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The Facts: Guns and Death in South Carolina

Phil Noble

Phil Noble

By Phil Noble

The recent murder of nine people at Emanuel Church in Charleston has sparked many different reactions. Confederate flags are coming down, people are talking about race in different ways and the subject of guns and violence is now back on the agenda in our state and country.

As readers of this space know, we frequently write about a wide range of studies and analysis of various public policy issues. In today’s political environment, far too often politicians and their supporters pick out an isolated fact or two and use it to spin out their rationale for some line of rhetoric or pre-determined position. These folks, Democrats and Republicans, use facts not to determine what policies should be pursued but instead they use a couple of fact to justify their bias, prejudice and pre-existing position.

That said, below are some facts from recent studies – simple fact with no rhetoric or political spin – about guns, death and violence in South Carolina:

Between 2001 and 2010, 5,991 people in SC were killed by guns. This is 15% higher than all US combat deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

In South Carolina, a person is killed by a gun every 14 hours. There is an aggravated assault with a gun occurring every 90 minutes.

In 2010, we were the 7th deadliest state in the country for gun murders. For every 100,000 people the gun murder rate was 5; this is 39% higher than the national average of 3.6 per 100,000.

We rank number 2nd in the county in aggravated assaults with a gun, two and a half times higher than the national average.

When it comes to the killing law-enforcement offices with a gun, we rank 4th in the nation. For the years 2002 thru 2011, 16 officers were killed with a gun.

From 2001-2012, SC ranked 4th in the nation in the number of women killed by a gun, 64% above the national average.

In the category of women killed by men in domestic violence in SC, we ranked 2nd and more than half of these murders were committed with a gun.

In 2001, the rate of guns from South Carolina being ‘exporter’ to other states and used in the commission of a crime, was twice that of the national average. We exported 33 crime guns per 100,000 people compared to a national average of 14.

In a statement after the Charleston shooting, President Obama made comments about how gun violence and deaths were so much worse in the US than in other industrialized countries. The statistics show that he is right.

The US ranks number 1 in the world in the number of guns per 100 people at 88.8. By comparison, the rates for other industrialized countries are: France 32.1, Canada 30.8, Germany 30.3, Australia 15, Italy 11.9, Russia 8.9, United Kingdom 6.6, Ireland 4.3 and Japan 0.6.

The ranking and rates of firearms deaths per 100,000 people by county for industrializes countries are similar to those of gun ownership: US 3.5, Canada 0.5, Italy 0.3, France 0.2, Germany 0.2, Holland 0.2, Australia 0.1, and United Kingdom 0.05.

For the most recent year reported, Japan’s murder rate with a gun was 0 – none. Japan has a population of 127 million, SC is 4.8 million.

All of this would lead one to ask – why? Why are the bad statistics for South Carolina so dire? At this point there is a danger of wondering into a more subjective analysis about gun safety legislation – or lack thereof – in our state.

But, let’s stop here. Instead of getting into a political or policy discussion, which by definition leads to division and disagreement, let’s just focus for now on the problem.

The key take away from all this is that we have a problem in South Carolina – a big problem. We are killing each other with guns at a freighting rate. We are killing each other at rates that are among the highest in the country and our countries rates of gun violence are among the highest rates in the world.

For now, let’s all agree on this. We have a very big problem – a very, very, very big problem – and we need to do something about this.

(Note on sources: SC data: Institute for Southern Studies, global data: see Wikipedia, ‘number of guns per capita by country’ and ‘list of countries by firearm-related death rates’)

Phil Noble is a businessman in Charleston and President of the SC New Democrats, an independent reform group founded by former Gov. Richard Riley to bring big change and real reform. phil@scnewdemocrats.or   www.SCNewDemocrats.org

“Get the popcorn” by Stuart Neiman

"Get the popcorn" by Stuart Neiman

“Get the popcorn” by Stuart Neiman

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"Mutual Misery" from The Times and Democrat

“Mutual Misery” from The Times and Democrat

“Move on already” from The Times and Democrat

"Move on already" from The Times and Democrat

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“GOP List” from The Times and Democrat

"GOP List" from The Times and Democrat

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USC Rolling in Taxpayer, Tuition Dough

by Rick Brundrett
July 1, 2015

When lawmakers claim state funding for higher education has dropped over the years, they typically don’t mention the other big piggy banks they approve for the state’s public colleges and universities.

Take, for example, the University of South Carolina – the state’s flagship university with approximately 48,000 students at its eight campuses statewide.

The USC system collectively would receive $1.32 billion in total funding for the fiscal year that starts today, under the fiscal 2016 state spending plan adopted by the General Assembly last week. The total includes about $154 million in state funds, $216 million in federal funds and nearly $956 million in “other” funds – primarily tuition and fees.

The $1.32 billion total would be $213.5 million more than the total appropriation for fiscal 2012 for the USC system, The Nerve found in a review of state budget records. That would work out to a collective hike over the period of about 19 percent, or 13 percent after adjusted for inflation.

All three main piggy banks – state, federal and other funds – for the eight campuses collectively have grown since fiscal 2012, The Nerve’s review found. Under the state budget version passed last week by the General Assembly, state, federal and other funding for the USC system would have increased by $27.2 million, $28.3 million and $158.3 million, respectively, during the period.

Total appropriations for each of the eight campuses – Columbia, Aiken, Upstate, Beaufort, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union – also have grown since fiscal 2012, The Nerve’s review found, though the  total for the Sumter campus – one of four two-year regional campuses in the system – for fiscal 2016 would be somewhat lower compared to its ratified budget for the fiscal year that just ended.

USC’s main campus in Columbia receives the most funding – $1.09 billion appropriated for the new fiscal year. Total funding at the other seven campuses would range from $6.8 million at USC Union, a two-year regional campus, to $93.7 million at USC Upstate.

To put the collective $1.32 billion appropriation for the USC system in some perspective, it would be larger than the total fiscal 2016 budget of every state agency, as passed last week by the General Assembly, except the departments of Health and Human Services ($7.1 billion), Education ($4.2 billion), and Transportation ($1.8 billion). The total state budget for this fiscal year is about $25 billion, which a six-member legislative conference committee finalized in secret, as The Nerve reported last week.

USC’s budget is fueled largely by student tuition and fees, which have been steadily climbing in recent years. Tuition and required fees for in-state, full-time undergraduate students at USC’s main campus in Columbia grew to $11,158 in fiscal 2015 from $7,314 in fiscal 2006, according to state Commission on Higher Education records. That’s an increase of $3,844, or about 53 percent (17 percent after adjusted for inflation) during the period.

The USC Board of Trustees last month approved a 2.9 percent tuition increase for the 2015-16 academic year, The State newspaper reported. In 2013, USC President Harris Pastides proposed that if the Legislature gave the university an additional $10.13 million in state funding for its eight campuses and covered any mandated pay and health-care benefit hikes for fiscal 2015, there would be no in-state tuition hikes for that year.

The Nerve reported then that the university was sitting on a mountain of money. Lawmakers passed on Pastides’ offer.

The Nerve’s review of USC’s annual financial reports filed with the Office of the State Auditor found that as of June 30 for fiscal years 2010 through 2014, USC had an annual average of $347.3 million in “unrestricted net assets,” defined by the university as “resources available to the institution for any lawful purpose of the institution.”

In terms of spending, USC has no problem doling out six-figure salaries to its coaches, professors and administrators. Out of 2,783 employees listed in the most-recent state salary database as earning a base salary of $100,000 or more, 796, or about 29 percent, work at USC, The Nerve’s review found.

USC assistant football coaches Lorenzo Ward and Jon Hoke lead that list as earning a base state salary of $400,000 each; with media contracts, their total compensation is $750,000 each, The State newspaper reported earlier this year. Head football coach Steve Spurrier and head women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley received state salaries of $350,000 and $357,000, respectively, as of March 10, though Spurrier’s total annual compensation as of last year was $4 million, and Staley will make $1.1 million in the 2015-16 school year, according to The State. (The USC board last month approved a $200,000 raise for Staley).

Head men’s basketball coach Frank Martin’s base state salary as of March 10 was $306,000; when hired in 2012, he got a six-year deal worth $12.3 million, including $1.9 million his first year, according to an Associated Press story.

Coaches aren’t the only well-paid USC staff. Martin Morad, for example, a professor in the Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, makes a base state salary of $392,609, ranking him as the second-highest paid state employee in the salary database.

Ed Walton, USC’s senior vice president for administration and chief operating officer, receives a $327,902 base state salary, ranking him 9th in the database, while Jerry Youkey, dean of the USC School of Medicine-Greenville, makes a base salary of $324,640, ranking him 11th. Pastides ranks 19th with a base state salary of $297,648, though his total compensation, which includes foundation money, was $790,000 as of last year and will jump to more than $1 million by 2017 with scheduled bonuses, The State newspaper reported last year.

In comparison, South Carolina had a per-capita personal income last year of $36,934, ranking it 48th in the nation and which was 80 percent of the national average of $46,129, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Reach Brundrett at (803) 254-4411 or rick@thenerve.org. Follow him on Twitter @thenerve.org. Follow The Nerve on Facebook and Twitter @thenervesc.

Harrell Pays Probation Agency with Campaign Funds

By Rick Brundrett for TheNerve.org
June 30, 2015

Eight days after pleading guilty to misspending $93,958 from his campaign account, ex-S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell paid $3,517 from the account to the state probation department, campaign records show – money which the agency says was credited toward his court-ordered restitution.

Pete O’Boyle, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon (PPP) Services, said last week when contacted by The Nerve that the agency wasn’t aware of the “original source of the funds” with the Oct. 31 payment. He initially suggested the department wasn’t going to look into the matter.

“Like I said, we can’t investigate the source of funds for the thousands of people we have on probation who are paying restitution, not to mention almost all of the 32,000 people we have on some form of supervision who have to pay supervision fees even if they don’t owe restitution,” O’Boyle said in an email response Thursday to The Nerve. Read the rest of this entry »

Survey shows enough votes to remove Confederate flag in SC

By Seanna Adcox

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A survey of South Carolina legislators shows there is enough support to remove the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds if all supporters cast a vote.

The Post and Courier newspaper, the South Carolina Press Association and The Associated Press asked all lawmakers how they intend to vote. At least 33 senators and 83 House members say the flag should go.

That appears to meet the two-thirds majority needed from both chambers to move the battle flag. That rule is part of the 2000 compromise that took the flag off the Statehouse dome and put a smaller, square version beside a monument to Confederate soldiers.

The flag push follows the shooting deaths of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston on June 17. The pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, was among the dead. The suspect in the shooting, Dylann Storm Roof, was shown in photographs brandishing the flag as a symbol of hate.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley called on legislators a week ago to send the battle flag to a museum.

While the flag for many South Carolinians stands for noble traditions of history, heritage and ancestry, she said, for many others it’s a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.”

“The events of the past week call upon all of us to look at this in a different way,” she said.

There are currently 123 legislators in the House and 45 in the Senate.

The exact number needed to pass a bill is uncertain. The two-thirds requirement applies to whoever is present and voting at the time.

A day after Haley made her public request, legislators overwhelmingly approved a resolution allowing them to add the flag to their special session’s agenda. But that doesn’t mean the debate will go smoothly. Some did not want to risk harsh words amid a week of funerals. Legislators are expected to return to Columbia on Monday to consider Haley’s budget vetoes and take up legislation that would remove the flag.

“This is truly a defining moment for the leadership of this state and nation — not by mere words but bold and decisive action,” said Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, a House member since 1993.

Like most of the Legislative Black Caucus at the time, Govan voted against the 2000 compromise.

Some legislators responded that they would not weigh in until after the funerals for all nine victims.

Others say they’re still undecided.

Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, said he won’t take a position until a proposal comes before him for a vote. Two bills have been filed in the House. Both were sent through the committee process.

“I don’t vote on hypotheticals,” Taylor said. “Undoubtedly, there will be amendments and compromises to the bills filed. When it all becomes more clear, I’ll make a decision.”

The Senate decided to take a quicker route, sending a bipartisan bill introduced in that chamber straight to the floor for debate.

GOP Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, is among legislators saying the Charleston massacre — followed by an outpouring of forgiveness from the victims’ families — changed his opinion on the flag.

It’s a testament to Pinckney that the shooter “so evil and full of hate was offered forgiveness and the light of Christ by the very people whom he sought to destroy,” Bryant said. “Sen. Pinckney is no longer with us, yet his message of love and forgiveness is strong in South Carolina.”

Roof, 21, is jailed on nine murder charges for the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Two proposals to remove the flag would send it to the state Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum. A third simply takes it down. Some legislators are looking for an alternative.

“I don’t see it as just a leave-it-up or take-it-down scenario,” said Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill.

Possibilities under discussion include putting the state flag on the 30-foot pole, replacing the current battle flag with one that looks nothing like it and was unique to South Carolina soldiers, and being specific on what will be displayed at the Confederate Relic museum.

Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, said the flag flying now has to come down. After what happened in Charleston, everyone should understand why that flag is offensive, he said.

“But some of us who would like to see some way for well-meaning, non-racist people who want to remember their relatives to continue to do that,” he said.

Death, Race and Irony in South Carolina

Phil Noble

Phil Noble

By Phil Noble

There have been hundreds of thousands of words written and spoken about the unspeakable tragedy of the nine people gunned down at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. In time, there will be many more; books will be written and countless analysis will be presented seeking to find some meaning in what happened.

In time, the events of the tragedy will become a permanent part of the history of Charleston and our people, indeed the whole state and nation. Though I have lived in Charleston for more than 40 years, Emanuel Church is in my neighborhood and I knew Clem Pinckney for 20+ years, I don’t claim to have any special insights or wisdom.

Instead, what is most striking to me are the many ironic aspect of the tragedy. The dictionary defines irony as “an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected… the incongruity of things or events.” So, in no particular order, below are a few observations on some of the ironies of the events.

Mayor Riley’s racial legacy. Joe Riley was elected in 1975, soon after the Voting Rights Act was passed. He understood the new racial realities of politics in Charleston and he was the first politician who actively and unabashedly sought black support. Among some of his critics, it earned him the nickname of ‘Little Black Joe’. His work to overcome the racial divisions of Charleston’s past was the consistent theme of his 40 years in office, yet it was senseless racial violence that so deeply wounded him and his beloved city in the closing days of his 40th year tenure as mayor.

Riley and the Confederate Flag. For years, removing the Confederate flag from the state house was a burning passion for Riley. In 2000, he led a historic five day march of more than 600 people from Charleston to Columbia calling for the Confederate flag to come down from atop the statehouse dome. Despite years of his and others efforts, there was little progress. The flag was removed from the capitol dome but it was simply moved to another location on the capitol grounds. Within days of the Emanuel murders, there was a spontaneous rush in Columbia, across the South and the nation to remove the Confederate flag and other manifestations of the symbol from our daily life.

Charleston began and ‘ended’ the Civil War. As every school child knows, the Civil War was begun by the people of South Carolina and the first shots that began the bloodshed were fired on Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor. In the year of the 150 anniversary of the end of the War, the killings in Charleston may have ‘ended’ the War, or at least the public display of some of the most visible Confederate symbols and vestiges of the War.

Strom and Paul Thurmond. One of the most eloquent speeches calling for the removal of the flag from the state house grounds was made by state Sen. Paul Thurmond of Charleston. His impassioned plea was an explicit repudiation of the symbols and racism that were the very bedrock of his father’s long political career in South Carolina and nationally. In his speech, Paul said that he had ‘found his purpose’ as a senator.

Denmark Vesey and race wars. Dylann Roof sought to set off a race war by killing the minister of the church that Vesey help start. On June 17, precisely 193 years after Vesey planned to lead his slave rebellion in 1822, Roof killed Vesey’s successor in the church Vesey help found.

From race war to Nobel Prize. Roof’s hoped for race war in Charleston did not happen – there was no blood in the streets. Instead, the killings touched off demonstrations of love, peace, reconciliation among blacks and whites such that it’s said that the City of Charleston has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Gov. Nikki Haley as the tipping point. Gov. Haley had long opposed any efforts to remove the flag from the statehouse grounds – and then after the killings, she suddenly did an about face. If the flag is eventually removed as most think it will, Gov. Haley’s actions may be remembered as the political tipping point that brought the flag down.

Glenn McConnell was invisible. More than any other politician in South Carolina, former state senator and now President of the College of Charleston, Glenn McConnell, was the personification of efforts to fly the Confederate flag and venerate the symbols of so-called historic heritage. But, on the most historic and famous day in the history of the College of Charleston – the day of Sen. Pinckney’s funeral and President Obama’s eulogy at the College’s arena – McConnell was invisible. The day before, McConnell sat silent as the College’s Board voted to support removal of the Confederate flag. The next day, McConnell did issue a statement supporting the decision.

And on and on it goes. In the days to come as events continue to unfold and the implications of these events become clearer with time, the ironies will likely multiply and deepen.

In South Carolina’s history – and indeed today – our triumphs are all tangled up with our tragedies.

Phil Noble is a businessman in Charleston and President of the SC New Democrats, an independent reform group started by former Gov. Richard Riley to bring big change and real reform. phil@scnewdemocrats.org   www.SCNewDemocrats.org

“Breathing Room” from The Times and Democrat

"Breathing Room" from The Times and Democrat

“Breathing Room” from The Times and Democrat

“The Pledge” from The Times and Democrat

"The Pledge" from The Times and Democrat

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"Living History" from The Times and Democrat

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Miss South Carolina Pageant

Deja Dial Crowned Miss South Carolina, many more pictures coming, thanks for viewing the pictures, Gwinn_ http://www.gwinndavisphotos.com/Other-3/Deja-Dial-Crowned-Miss-South/50227829_MmgDxP#!i=4163622473&k=ZMfMRpP

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia. GWINN DAVIS MEDIA GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS SC News Exchange gwinndavisphotos.com (website) (864) 915-0411 (cell) gwinndavis@gmail.com  (e-mail)  Gwinn Davis (FaceBook) National Press Photographers Association  Nikon Professional Services

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia.
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Miss South Carolina Pageant

Deja Dial Crowned Miss South Carolina, many more pictures coming, thanks for viewing the pictures, Gwinn_ http://www.gwinndavisphotos.com/Other-3/Deja-Dial-Crowned-Miss-South/50227829_MmgDxP#!i=4163622473&k=ZMfMRpP

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia. GWINN DAVIS MEDIA GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS SC News Exchange gwinndavisphotos.com (website) (864) 915-0411 (cell) gwinndavis@gmail.com  (e-mail)  Gwinn Davis (FaceBook) National Press Photographers Association  Nikon Professional Services

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia.
GWINN DAVIS MEDIA
GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS
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gwinndavisphotos.com (website)
(864) 915-0411 (cell)
gwinndavis@gmail.com (e-mail)
Gwinn Davis (FaceBook)
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Miss South Carolina Pageant

Deja Dial Crowned Miss South Carolina, many more pictures coming, thanks for viewing the pictures, Gwinn_ http://www.gwinndavisphotos.com/Other-3/Deja-Dial-Crowned-Miss-South/50227829_MmgDxP#!i=4163622473&k=ZMfMRpP

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia. GWINN DAVIS MEDIA GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS SC News Exchange gwinndavisphotos.com (website) (864) 915-0411 (cell) gwinndavis@gmail.com  (e-mail)  Gwinn Davis (FaceBook) National Press Photographers Association  Nikon Professional Services

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia.
GWINN DAVIS MEDIA
GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS
SC News Exchange
gwinndavisphotos.com (website)
(864) 915-0411 (cell)
gwinndavis@gmail.com (e-mail)
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Nikon Professional Services

Miss South Carolina Pageant

Deja Dial Crowned Miss South Carolina, many more pictures coming, thanks for viewing the pictures, Gwinn_ http://www.gwinndavisphotos.com/Other-3/Deja-Dial-Crowned-Miss-South/50227829_MmgDxP#!i=4163622473&k=ZMfMRpP

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia. GWINN DAVIS MEDIA GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS SC News Exchange gwinndavisphotos.com (website) (864) 915-0411 (cell) gwinndavis@gmail.com  (e-mail)  Gwinn Davis (FaceBook) National Press Photographers Association  Nikon Professional Services

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia.
GWINN DAVIS MEDIA
GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS
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gwinndavisphotos.com (website)
(864) 915-0411 (cell)
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Miss South Carolina Pageant

Deja Dial Crowned Miss South Carolina, many more pictures coming, thanks for viewing the pictures, Gwinn_ http://www.gwinndavisphotos.com/Other-3/Deja-Dial-Crowned-Miss-South/50227829_MmgDxP#!i=4163622473&k=ZMfMRpP

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia. GWINN DAVIS MEDIA GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS SC News Exchange gwinndavisphotos.com (website) (864) 915-0411 (cell) gwinndavis@gmail.com  (e-mail)  Gwinn Davis (FaceBook) National Press Photographers Association  Nikon Professional Services

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia.
GWINN DAVIS MEDIA
GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS
SC News Exchange
gwinndavisphotos.com (website)
(864) 915-0411 (cell)
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Nikon Professional Services

Miss South Carolina Pageant

Deja Dial Crowned Miss South Carolina, many more pictures coming, thanks for viewing the pictures, Gwinn_ http://www.gwinndavisphotos.com/Other-3/Deja-Dial-Crowned-Miss-South/50227829_MmgDxP#!i=4163622473&k=ZMfMRpP

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia. GWINN DAVIS MEDIA GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS SC News Exchange gwinndavisphotos.com (website) (864) 915-0411 (cell) gwinndavis@gmail.com  (e-mail)  Gwinn Davis (FaceBook) National Press Photographers Association  Nikon Professional Services

Miss Greater Greenville, Deja Dial, was crowned Miss South Carolina. Miss Greater Greer, Anna Brown, was First Runner-Up. Miss 2014 Miss South Carolina, Laney Hudson, crowned Deja Dial. The 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant was held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia.
GWINN DAVIS MEDIA
GWINN DAVIS PHOTOS
SC News Exchange
gwinndavisphotos.com (website)
(864) 915-0411 (cell)
gwinndavis@gmail.com (e-mail)
Gwinn Davis (FaceBook)
National Press Photographers Association
Nikon Professional Services

South Carolina Baptist Convention leaders agree it’s time to remove the flag

The Baptist Courier, June 24, 2015
Main phone number: 864-232-8736

Toll-free number: 1-888-667-4693
Email: denise@baptistcourier.com or rgray@baptistcourier.com

Tommy Kelly, president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and Richard Harris, interim executive director-treasurer, have released a statement supporting Gov. Nikki Haley’s request to remove the Confederate flag from the state house grounds:

“Believing God created all men and women in His image, racism of any form is repulsive and contrary to our Christian faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We support Governor Haley’s attempt to move the Confederate flag from the flag pole at the state capitol to the South Carolina State Museum. We believe such a move would promote racial unity and allow all citizens to live in increased harmony, especially in the continued presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation.”

Kelly and Harris emphasized that their “primary concern and agenda is the spiritual condition and well-being of all citizens of South Carolina, regardless of race, ethnicity or social status. We have no interest in promoting a political agenda of anyone relative to the Confederate flag. We honor its historical significance and believe it should retain a prominent place in the museum and archives or our wonderful state.”

The seven presidents of the institutions of the SCBC all agreed it was time for the Confederate flag to be removed from the capitol grounds: Evans Whitaker, Anderson University; Randall Pannell, North Greenville University interim; Jairy Hunter, Charleston Southern University; Randy Harling, Connie Maxwell Children’s Home; Tom Turner, Ministries for the Aging; Barry Edwards, the Baptist Foundation; and Rudy Gray, The Baptist Courier.

Marshall Blalock, senior pastor of Charleston’s First Baptist Church, stated, “For me, the key to removing the flag is the principle of love described in Romans 12:9-10. Let us honor our brothers and sisters of color by moving the flag to a museum where its historical content can be interpreted properly.”

A poll conducted by The Charleston Post and Courier indicated that 69 House members (56 percent) were in favor of removing the flag.  The remaining House members responded with no, undecided, or no answer. Twenty-nine failed to give any response.

In the Senate, 33 senators (or approximately 72 percent) favored removing the flag, with the rest responding with no, undecided, or no answer. Five did not respond.

According to a law relating to the current location of the flag, it would take a two-thirds majority from both chambers to remove the battle emblem.

Let’s be clear: The Confederate flag has always been demeaning to black South Carolinians, even during quiet periods

By Issac Bailey

ibailey@thesunews.com

Object preview

Many South Carolinians don’t fully understand the depth of feeling associated with the Confederate flag. That flag at the State House has been beyond demeaning, a taunting middle finger from the graves of those who would enslave us.

“It’s an issue that hasn’t been an issue for the three years I’ve been [in the S.C. Senate.]”

Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Little River

It’s time to make one thing clear:

The Confederate flag has always been an issue for black South Carolinians.

It was an issue when the Ku Klux Klan was founded by Confederate soldiers.

It was an issue when that flag was used during Klan rides that ended in black men hanging from trees and having their genitals removed during barbaric public lynchings.

Dylann Roof was not the first killer to soak that flag in African American blood.

It was an issue every time Klan members — disguised as governors and legislators and sheriffs and judges and jurors — used it during rallies and cross “lightings.”

It was an issue when it was thrust high above the State House dome in 1962 in defiance of the Civil Rights Movement.

It was an issue when it was moved to the Confederate soldier’s monument in front of the State House.

It was an issue when headlines about the boycott by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People faded.

It was an issue when people like me got tired of trying to open the minds of good people about just what that flag means that we stopped talking about it publicly.

It has never not been an issue.

It’s an issue every time someone explains away the causes of the Civil War to protect the image of that flag.

It’s an issue every time we see it in store windows and on the back of pick-up trucks.

It’s an issue even when we decide to be close friends with those who revere that flag, knowing that they aren’t purposefully trying to support what the leaders of the Confederacy said the lost cause was all about, the permanent enslavement of people who look like us because, in the minds of Confederate leaders, God assigned white people the superior position.

Having the flag on State House grounds for 53 years has been particularly cruel, ugly.

It’s a daily reminder that most of the people we send to Columbia don’t give a damn about what we think or who we are.

Enduring the presence of the flag on bumper stickers and T-shirts is just another part of life in South Carolina that we’ve long accepted because we understand full well that living in a free society means tolerating things we don’t like and wouldn’t choose for ourselves.

We even gathered around the TV on Friday nights like our white friends to watch the “Dukes of Hazzard” and the iconic “General Lee” with that flag on the roof.

But that flag at the State House has been beyond demeaning, a taunting middle finger from the graves of those who would enslave us.

That’s true on days we scream about it — and get shouted down and blamed for stirring up racial unrest.

It’s true on days when we say nothing — because of fear or resignation or a kind of learned helplessness — allowing a silence to take hold that suggests we don’t really care that flag flies in a place of honor.

But we do.

We always have.

Contact ISSAC BAILEY at ibailey@thesunnews.com or on Twitter @TSN_IssacBailey.