Five Points: Behind The Bullets And Beat Downs
COPS SHOULD DO THEIR JOBS, STOP BLAMING STUDENTS
By Colleen MacMillan || It was all bullets and bar front beat downs in the Five Points region of downtown Columbia, S.C. after last Saturday’s University of South Carolina football victory over Missouri.
Police called one of the incidents associated with this wave of violence a “mob assault,” and it was.
Why, then, are they continuing to blame students when these violent crimes are being committed by … and let’s be honest here … young black males who fashion themselves as gangsters?
“People really just need to be aware that it could happen to anyone,” one victim said through a mouthful of wires. Titanium plates and screws were implanted into his fractured jaw during an emergency surgery after the incident. That, plus ten stitches for the massive gash on his forehead.
“I could’ve died but, you know, I got really lucky,” said the victim.
He had intervened in a small fight, one of his friends said.
“Nobody tried to help him. Everyone wanted to stand around with their video cameras,” the friend said.
In fact one of the attackers decided to “kick him in the face one last time” before police (finally) showed up on the scene.
So … where exactly have the police been during these violent outbreaks?
It’s no secret that Columbia cops literally pound students into the ground for underage drinking in Five Points – and undercover agents and S.C. State Law Enforcement (SLED) officers patrol the streets of Five Points nightly, prowling for any freshman they can find in an effort to raise money off of arrests and citations.
Generating revenue trumps public safety, it would appear – and the result of this basic inequity of focus is college kids being victimized by assaults (as opposed to the narrative that they are somehow responsible for the violence).
Question: Why is the surveillance in Five Points such that we can watch a YouTube video of girl stealing money out of people’s purses in Red Hot’s (a popular Five Points bar) but we can’t catch a single clip of these wanna-be gangsters nearly beating a man to death. Where is the logic in that? What exactly are taxpayers shelling out their money for?
The logic is simple: The police are following the money, not the crime.
An underage drinking ticket isn’t cheap. The average offender will pay upwards one thousand dollars in fines, processing fees and court appointed attorneys. And there’s a huge market for this, in case you didn’t know …
With Greek life and social media taking off, everyone wants to prove how hard their school parties. They post pictures of raves, keg stands and really drunk underage kids in Five Points. They like thrills, not unlike what the unlicensed, joyride-taking ten year-old said after hijacking his grandmother’s Cadillac – “doing bad things is fun.”
Risk taking is a part of human nature—a part of chemical makeup. Just like human stupidity. And following the money …
But law enforcement isn’t a business, it is a core function of government. We’re not paying cops to “run a business,” we’re paying them to protect our lives and our property.
Are they fulfilling that obligation? Clearly not … which is why law enforcement officials refuse to shut down multiple well-known crack houses in the immediate area surrounding Five Points while students are being used as scapegoats for the violence that could very well be emanating from these dens.
Look away from the Dunkin Donuts and back at me, Columbia cops … it’s time to start doing your jobs.
In addition to an expanded and refocused presence I believe we should get a surveillance camera outside of every storefront. Once that happens—once we show these lip snarled, gun toting, wise guys that the police have some salvageable semblance of law and order – then crime will go down.
It’s time for Columbia officials to rethink their logic and get with the program. If they fail to get it together, those who visit Five Points will continue to be placed in far graver danger than they imagine.
Remember … the next jaw being wired shut could be yours.
Colleen MacMillan is a reporter/ columnist for FITSNews. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.