Last month, I wrote about a mass killing in South Carolina that the national media completely ignored. Why was it ignored? Because the murder weapon was something other than a gun.
Well, now the state is home to yet another mass casualty event that the national media has barely noted. This time, it was in the one place you can generally be sure there aren’t any guns. This time, it was in a prison.
Seven inmates were killed during fights that lasted more than seven hours at a South Carolina prison Sunday night and into Monday morning, according to officials.
At least six emergency agencies responded to a “mass casualty incident” at Lee Correctional Institution in Lee County that resulted in the seven inmate deaths and 17 other inmates requiring medical attention, the S.C. Department of Corrections announced early Monday morning.
Though most of the autopsies have yet to be performed, it appears that many of the prisoners died from stabbing or slashing wounds from “shanks,” Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said. The official cause of death will not be determined until after the autopsies.
As of about 9 a.m. Monday, all of the deceased but one had been identified, Logan said. Officials are working to notify families before releasing the name of the dead inmates.
I’ve said before that if you give a law-abiding man a bazooka, he’ll still never harm a fly, but those inclined to violence will murder even if they have nothing but their bare hands to do it. I think this is a pretty good example of how right that is.
Prisoners are barred from having any weapons at all and for any reason, yet they continue to make shanks. Further, it seems that some were killed without the use of such a weapon. The implication of this is that some of them were killed by an inmate using his bare hands.
In other words, the lack of weapons doesn’t do much to keep people safe if the violent want to be violent. Funny how that shakes out, doesn’t it?
Yet with this case, much like the other case in South Carolina, there won’t be any marches. There won’t be prisoners who start campaigning on an anti-shank platform and demand groups that support weapons be dismantled. There won’t be legions of people claiming that what we really need is more shank control in our prisons.
The scale of the incident demanded some reporting, but it’ll be forgotten in a day or two.
However, the deeper point shouldn’t be ignored, that the problem is and has always been with violent people. Put violent people in an environment where they have no access to weapons and they’ll continue to be violent. It doesn’t stop them. Seven people are dead because violent people ignored the rules and either armed themselves with the intention of using those weapons to kill another or just did it with their bare hands.
Yet prison is the world some people envision for us. Oh, they will ignore it, but much of what they want are things already provided in prison. Universal healthcare, free food and shelter, and no legal weapons except in the hands of police.
How did that work out? Well, for at least seven people, not very well. Why would anyone think it would work better out here in the real world?