By Paul Gable
Politics reached a new low in the current Myrtle Beach election campaign when Mayor John Rhodes trashed the firefighter who shot the video of the Father’s Day shooting on Ocean Boulevard during a recent mayoral candidate debate.
There is no doubt the mayor, city council members and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce panicked when video of that shooting went viral on Facebook. It illuminated Myrtle Beach’s dirty little secret that crime is on the rise in the city for all of America to see.
The Father’s Day shooting was not an isolated incident, regardless of how much city leaders would like you to believe otherwise.
During this campaign, Rhodes has blamed “fake news” for giving the city a bad image on social media, thereby, potentially hurting tourism.
But, Rhodes really sank deep in the mud when he defamed the man who took the video from a hotel room on Ocean Boulevard.
“The gentleman who took the film was a fireman that was here on a firemen’s convention,” Rhodes said during the debate. “He was a sworn officer that was supposed to respond to people in trouble and injured. He was so busy taking the film that he never did what his job called for him to do and that was to respond to injured people on the boulevard.”
Here’s how clueless Rhodes is:
- It is nationwide policy that emergency personnel WILL NOT enter an active shooter scene until the scene is cleared and secured by law enforcement personnel
- As soon as the firefighter realized what was happening, he made sure a 911 call was made
- The firefighter in question was potentially helping Myrtle Beach law enforcement by collecting evidence of the crime with a video recording of the incident
Rhodes taking any other slant on the firefighter’s actions demonstrates how clueless he is of standing policy for such a situation and, frankly, how unprepared he is to lead the city even after 12 years in office.
It was a terrible idea for Rhodes to try and score some political points by taking a cheap shot at the firefighter who shot the video, but, it is typical of a mayor and council who care only about optics, not reality.
The current city council’s plan to improve public safety in the city is to request funding from the state to pay for a few more police officers while the city continues to give the Myrtle Beach Chamber over $20 million per year of public tax dollars to fund tourism marketing that should be the responsibility of the owners of the businesses that benefit from such marketing.
In addition, city council is currently spending or planning to spend millions more public tax dollars on venues for sports tourism, a new library and a children’s museum while begging the state for money to fund public safety.
The greatest fiction writers the world has known couldn’t make this stuff up, but we call it city government in Myrtle Beach.