it will happen again. Just that this group of people must go. Full stop. As if the Horry County and Myrtle Beach Police Departments are the permanent sizes that they are because of the lack of crime in the other 51 weeks of the year.
Make no mistake, the events of Memorial Day weekend were horrific and warranted local, regional and national attention. Having said that, how many other crimes go unreported or under-reported throughout the year in the hope that the charade of this as some sort of Carolina vacation paradise is kept alive?
We will be back. Because we have visited, or went to college, or grew up in Horry County and the Grand Strand, and lest we forget, the people who visit finance the operation of this area just as much as the people who live there. And we care what happens there too.
The writer, from Conway, now lives in North Charleston.