That was the subject line of a message we received a few days ago from the news director of WCSC News, James Warner. "Who are you?"
We have answered that question numerous times in these pages. Maybe it is time to do it again.
We are a group of average citizens who grew tired of watching the media soft-peddle the violent crime occurring in the Lowcountry. The final straw for us was when the news media failed in their due diligence and their obligation to the facts and tried to paint a thug who was shot by police as a choirboy. With minimal effort we were able to produce evidence to the contrary and could not fathom why the 'investigative reporters' couldn't do the same. We publicized that evidence until the media had no choice but to pick it up and report it.
As we continued to investigate we discovered a thug culture in our communities and in our schools involving gangs, guns and drugs. None of which was being reported. Having already met our goal of forcing the media to recognize and report the truth about the "choirboy" we decided there was a story which needed to be told to our fellow citizens. We decided we had to go beyond the selective reporting by the media and their failure to follow up and follow through on the stories they did choose to report.
While conducting our research and following up on stories we stumbled upon yet another problematic aspect of the gangs, guns and drugs story. We found bond judges, circuit court judges and solicitors who failed to take the problem seriously. We discovered these elected and appointed officials were contributing to the problem by not following through with prosecution, setting ridiculously low bonds and continually sentencing repeat drug and violent offenders to probation rather than giving them stiff prison sentences.
Our primary mission of exposing thugs was quickly eclipsed by the mission of exposing this ineptitude, or as some have said, incompetence, in our judicial system. Shining a harsh light on those failures may change things. When those officials appointed by the people to look after the interests of the people fail to do their jobs we end up with the situation we now have in the Lowcountry.
Drug dealers and violent offenders are running amok in our communities. They may fear law enforcement action, but they have absolutely no fear of our prosecutors and judges. And for good reason. Many have been through the system time after time and know they stand very little chance of doing any real prison time.
That is who we are, Mr. Warner. As far as your request for us to contact you for a story on Charleston Thug Life, consider this that contact. Feel free to email your list of questions to us. We will answer them thoughtfully and in-depth right here on the blog. That is the only way to ensure our point of view is presented accurately to the citizens with no edits. Based on our past experience with the local media we have our suspicions about how any 'news report' about Charleston Thug Life would turn out.
Who are you? Perhaps a more appropriate question would have been, "Would any of you like a job as an investigative reporter?" Lord knows the local media is in desperate need of a few.