Come to Five Points tonight and help protect cops

Don’t know about you, but tonight I’ll be at the fountain at Five Points (Greene and Saluda) to support the effort to get better armor for Columbia police officers.

WIS had something about doing this for Midlands officers in general last week:

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – In the wake of the shooting of a Columbia police officer, WIS and local law enforcement officers are teaming up to raise money to help pay for more bulletproof vests for Midlands police officers.

Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott says a ballistics vest saved the life of one of his officers when he was shot by a suspect during a traffic stop early Wednesday morning in the Shandon neighborhood.

Scott said officer Alexander Broder lived because he was following procedure and wearing his department-issued vest. “We’re just very fortunate the round hit him in the bulletproof vest,” said Scott. “That is what saved his life.” Broder had only been on the job for five days.

Scott says each vests costs over $600. “We can’t put a price on that type of safety for our officers,” said Scott. “Every officer that walks in the door is issued a ballistic vest.”

Starting at 5:00 p.m., you will have the chance to donate money to help equip more Midlands officers with bulletproof vests.

Phone lines will be staffed from 5:00pm – 7:30pm. You can call 803-758-1020 or donate online by clicking here.

… and that’s great. But some Five Points merchants wanted to do more specifically for CPD officers.

The event is from 6 to 9 tonight. I had wanted to get more details about how come the city hasn’t bought up-to-date armor for its officers instead of funding arts centers or something, but didn’t have time, and wanted to go ahead and get this up. Because whatever the politics, Columbia’s Finest deserve to have decent protection when they’re going up against people with Kalashnikovs.

As Debbie McDaniel said in telling me about the event, “The vests they have now are older, used and reaching their expiration date. After what happened last week, I think we need to make surer they all have the latest protection.” Absolutely.

See you there.

53 thoughts on “Come to Five Points tonight and help protect cops

  1. Steven Davis

    “Columbia’s Finest deserve to have decent protection when they’re going up against people with Kalashnikovs.”

    Hate to say it, but unless they’re willing to wear Class III (hard plate) or Class IV armor which looks like a bomb squad uniform, what they’re wearing is going to be useless against a rifle. Most vests worn are Class II or maybe Class III (soft) vests and are rated for defense against handguns. Had Broder been shot in the vest with the AK-47, he wouldn’t have gotten back up off the ground.

  2. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Okay, now we’re having a “bake sale” (as in the bumper sticker) to buy critical police equipment.What is wrong with this picture?!?!?

  3. Doug Ross


    What’s wrong is we’re spending too much money on non-critical items.

    Prioritize first then spend the money.

  4. Brad

    Good point, Steven. Fortunately, most crooks DON’T have AKs.

    And Kathryn, I’ve always hated that bumper sticker. It’s kind of thoughtless. I mean, think about it: Don’t we have enough of an obesity problem in this country? If people bought, and consumed, enough baked goods to finance a bomber, think how bad that would be for our health…

    Pacifists need to stop sometimes and think about the good of society…

  5. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    @ Doug– which noncritical items would you cut from the Columbia budget?

    and since when do Blythewood residents become “we” about Columbia?

  6. Doug Ross


    I thought it was my high Blythewood property taxes that went to pay to keep the criminals at bay downtown?

    As for cuts, whatever is less important than protecting cops.

  7. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Why is that an either/or? Most people cannot afford a private pool membership and Maxcy Gregg provides a healthy exercise option. Now Drew Wellness Center was an E.W. Cromartie boondoggle–I tried using it to work out, but you had to check out the handles for the weight machines and there were hardly any free weights–one of two 20 # dumbbells was missing for about a year….don’t know how we fix that problem…

    I believe Columbia needs to raise taxes as high as allowed under the stupid state cap each year. The sewers and crumbling, for one thing.

    I also believe that the county cannot justify raising taxes to pay for a Northeast Richland Ballpark, though.

  8. Phillip

    Just a tiny correction, the city would not be “funding” the Tapp building arts center; it would be a loan, an economic development loan towards that larger goal of the revitalization of Main Street north of the capitol. But be that as it may, I also am at a loss to understand why maintaining our stock of bullet-proof vests for our policeman is something we have to leave to a “pass-the-hat” scenario. It should be essential funding, especially in a gun-crazy and gun-flooded locale like this one.

  9. Doug Ross

    “I believe Columbia needs to raise taxes as high as allowed under the stupid state cap each year. The sewers and crumbling, for one thing.”

    And when people leave because of the high taxes then you just raise them more to cover the losses.

  10. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Do you really think you could get a Steve Gantt quality mayor for what we, and by that I mean those of us who live here, pay Steve Gantt?

    People live in Columbia for lots of reasons, none of which are low taxes. Raising taxes by the pittance allowed by our meddling legislature would enable the city to provide more of the things those of us who live here want and need. It would help us attract more people who aren’t just looking for a cheap place to live,but rather a great community.

    If we wanted cheap living, Edmund and Eastover are available.

  11. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    and when they drop off released prisoners in Blythewood, talk to me about it.

  12. Steven Davis

    I left Shandon/Columbia for Lexington for several reasons. Constant tax increases was near the top. The increasing “bad neighborhood” border was the primary. Moved 8 years ago and haven’t regretted it for a moment.

  13. Mark Stewart

    Oops. Phone/attention issues on that repeat…

    Kathryn, yes I do. Last time you got to choose between Steve, Steve and Kirkman. Not anyone’s typical city manager material. Large cities should have strong, competent mayors leading them – the stakes get too high to permit mediocrity to flounder.

  14. Debbie McDaniel

    Many, many thanks for helping us get the word out. Not only did we raise $1100.00 but have others mailing their donations AND two who are buying vests for individual police officers.

  15. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Columbia is a small city, not a large city. Chicago is a large city, for example, with 3.7 MM. Columbia has fewer than 130K residents, per the last census.

    –and I like it like that. Y’all go on and live in Lexington if you want all the latest chain stores and endless strip malls, plus plenty of traffic to go along with it.

  16. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – Can we Lexington residents keep the lower taxes, lower priced square footage, better schools, and lower crime too?

  17. Mark Stewart

    Lexington’s communities only exist because of Columbia; it always surprises me when people miss that connection.

    Columbia MSA has a population of more than 700,000 people. But yes, it is a sprawling beast. While it probably is painful for the City of Columbia itself, it’s pretty clear that the vast majority of the region’s growth over the coming decades will occur in the areas north of I-20.

  18. Steven Davis

    @Mark – So if that’s the reason Lexington exists, it still doesn’t explain why Lexington has lower property taxes, lower square footage prices, better schools and lower crime rates than Columbia. Maybe I’ll just chalk it up to the good people of Columbia and Richland County for holding onto those negative aspects of the Midlands. Thank you… I knew there was a reason they put the prison in Richland County… put it where the criminals are.

  19. Mark Stewart

    Stephen, there is little point debating this. I chose to live in Lexington, as did you. Many others chose to live in Richland County.

    There are wealthy neighborhoods in each and poverty stricken hell-holes in each.

    I confronted an armed car prowler last night on Nikki Haley’s old road. He didn’t commute from Richland County I am sure. Actually we were both surprised, nut not my dog who knew just what to do.

  20. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    People who live in Lexington free load on the nucleus of the MSA, which is Columbia. Columbia keeps all the problems while you get all the nice new schools and shops and stuff.

    So I choose to live in Columbia, spend a lot of volunteer time making it as good as possible, and gladly pay a lot more tax and will gladly pay still more, but please, all y’all freeloaders who don’t live hear, keep your nose out of our business…meant in the nicest possible way.

    Columbia MSA is not proportionally any larger than Chicagoland, and considerably proportionally smaller than LA or NYC or DC.

  21. Brad

    Hey, hey, hey — that’s not what Mayor Steve would say. He would say we should all see ourselves as stakeholders in Columbia. Which I do. So there…

  22. Steven Davis

    I’m sure the resident freeloaders in Columbia appreciate Kathryn’s offer to even more taxes so that the government and city will provide for them… without having to do for themselves.

  23. Brad

    On the one hand, when I hear that kind of circa-1983 Reaganism being expressed, I wonder where the speaker thinks all these “freeloaders” are.

    And then, I realize that we all have a pretty clear picture in our minds of whom the Stevens of the world THINK they are talking about. Don’t we?

  24. Doug Ross

    “And then, I realize that we all have a pretty clear picture in our minds of whom the Stevens of the world THINK they are talking about. Don’t we?”

    I sure do. People who receive more in benefits than they contribute to society. People who don’t pay attention to what their kids are doing in school or on the streets. People who have multiple children out of wedlock by multiple parents.

    There’s a very nasty word that starts with N that I think you’re pushing for. I’ll say it – ne’erdowells.

    Or were you shooting for some other “regular” term that defines a group?

  25. Steven Davis

    “And then, I realize that we all have a pretty clear picture in our minds of whom the Stevens of the world THINK they are talking about. Don’t we?”

    I noticed you didn’t make any attempt to dispute it. Politically correct will only get you so far, sometimes the truth hurts.

    BTW – Why did you put a negative spin on what I said, and said “See Doug gets it” when he agreed with what I wrote? How can two people say the same thing, one is wrong for saying it and one is fine???

  26. David

    I am confused about this Lexington place.

    Is it a place with the latest chain stores and endless strip malls, plus plenty of traffic to go along with it — which sounds rather unpleasant — or is it a place with all the nice new schools and shops and stuff — which sounds pretty nice?

  27. Doug Ross


    Because I’m a nice guy.

    I think you and I agree that many of the problems that are pervasive in Columbia because politicians will not address them for what they are. It’s a topic that Steve Benjamin and Jim Clyburn should be willing to address but can’t.

  28. Brad

    Uh, Steven, I was being sort of sarcastic with Doug. He was being sarcastic with me — pretending not to know what I meant — when obviously he did. So I just said, “Doug gets it.” Which he obviously did… See?

  29. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    @ David–Both. Depends on your perspective.

    It’s easy to have great schools when you don’t have to educate many poor kids. I’m not sure why these good Christians don’t see that.

    Only when you pay city taxes do you get a say in the form of government.Those who pay less because they live outside the city may have an interest in the form of government, but no say.

    I have disagreed with Mayor Steve since back when he was Candidate Steve, though I supported his candidacy despite it. A strong mayor form favors out-of-town rich people more than the current council/manager form.

  30. Mark Stewart

    I certainly buy into the idea that Columbia is unfairly burdened by being the city center for both the region and the state.

    Who are the free-loaders? Well really it’s a case of “I have met the enemy and he is me.” Those in the suburbs don’t contribute nearly enough to the economic engine that supports the entire region.

    Does Columbia have social problems? Absolutely. However, doesn’t research show that social problems correlate more closely with per capita income and education then they do with race? My satire’s reserved for those who under fund education and then complain about society’s problems.

  31. Steven Davis

    @Doug – Careful you just named two black politicians without naming a white politician. Brad might take that as implying it’s a race thing.

    @Katheryn – What about those of us who work in Richland County and pay taxes on meals?

    @Mark – The reason we don’t contribute to Columbia’s problem is because we’ve chosen to move from and to not support Columbia after seeing the way the city spend our money. I know I’m tired of supporting a culture where “acting white” or being an “oreo” or being an Uncle Tom is unacceptable. Failure in school and life is not looked down upon and an acceptable way of life. Illegitimacy is the norm when it comes to family life. Once church is out, once the rally is over what happens to those ideals… nothing. I could go on, but everyone knows the reality… but afraid to talk about it because it’s not politically correct.

  32. Doug Ross


    Where are we underfunding education? If you are talking about Columbia, how much more do you need to guarantee success?

  33. Doug Ross

    Done. I’ll write the check today. Even round it up to $6.00 if that will stop the apologists for failure from blaming funding as the issue.

  34. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    What does sales tax on meals eaten in Richland County have to do with a right to say what is Columbia’s form of government?

    You abdicated that right when you moved Right to Lexington. I hope you’re very happy there.

  35. Mark Stewart

    Doug, funding is an issue. Of course it’s not the only one. But it is the egg of the argument.

  36. SusanG

    @Stephen Your comments about how “everyone knows the reality” is actually showing that what you know is a simplified stereotype of reality. Reality itself is much more complicated.

    What I’d love to see is more of you Lexington County folks coming down after church is out and exercising some of those ideals you’re talking about among our poor. I agree that institutions and money won’t solve our problems — only people relating to people can do that. So come on down and show some love!

    (I’ve never actually heard anyone talk about being an “oreo” or an “Uncle Tom”, by the way, except as a joke — and I spend a lot of time with low income black kids and adults).

  37. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – You stated payment of taxes dictate a say. “Only when you pay city taxes do you get a say in the form of government.” Is there not a portion of city tax in the sales taxes I paid?

    Maybe you meant that you must own property within the city to have a say in government. I guess that’ll be a blow to all of those in subsidized housing and other renters.

  38. Steven Davis

    I’m happier in Lexington than I was in Columbia… at least we can keep things in our yard without them disappearing overnight.

  39. Steven Davis

    @SusanG – Are you assuming that everyone in Lexington County goes to church… wouldn’t that be a simplified stereotype of reality?

    From what I’ve seen, people in Columbia could use some exercising in more than one fashion.

    Maybe it’s the high income black kids and adults who use “oreo” and “Uncle Tom”.

  40. SusanG

    @Stephen — not assuming they all go to church — I was just responding to your comment about people going to church and then not living up what’s preached there.

    And if it’s the high income kids talking like that, why did you just use it as an example of a failing black culture that is causing you to have to support them?


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