The following is a letter received by Grand Strand Daily regarding the racial incident at Bucksport Marina property over Memorial Day Weekend. The letter is printed in full:
MEMORANDUM FROM THE DESK OF BILL WARNER
To: Bennie Swans
Date: 18 September 2017
About: GSWSA Incident
As a proud member of the Grand Strand community, and an equally proud advisor to the Carolina African American Heritage Foundation, to you our founder and Chair, our Directors, and our many volunteers and friends, I have the following to say about the May 28, 2017 incident which resulted in serious injury to Curtis Hendrix and also, I’m afraid, brought not a little shame down on our community.
Kudos to professional journalist Paul Gable for dragging this horrific incident out from beneath four months of official silence, if not snatching it away from what some would say resembles a coverup. And boos to the local and state so-called mainstream media for completely passing on what must be the most vicious hate crime this community has seen in a long time, if ever – to say nothing of the outrageous slap on the wrist and apparent reinstatement being enjoyed by the openly racist perpetrator, Jeffrey Weeks. One would think we were back in 19th Century post-Civil War Mississippi, and not in 21st Century South Carolina.
It’s bad enough that this creep – who we understand is from Virginia – had to crawl out from under his rock in our community, but what’s really troubling is the subsequent official fumbling and media silence.
First, the charge – misdemeanor assault – is patently ridiculous. Here we have an intentional, deliberately violent attack, openly and loudly declared by the attacker to be based on racial hatred, which injured Curtis Hendrix to the extent he was unable to work. Every element of felony assault is there – beyond law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion – and Weeks would have been charged with that anywhere else that I know of.
And has anyone but me wondered where federal law enforcement is on this case? What Weeks did was a clear violation of Title 18, Section 245 of the United States Code – the Civil Rights Act of 1968 – which says, unambiguously, that anyone who “willingly injures, intimidates or interferes with another person, or attempts to do so, by force because of the other person’s race, color, religion or national origin” violates the statute and, if injury results, is looking at a felony indictment and up to ten years in prison – irrespective, I might add, of what a state does or doesn’t do. The FBI and the U.S. Attorneys around the country have been extremely aggressive with rounding up and prosecuting offenders under that statute, and they should be. But the question is: What happened in this case? I don’t know of any instance, anywhere, of a such a clear-cut federal hate crime laying on an FBI or U.S. Attorney’s desk for four months. The conclusion is almost inescapable that it’s deliberate, and not just bureaucratic inertia.
Second, the apparent position of the GSWSA that because they have no direct connection with Weeks, they have no authority over a lessee, contractor, or employer to direct any or all of them to get rid of him based on his behavior is not only patent nonsense, it’s a transparent legal fiction.
What I’m afraid we have at work here is the “official” narrative on racial issues our government, academic, and business elites have constructed and sold to everybody in sight. It goes something like this: “Yes we have a problem or two occasionally, but we’re on the right track.” O.K., so we can write off the unlucky presence of an angry throwback like Weeks, but what about GSWSA? What “track” were they on? Didn’t anybody get them on board the narrative? If not, why not? And if so, why did it take four months and a piece of brilliant professional journalism to move them to action?
The answer appears to be, simply, that Weeks’ violent action was such a threat to the prevailing narrative, that it was permitted to be ignored or suppressed, or both. In either event, there are demonstrably more people on the public payroll who still need to be called to account. Further, the narrative itself must be removed from our political and cultural holy of holies and treated with more humility and realistic expectation, if not cashiered altogether. As former U.S. Senator and NBA basketball star Bill Bradley once said, we’ve got a long and difficult way to go to achieve true racial reconciliation, and we need honest thinking and honest dialogue among ourselves, and not pretentious feel good “narratives.”
Finally, the purpose of a prompt, decisive government and community response to these kinds of incidents is not vengeance. It’s for deterrence, and for the community to say quickly and emphatically with one voice to anyone else who may have that kind of evil in their hearts and minds, “Not here you don’t! Not in our community!”