MYRTLE BEACH, July 18 – Horry County Democratic Party Chairman Bennie Swans today joined with dozens of other civil rights and community activists across the country in condemning the shooting deaths that left 10 police officers dead in three shootings in two weeks.
Swans, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and lifelong community activist, was reacting to the latest news on Sunday of the shooting death of three policemen and the wounding of three more in Baton Rouge, on top of the horrific attack in Dallas and the courtroom shooting in Michigan.
We have martyrs in plenty. but on thing martyrs never, ever do, is pick up a rifle. –Bennie Swans
“We always fight for justice,” Swans said, “but we never, ever fight for revenge. That’s just not what we do. And when it happens, in whatever twisted form it takes, we are as appalled as anyone else. Revenge killing of police is a terrible set-back to everything for which we stand. Yes, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased, and the families of those injured. But as some people have said, ‘Thoughts and prayers’ aren’t enough. We have to condemn these shootings in the strongest possible terms, and that’s what I’m doing. That’s what the Horry County Democratic Party is doing.”
Swans continued, “The modern civil rights movement is more than 70 years old, and not one time in those seven decades since Brown versus Board of Education did any responsible civil rights leader even hint at retaliation against police officers, much less countenance cold-blooded revenge killing. If Dr. Martin Luther King was alive today he would be beyond livid in his anger and shame and disgust with this kind of alleged retaliatory behavior. This is exactly the opposite of everything Dr. King and the hundreds of thousands of men and women who walked in his path believed in. The very last thing our non-violent movement ever believed in was ‘eye for an eye.’ We are, we have always been, one thousand percent ‘turn the other cheek.’ This is not who we are, and this is most definitely NOT what we stand for. We have martyrs in plenty, but one thing martyrs never, ever do, is pick up a rifle.”
Swans, a 66-year-old resident of Carolina Forest, was mostly recently involved as co-chairman of the highly successful Grand Strand Community Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee’s (CLEAC) event, “Connecting Cops, Kids and the Community Cook-Out” on Saturday at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex in Little River, which turned out more than 700 kids and their parents.
“What is vitally important is the significance of cops and kids learning to respect one another and the value of life,” Swans said of Saturday’s event. “It’s civilians and law enforcement, faith-based organizations, opinion leaders and business leaders coming together to say enough is enough, let’s work this stuff through.”
Another “Kids, Cops and Community” event is being planned for the southern end of Horry County in the fall.
“Events like these are designed to bring the community and law enforcement together to reinforce fairness, and improve public morality, honesty, good temperament and mutual respect between our young people and our fine law enforcement professionals all over this region,” Swans added.