When Things go South: The Troubling 2015 National Stories (So far) from South Carolina
A News-worthy State
Palmetto State Problems
The stories so far this year that have emanated from the Palmetto State, South Carolina remain distressing, disheartening, and utterly disturbing. From the Walter Scott murder, to the disastrous shootings in Charleston, where a lone gunman murdered nine people, to the death of Zachary Hammond brought on by a cop high on authority, to the overly aggressive display of dominance perpetrated against student Niya Kenny, what does this state do to be so troubling?
What makes these four seemingly unrelated incidents similar is the use of force used against unarmed individuals. In the case of Walter Scott, who sustained shots in the back while fleeing from officer Michael Slager, justice at least surfaced as Mr. Slager has been charged with homicide. Dylan Roof’s rampage against defenseless parishioners lead to justice when he entered police custody after doing his dastardly deeds. While the comply or die mantra could be applied to the Mr. Hammond case, officer Mark Tiller should have shown more restraint and presence of mind than to take out the teenager. And Miss Kenny’s behavior no matter how abhorrent did not warrant officer Ben Fields to body slam her. Three out of the four occurrences saw cops displaying overbearing and dangerous tactics.
Their inability to subdue properly the citizens who did not deserve to be manhandled or put to death, show that being a police officer requires a higher caliber of character. Officers Slager, Tiller, and Fields deserve their charges and to be reprimanded, respectively. To stop the police, citizens ought to guard themselves intellectually and to better understand their rights. In the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church shooting, the possibility of protecting churchgoers might not be such a bad thing. As faith will never win against reason, the rational action ought to be to arm anyone who may be vulnerable to some irrational gunman’s advances. The South Carolina incidents which made national news ought to give pause to the rest of the country. Though it may be rare to have so many national stories come from just one state in a few month’s time, Americans in every state ought to take notice and guard themselves from murderers and assailants, even if they happen to be police.