Did shoestring annexation bring down the Confederate flag?

Y'all, I'm sorry I was unable to find a map that shows how crazy the jurisdiction lines are in this area. Anyone know where I can find something like that online?

Y’all, I’m sorry I was unable to find a map that shows how crazy the jurisdiction lines are in this area. Anyone know where I can find something like that online?

Or, far more horrifically and directly, did Columbia’s shoestring annexation lead to the murders of the Emanuel 9?

This is Kathryn Fenner’s assertion, which she sketched out in an email:

Roof was arrested at Columbiana, by Columbia Police, in Columbia, but in Lexington County. When he went to buy a gun at Shooter’s Choice, the background check was done by calling Lexington County, who sent the checker to the police–the checker called the West Columbia Police, who had no record, instead of Columbia–because unless you are a wonk like me, you might not realize that Columbiana is in the city limits–shoestring annexation, just like Woodcreek Farms where the Mayor lives.
If Roof had not been able to buy the gun….

You’ve read about all the confusion over the jurisdiction in which Dylann Roof was charged. And you’ve probably been confused yourself passing in and out of jurisdictions in the Columbiana/Harbison area.

At least some of this confusion was caused by the shoestring annexation of Columbiana in 1989, as a way of grabbing those expected tax revenues.

Hence the connection that Kathryn has drawn.

47 thoughts on “Did shoestring annexation bring down the Confederate flag?

  1. Doug Ross

    “If Roof had not been able to buy the gun….”

    He would have found another way.. maybe a bomb, maybe a rifle borrowed from someone else. Access to a gun didn’t create the mindset that drove him to murder. It was just the means to an end.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Maybe, but he showed no sign of wanting to die himself, and bombs are dangerous, and require at least minimal skill. His friends might not have lent him a rifle, and a rifle would be hard to conceal for an hour.

      But suppose there were some intervention when someone who isn’t legally eligible to buy a gun tries to, and he had been flagged….

      1. Doug Ross

        What would flagging him have done to change his view of black people? An angry kid would probably get even angrier. There are any number of relatively simple devices that could be used to commit a mass murder. The Boston Marathon bombers were able to complete their goal without any harm to themselves. If there had only been a national database for pressure cookers…

        What about the prescription drugs he was on (just like many of the other recent killers)? Maybe that’s the link we should be looking at. Too many kids are medicated with drugs that alter their brain chemistry.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Who knows? We do know he was somewhat reluctant to go ahead, based on what he said when he was apprehended. Suicides, for example, can often be prevented with very little effort. Most people, it seems, lose their resolve.

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  Oh yeah. You’re right. I forgot about that. I guess we can be glad that he didn’t bring more ammo, then.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    No. There were multiple breakdowns of government. First, the local clerk entered the information wrong. Then the FBI didn’t run down the information, which could have been easily solved with a few phone calls and some…detective work. (It’s the FBI, for Pete’s sake.)

    Second, Roof didn’t go back to get the handgun until FIVE days later, which almost effectively doubled the amount of time the FBI had to figure things out.

    Third, once they did figure things out, they should have sent the ATF to go obtain the gun. That’s why you fill out the ATF Form 4473 when you go to an FFL.

    The form gives all of your information so the ATF can go get the gun back if the NICS give you an ultimate red light. Either (1) NICS operators failed to follow up and figure out if Roof was prohibited or not (he was); (2) the FBI just didn’t communicate that information to the ATF; or (3) the ATF didn’t do anything about information that was communicated.

    Given the FBI press conference where the FBI Director took all the blame, I would have to taken an educated guess and say the FBI didn’t figure out the first part in the five days, didn’t follow-up afterwards, so they never said anything to the ATF. 67 days after submitting his information to the FBI NICS, Roof carried out his attack.

    If the local jurisdictional issues between Lexington, and Columbia are too much for the FBI to handle, what the hell is going on at the FBI?

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      My supposition was based on the original reports, which did not reveal the extent of the snafus. I am reminded of the pre 9/11 screwups….

  3. Bryan Caskey

    If one were so inclined, one could use this breakdown of the background check system to undermine the argument that we need to make more transactions subject to the background check system.

    If…one was so inclined.

    1. Doug Ross

      But then one would have to be inclined to believe that the government is inefficient and frequently incapable of doing a job well because there’s no competition or accountability. Should we really expect these bureaucrats to be more efficient and more motivated than the local DMV?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Hmmm… over the last decade or so, I’ve mostly heard good reports about the function of the DMV. Reforms were implemented under Hodges and Sanford, and people were generally pleased…

      2. Kathryn Fenner

        No, one would not.
        One believes the DMV has been excellent in at least the last ten years, if not before. One recalls one’s first experience with the DMV in 1975, and most definitely a good experience.

        1. Doug Ross

          My anecdotes are not consistent with your anecdotes. Head out to the DMV main building in Blythewood sometime. The concept of customer service is foreign to them. How many other businesses still use a numbered ticket system to queue people up? What is this, the deli counter at Publix?

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            I go to the main one on Shop Road. Excellent service, plus proximity to Doc’s Barbecue….

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              What is the problem with a numbered ticket system? If they spent money on whatever fancy-schmancy system you like that I’ve never even heard of, you’d ding them for spending your precious tax dollars on it!

      3. Norm Ivey

        The DMV and the USPS are two entities that do not deserve their bad reputation. Both do a great job dealing with the sheer volume of their clientele. The ticketed number system allows you to sit down while you wait for service–especially important for the elderly and those with children.

        1. Doug Ross

          Norm – I worked as a contractor for the Post Office for ten years. The work environment and productivity is abysmal and lives up to its reputation. I’ve been to 75 different USPS district offices across the country and spent a half year in the mail processing plant on I77. I have not seen a worse work culture in any other customer in 25 years of consulting. Most of the upper management is deadwood waiting to retire. On the line, the union workers hate management and spend a good part of their time trying to avoid work.

          1. Mark Stewart

            The USPS is the worst of both worlds. Only the old railroads were worse. And they are all gone.

            Nothing is as poorly managed as the USPS. And the union loafers don’t help matters at all.

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              Yes, union loafers always pinch the back of my ankles and don’t have enough arch support

        2. Kathryn Fenner

          Well, as one who has had several USPS packages not delivered to her clearly-marked house, at which she receives packages frequently, and finding very little recourse or assistance after spending a lot of time and effort, I will agree with Doug. The tracking information is either fictitious or frightening. I recently had one package go from Atlanta to Oregon before finally making it to me. Others are “out for delivery” but never make it to my house from West Columbia….

        3. Norm Ivey

          I can only judge by my experience. I’ve been buying and selling on ebay since 1998. I have received thousands and shipped tens of thousands of parcels via USPS. Experience tells me that when a package doesn’t arrive in a timely manner, it’s most often the sender’s fault–an error in the address or ZIP code. Things do occasionally go astray, but always get to where they are destined in a few extra days. I’ve encountered a few grumpy clerks, but choose to judge them as individuals on a hard luck streak rather than criticize the organization.

          1. Doug Ross

            In the new neighborhood I recently moved to, the mailboxes are grouped together into 2’s and 3’s on one side of the street. I assume this is to save time for the mail carrier. Another new neighborhood we drive into last weekend doesn’t have any individual mailboxes, just a single set of boxes near the entrance (much like you’d see in an apartment complex). I suppose that is more efficient for the delivery guy but not so convenient for the homeowners who will have to park at the entrance to get their mail.

            This is going back 12 years or so, but at that time there were approximately 40,000+ postal units in the U.S. More than 1/4 of them did not bring in enough revenue to cover the salary of the Postmaster, nevermind all the other costs.

            The post office system will go the way of newspapers in the next decade with the proliferation of online billpay, digital media, reduced direct mail advertising. Unfortunately, the Post Office cannot run like a real business and adapt. It’s even worse than the newspaper industry. They lost the overnight business to Fedex and UPS. They are the K-Mart of delivery mechanisms. Spent MILLIONS on marketing a service company that is hamstrung by government control and poor management. If I were running it, I would get them out of every line of business unrelated to delivering non-timesensitve envelopes and packages. The Constitution established the requirement for the post office. It didn’t say they have to ship products overnight, sell money orders, sell packaging supplies, etc.

          2. Kathryn Fenner

            I suspect, given the number of misdeliveries we get for 700 Onestreetover, 1700 Our Street, and 708 Our Street, that since 700 Onestreetover is a student apartment building, my packages go walkabout. Now, since there’s a bar code on my mailbox, there’s no excuse for it, but…
            I think we get the dregs of the carriers because of the extreme hills in our neighborhood. I miss our old carrier, who retired.

          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            I’ve never had Kathryn’s problem with the postal service. I mean, maybe a handful of times in my life I received a piece of mail meant for someone else, but it’s never been a regular occurrence.

            As I’ve said before, I stand in awe of an organization that will send someone to my house, no matter where I live, and within a couple of days hand-deliver it ANYWHERE else in the country, for only 49 cents. Such a public service astounds me.

            Of course, if I want to be a cynic and complain, I can definitely come up with personal anecdotes to support that.

            Here’s one that Doug will love, and imbue with all sorts of universal meaning…

            When I was a copy clerk at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis back in 1974, one of my duties was to make a trip to the local postal service distribution center, bring back the newspaper’s mail in a sack, and then distribute it all into the appropriate pigeonholes on one wall of the “morgue” off from the newsroom.

            The distribution center was in what was then a distressed part of the downtown area (it’s fairly fixed up and touristy now). I would drive south on 3rd Street from Union, right there at the then-closed Peabody Hotel, passing by the prostitutes calling out to me, “Honey, you want a DATE?”

            At the distribution center, I’d pull up to a loading dock and go in, where there was this huge room where I could see all the mail being sorted. I’d go up to a counter and ask for the mail for the paper.

            Then, I would watch one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen in my life. A young man who appeared to be in good health would start away from me across this room, walking so slowly that he seemed to take several seconds for each step. I’m pretty sure that I would never have the patience to walk anywhere that slowly, even to my own execution. I think my muscles would ache with the tension of forcing them to move so slowly. Step… Step… Step…

            Eventually, he would make it to the other side of the room, then turn, and walk just as slowly along the opposite wall. Eventually, he would turn out of my sight.

            He would re-emerge several minutes later, with the sack of mail, and walk just as slowly back. A 100-year-old man with a walker could have beaten him back.

            I’m guessing this process took 10 or 15 minutes, but it seemed longer (especially in an era when you couldn’t entertain yourself with a smartphone). Part of the reason it seemed longer was the apparent hostility that this guy felt toward me, or the newspaper, or something. He never said anything to me — just handed me the sack and turned away…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I used to wonder: Had I said something wrong? Did he misread some facial expression of mine, and deeply resent it? I also wondered whether there was some sort of racial tension going on (never an outlandish assumption in Memphis) since he was black and I was white.

              But while I had those thoughts, I concluded that it wasn’t me, and probably not the paper. This guy just had an attitude toward the world…

            2. Doug Ross

              I’d hardly call ten years of direct daily work experience at postal facilities around the country “anecdotal”. I was brought in originally on a three month project to complete the work that a team of unionized Postal programmers could not complete. After making them look foolish in their laziness and incompetence, they tried all they could to sabotage me. They failed. I lasted ten years while they sat around in Minneapolis waiting for their next contractual smoke break. I had one guy in upper management who responded to an analysis related to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of revenue with a message telling me not to bother him.

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      and indeed, as one did not use the contrary-to-fact conditional form, one was correct

        1. Bryan Caskey

          My favorite line from him is: “A girl cannot tell a man when exactly he must do a thing. A man cannot make a thing happen before it is time.

          I keep telling my wife that, but it doesn’t work. It may only work if you’re a faceless assassin.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Congress has effectively created a Rube Goldberg complexity, the last thing from a system, to monitor/validate gun sales.

    Let’s not blame the police, sheriff, etc before we look at the real culprit – ourselves.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      On that issue, my reading of the Federal law that defines “prohibited person” is that Roof was a prohibited person simply because he admitted to being in possession of a controlled substance and was therefore was “an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance”. (See, 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(3)). His admission is the necessary element that makes him a “prohibited person” under Federal law.

      Accordingly, I think if Roof had simply disputed the charges with a simple “those aren’t my drugs,” then he would have not been classified as a prohibited person by Federal law, even if the background check examiner had all the correct information.

      Just food for thought. Remember, we’re talking about a Federal law that takes away your 2nd Amendment rights before a trial, so you kind of have to be careful of how expansive you make the law.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I agree we must pause before taking away ANY right without due process. But I’ll confess that if there’s a right that would concern me less than others, it would be that one. Since the consequences of FAILING to take the gun from certain people can be so dire.

        But hey, we all have our favorite amendments. Mine is the First.

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            Yes, we know you aren’t in favor of birth control, unlike 95%+ of your co-religionists….

            1. Doug Ross

              Please, Brad, start a topic on the Planned Parenthood “selling baby organs” story. That there may be a pricelist for organs and a methodology for crushing fetuses during abortions to preserve said organs is horrific.

Comments are closed.