Issac Bailey, noted columnist for The Sun News, recently wrote about the Atlantic Beach Bikefest and took to task a woman who is trying to build support for spending more public money on security for the event. She is showing neighborhood groups an officially-produced video of what he deemed the “worst elements” of the week.
Law enforcement data clearly demonstrates that there is a significantly elevated level of arrests and citations during that week. So, video notwithstanding, her instincts are correct. The young men who were killed last year might be alive today if there had been a larger law enforcement presence. And those killings were, without a doubt, a “worst element.”
This effort appears to be a simple matter of concerned citizens trying to improve the odds of personal safety for all and the peaceful enjoyment of this community by all – locals, Bikefest attendees and other tourists. And a video of Bikefest attendees playing dodgeball on the beach would be of little value for making the point of this initiative, obviously.
Most of those who come to the Bikefest behave and just try to enjoy the wonderful amenities of our resort. If all of the attendees did so, the event would receive very little attention or criticism.
But a sizeable number of the attendees don’t behave and they don’t come here for our amenities. They come here to be lawless and licentious and the statistics are there to prove it.
Recall that the same uproar from citizens occurred on the Grand Strand a few decades ago when biker gangs came here for an organized event and exhibited gross antisocial and criminal behavior. Recall that they were made to feel unwelcome. Recall that citizens put pressure on elected officials to shut down the rallies of those gangs. And recall that the gangs no longer come here.
That was basic democracy in action at the local level. Those currently showing the videos that Issac disparages are just doing likewise.
Issac also compares the excessive antics of the Bikefest to Coastal Carolina students who do the same things – drug use, drinking, public sex, fighting and worse – and posts two videos to illustrate.
To be sure, the behavior of the adolescents in the videos was not exemplary. I hasten to add that those videos of our students’ “worst elements” were not made on our campus. We don’t condone what they were doing but we can’t control all of our students’ off-campus behavior at all times.
But the real flaw in my friend’s comparison is the fact that CCU students have never shown up in large numbers on the Grand Strand and behaved in a manner that produced a spike in the crime rate and caused additional spending for law enforcement, as some Bikefest attendees have done.
Issac is using the videos of our students for the same purpose that the video he criticizes is being used. And that may be the basis of his argument, I don’t know. But all of the videos are being used to make points that should be well taken.