Kudos to the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
Local law enforcement officers did a fantastic job defusing a potentially lethal situation last week.
Last Monday, police arrested a 34-year old man after finding him in possession of gunpowder and two PVC pipes. The pipes were approximately six-inches long and had end caps. Police had stopped the man near 5th Avenue North and Chester Street in Myrtle Beach after recognizing him as someone against whom there had been a bench warrant issued.
A second arrest was made — that of a 55-year-old man — a day later. Police allegedly found bomb components in a search of the second suspect’s home. Police said the search was conducted after the first suspect told them that the second suspect gave him the pipe bombs that he was carrying when arrested.
Now. I’m not going to post the mug shots of the suspects. They look like two guys who might have been planning to blow up a trash can to snort the ash and refuse. If we learned one thing from the Boston Marathon massacre, however, it is that the most crude of devices can lead to widespread devastation. Myrtle Beach police officers should be commended for disarming the putrid, alleged perps before anyone was injured.
The arrests reminded me once again that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day. Even traffic stops that start as routine can end in tragedy. On Dec. 29, 2002, Myrtle Beach Police Officer Joseph McGarry, 28, was shot and killed in a parking lot on North Kings Highway.
I shouldn’t have needed reminding of the inherent dangers of police work. My grandfather, Gordon Hufnagle — then a public safety officer in Lewsburg, PA — drowned in 1972 while trying to save others from flood waters during Hurricane Agnes. He’d been the chief of police in the same town for 28 years before being demoted, in part due to age discrimination, to the public safety position.
Yes, I’ve been known to criticize those sworn to protect and serve us — often for good reason. Journalists have a job to do, and it doesn’t always involve writing glorified public relations articles like the majority of those published in our local paper, The Tidal Eyechart. Journalists are watchdogs of democracy.
But sometimes you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. This time it goes to the men and ladies in blue. Thanks.