Richland County Sheriff’s Department leads shooting investigation in Florence County, South Carolina
RCSD leads the investigation and is the lead agency for release of all incident-related public information
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
COLUMBIA AND FLORENCE, S.C. – In the immediate aftermath of Wednesday’s shooting of seven law enforcement officers (including four police officers and three deputy sheriffs) – one dead and one still critically wounded – in Florence, South Carolina; the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. (RCSD) was called to investigate. Why was RCSD requested when that agency’s central-S.C. headquarters and jurisdiction is two counties away?
“The short answer is Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone wanted Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott’s involvement in this,” said RCSD Deputy Chief Stan Smith, commander of RCSD’s Criminal Investigations Division. “We have an ‘investigative shoot team’ that is second-to-none when it comes to officer-involved shootings.”
In fact, RCSD is one of only two agencies, statewide, that fields such a unit: The other agency being the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Why RCSD and not SLED?
By Mike Thornton, U.S. Navy SEALs (Ret.)
As an American and a native South Carolinian (now living in Texas), the congressional race for the Palmetto State’s 5th district is very near and dear to me. It is for a number of reasons; not the least of which is I have family and friends in S.C., and whoever voters in the 5th district counties choose to elect to the office of U.S. Congressman, he or she must bring a strong voice and an aggressive proactive approach to the war on terror. And make no mistake, it is a war and the enemy is as committed a foe as this nation has ever faced.
That’s why we need strong, committed voices in Washington who will press to take the fight to the enemy, quashing his financing, his freedom of movement, his recruiting efforts, and his access to – and employment of – weapons of mass destruction.
We need Congressmen like Tom Mullikin who are best qualified to take this fight to the enemy. Why Mullikin? It’s simple. Mullikin has traveled the globe over the past 30 years – exploring many of the world’s most remote regions, advising U.S. and foreign government officials, and developing a unique experiential understanding of the critical need for energy security as being vital to national security.
Today’s Democrat Party views the United States military as nothing more than a political tool to further their agenda. And after Benghazi we see that our troops and intelligence operators are expendable if Democrats think sacrificing them is in their best political interests.
But don’t take it from me; just look at what they do.
Instead of preserving the world’s most effective combat force, the Democrat Party views the U.S. military as a massive source of funding (defense budget cuts), an opportunity to shore up political support through social engineering (allowing openly gay service members), and a means to further their liberal internationalist agenda (so-called “Responsibility to Protect” operations like Libya).
They know that the military community tends to vote strongly Republican, which partly explains their open contempt of the men and women that serve in the Armed Forces – whether falsely labeling them cold-blooded murderers (Rep. John Murtha), comparing them to Nazis, KGB, and the Khmer Rouge (Sen. Dick Durbin), joking about their intelligence (Sec. John Kerry)… the examples of the Democrat Party’s distaste for the military could easily fill an entire article.
But throughout American history, our troops knew at least if they were wounded, in danger of being overrun, or even killed, our military will do everything in its power to get rescue or recover you.
No one gets left behind. At least that’s how it used to be.
That is, until Benghazi, which has become one of the most dishonorable events in American history. When our consulate was attacked and overran, President Obama left Americans to die. Any rescue attempt was cut off – not by our enemies, but by the Obama administration.
Even worse than the tragic and preventable deaths of four Americans, Washington’s reaction over the last eight months shows the utter disregard the Democrat Party and media have for not only the fallen, but for all of our troops and operators.
I am not saying that each and every Democrat politician wanted those men to die. But can you name any Democrat politician that has said we need to get to the bottom of Benghazi? Has any Democrat even so much as distanced themself from their party’s callous disregard for the fallen? Washington can say they support the troops all day, it’s time they show us how they support our troops.
Since day one, the Democrat Party – primarily the Obama administration – and their media allies have sought to make the story go away. Since that didn’t work, they have resorted to distracting the American people and redirecting the focus by claiming Republicans are only making this an issue for political gain.
Just imagine if your son or daughter was killed in the attack and politicians reacted by saying that anyone trying to find out answers was only using the tragedy for political leverage. That really says something about our nation when the majority party can shamelessly stoop so low – and get away with it.
In today’s polarized society, politicians are increasingly using the term “extremist” to label their opponents. But what is an extremist? Merriam-Webster defines the word as “the quality or state of being extreme,” being the “farthest possible point from the center.”
Now those definitions by themselves are largely subjective; my view of the center and how far something is from it may be entirely different than yours.
But let’s consider an example: you are well within your constitutional rights to peaceably oppose partial-birth abortions. Likewise, someone who peaceably opposes the banning of such abortions would be within their rights. One could argue that this free exchange of ideas, for or against abortion, would be the “center.” Since neither group imposes upon the rights of the other, this is how our civilized society properly functions. Each citizen is entitled to his or her opinion and we empower government to express the will of the majority, provided the majority itself doesn’t interfere with the rights of the minority.
Extremists, those at the furthest possible point from the center, would be people willing to break laws and violate the rights of others in order to enact their goals. Someone willing to blow up a clinic that performs partial-birth abortions would be a perfect example of an extremist, as there is no further point from “the center” than taking the life of another in defense of your cause.
When we hear the term “anarchy,” it brings to mind a society with no laws or structure. In the hands of good people, anarchy can represent absolute freedom. One could argue that Americans would be far more prosperous if we were free of the heavy taxes and regulations that hamper our economy today.
But in the hands of the bad, anarchy represents chaos. There is no rule of law to deter criminals; no police force to protect the people or their property; no military to repel foreign invaders.
But that is only if we consider the citizens of a state. Expand the focus and consider anarchy of government.
Merriam-Webster defines anarchy as the “absence or denial of any authority or established order.” Ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We the people are in fact the rightful government of the United States, and those we have elected are mere public servants chosen to handle the affairs of the state according to our will and within the constraints of our Constitution.
Considering the history of our federal government in recent years – particularly the behavior of this Congress and administration – we can see an escalating trend of disregard for the established order of our Constitution and an increasing denial of the people’s authority over government.
No different than a robot in a science fiction movie that becomes “self-aware” and wrecks havoc on it’s former human masters, our government has also become self-aware: realizing, seemingly, that it is no longer the servant of the people, but the master. No longer bound by the Constitution, but all-powerful.
On this day in 1983, Pres. Ronald Reagan took full responsibility for the October bombing of the Beirut Embassy in Lebanon that killed 241 U.S. troops. Contrast that with the lies, stonewalling, and passing the buck of the Obama administration in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.
Of course, neither president was directly responsible for the death of American service members overseas; we must not lose sight that both of these attacks were perpetrated by America’s enemies. However the policies of both presidents and the actions of their subordinates certainly played a role and is worth further investigation (in Obama’s case) and discussion.
Reagan wasn’t perfect. No man is. But by taking responsibility for something that happened under his watch, President Reagan displayed a level class that Americans are unlikely to ever see from the man who currently occupies the White House.
I have fought against the restrictive rules of engagement in Afghanistan under Bush and Obama as part of the counterinsurgency doctrine. To be fair, under the Reagan administration Marines were not allowed to have loaded weapons during their peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, and were only allowed to return fire under certain circumstances. Had the Marines pulling security outside the barracks been locked and loaded, then those 241 Marines, sailors, and soldiers probably wouldn’t have died.
After the attack, Reagan withdrew the peacekeeping force. But why send combat troops to a country that poses no significant threat to the United States in the first place? When a president feels it is necessary to handicap our military’s ability to respond to deadly force in a particular theater, then we probably shouldn’t send men with guns in the first place.
In an age of terrorism, I wholeheartedly support counterterrorism. There are plenty of people who not only feel divinely inspired to kill innocent Americans, but also seek to do so. They must be stopped. But when we go beyond intelligence and special operations – putting “boots on the ground” – there has to be a legitimate reason.