It’s good that Myrtle Beach Police Chief Warren Gall has a September summit to discuss the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest with other law enforcement agencies. Here’s a word of caution, though:
Don’t allow the noise and clamoring from the aftermath of this year’s problems to lead to an over-reaction. You need to assess if this year’s problems with violence was an anomaly or a trend. Figuring out which is which is key. Remember, this type of violence has not been part of the Bikefest-related activities before, even the year when Bikefest was falsely blamed for a murder that included only locals.
Also, can someone come up with a specific definition as to just what Bikefest-related actually means? Does it mean that triple murder in that hotel only happened because of Bikefest? That it could not have happened any other weekend? That those involved could not have taken a day trip on a different summer day and ended up in a similar confrontation? And if you believe that, why?
That’s not a small question. If we don’t understand the genesis of the problem, how can we ever expect to respond to it effectively?
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I’ve mentioned this before, and Gall and others know it as well. Bikefest was the most organized when Myrtle Beach put up welcome signs and Friendship Teams on the streets. I hope we stop ignoring that lesson.
Also, will Gall and other law enforcement officials be brave enough to deal with the elephant in the room, the role Myrtle Beach’s and South Carolina’s gun culture play in these types of incidents and make them possible every year, and not just during Bikefest?
Read more about the summit here.