To say this state is unconventional is an understatement. Things operate differently in the South, and not necessarily in a good way. In my 4 years of residing here, I’ve paid attention, done some mental note-taking, and I’ve drawn some conclusions. There’s some shady stuff going on here.
One big thing I’ve noticed is that the police departments have effectively shut the media out. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a breaking news story on the local news, followed by, “And we’ll pass on more information as it becomes available.” Only that information apparently never becomes available, because the story will never be mentioned again. Not on TV, not in print. Or, “We’ve reached out to <insert whichever police station> for more information.” And nothing. Don’t they think the public would like to know if a shooting or robbery was random, or if there’s a pattern? I’d like to know. In 2015, a Summerville woman, in her vehicle at a stoplight, was shot in the head, by a man who had no known connection to her. The latest article I’ve been able to find about this is from June 2015. Man who killed Summerville woman at traffic light denied bond twice Nothing since then. Googling the man’s name turns up nothing past that date. Is he still in jail? Had a trial? No idea. I drive through the area where that woman was shot nearly every day. I’d like to know what happened.
In May 2015, a Charleston County Sheriff’s Deputy “accidentally” shot a homeowner who had reported a home invasion. The homeowner is now paralyzed and recently sued the sheriff’s office, the deputy, and the 911 dispatch center, after the sheriff’s office deliberately withheld the deputy’s statement, because they didn’t want the backlash that followed the shooting of an unarmed black man by Michael Slager. It took not one, but TWO Freedom of Information Act requests to get that information released. Fearing Walter Scott-like backlash, Charleston County officials misled public in deputy shooting Where’s the transparency that should exist between police departments and the public?
In April 2017, a Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputy was chasing a motorcyclist and hit the motorcycle twice, causing it to crash. Twice. The motorcyclist was killed. No charges have been filed. In fact, after the date of the article covering this event, I’ve heard exactly NOTHING further about this. Berkeley County deputy placed on leave after video shows cruiser colliding with motorcycle during chase No further details have been released, despite the sheriff’s office stating that they would release more information.
But it’s not just the police departments. Summerville elected a new mayor in 2015. In early 2016, the Summerville Town Council voted to weaken the mayor’s powers. Summerville Town Council votes to weaken mayor’s powers Yes, after the town elected the mayor, the town council voted to essentially take away most of his governing abilities. It eventually went to a referendum, which portrayed the mayor as trying to do a “power grab” from the council. He wasn’t doing a power grab. He was trying to do his JOB that he was elected to do. By the way, the town voted in favor of the town council having most of the power.
On a related note, apparently state law allows for a town or city to cancel an election completely if only the incumbents have filed as candidates. Charleston County advised the town of Meggett, SC, that they did not have to hold an election at all since there were no opposing candidates. Town of Meggett Voting Information Really? What if someone planned to write-in a candidate? It may not change the outcome of the election, but it’s okay to take away their right to vote? It was a reporter for the Post & Courier who informed me that state law allowed it.
Next up, the Confederate Flag. I grew up in Kentucky. I’m not unfamiliar with the Confederate Flag. However, the in-your-face attitude that some people have with it here is new to me. Such as the appearance of the flags at the Flowertown Festival. In What World Do Confederate Flags Fly at Family-Oriented Festivals? Earlier this year the South Carolina Secessionist Party (no, they haven’t given up) flagged Summerville. Raised the Confederate Flag in locations around town. Including an I-26 overpass, which according to the Highway Patrol here, is not that department’s jurisdiction, and the Summerville Police Department said it wasn’t illegal. Since when it is not illegal to drape anything on an interstate overpass? This state even closes its government offices for Confederate Memorial Day. One of just a handful of states that observe it.
There’s some weird stuff going on with school districts, too. I’ve never lived somewhere that gives the local school districts so much power. Local school districts here have the ability to directly ask for tax increases. They also have the ability to adjust the school calendars without state oversight. Which is why, even though schools were closed in this district for 6 days for Hurricane Matthew, the kids only had to do the 3 built-in makeup days that were already in the calendar. The other 3 days, poof, they’re gone. Might explain part of why South Carolina is always at the bottom of the education ranks.
And we can’t address shady stuff in South Carolina without addressing guns. My Lord, people here love their guns, and you’ll only pry them from their cold, dead hands. Currently working its way through the legislature is a bill that will allow anyone to legally carry a gun, openly or concealed, without a permit. That’s right. No proof whatsoever that they can handle a gun properly. What could possibly go wrong? That’s in addition to the other issues with guns here. At least once a week, I read a police report that someone had his gun stolen out of his UNLOCKED vehicle. Look, if you can’t manage to secure your weapon properly, you don’t need to have one. I can name at least 5 cases of young children accidentally shooting themselves, after getting hold of a parent’s gun. No charges filed against any of those negligent parents. And yes, they ARE negligent parents if they leave loaded guns within reach of children. The previous coroner of this county was finally relieved of his duty, after he pulled a gun on a neighbor. Alcohol was involved. The coroner took his status as a “law enforcement officer” a little too literally, and he wasn’t about to resign. No, he had to be forced out. He ended up with a $100 fine. Wow, what a punishment. That’s harsh, man.
This is all very frustrating to me. I’m a knowledge person. I like to know things. I like to see all sides of things, and here, I feel like I’m only given one side and am expected to just accept it at face value. That’s just not me. I don’t have respect for people who cover up for each other, or the good ol’ boy network. And it shouldn’t take a lawsuit to get information released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act.