Leaders across the Grand Strand, along with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, made a good show of unity yesterday while announcing plans to start a public relations campaign to remind participants of next year's Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest that they should not break the law, that they should behave.
And they are still struggling to come up with a workable traffic loop every local municipality can live with and we have enough law enforcement to control. The original proposed 40-mile loop by Myrtle Beach was an attempt to better handle traffic and a way to essentially usher Bikefest participants out of town, hoping they wouldn't return to deal with the hassle.
Those steps are fine as they go. Focusing on behavior and traffic make sense.
But the planning remains woefully incomplete because it has yet to deal directly and forcefully with the thing that brought Memorial Day weekend to a head this past May: South Carolina's gun culture.
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It was the triple homicide and 8 confirmed shootings during Memorial Day weekend that caused the public to express outrage about Bikefest. For years, most people ignored Bikefest, even though they didn't like it. The shootings - more than anything else - changed that.
When will we see a real effort to address that issue?
Remember, South Carolina has among the nation's worst gun violence rankings, meaning those shooters were a part of that culture, not a unique feature of Bikefest or Memorial Day weekend.
Hell-raising is also not solely a Bikefest phenomenon.
We even have issues with how police officers use their guns while interacting with the public. A few high-profile incidents grab our attention, but we don't know how many people police officers shoot every year because departments frequently don't put all such incidents into national databases as they are supposedly required to do.
Yes, traffic is a major issue directly related to Bikefest, as is some outlandish behavior. But the bigger issue is the gun culture we refuse to seriously grapple with, but it is the one thing that can turn a headache-inducing Memorial Day weekend into an ugly one.