What happened on Winetta Street
Forty-five minutes before the start of EMS Appreciation Week, emergency medical technicians were sent to a terrifying scene. It started as a child’s birthday party.
They rolled up on the scene, chaotic and bloody. This is where training trumps terror. They gathered the dead, bound up the wounded, soothed the situation as best they could.
Law enforcement came. Nobody saw nothing. Nobody told nothing. Away from the scene, the first contact with the chaos was in the basement of emergency management. By some stroke of divine intervention, they had five dispatchers on that night. Calls bombarded them, some from out-of-state cellphones. “Please come.” “People are being shot.” Children are going to be killed.” “Please.”
One man was being beaten by two men. Two women grabbed guns and fired into the air to break up the melee. One shooter stood over a victim and pumped four shots into his body.
One shooter sprayed the scene with an automatic weapon. There were 100 rounds fired - at everyone who was there. Two men lost their lives, a young man from Gray Court and a middle age man from Waterloo, whose last name rings true with anyone who’s followed Clinton High School football for a time.
Police found out who a shooter was. They went to a house in Fountain Inn. They heard a shot, but it wasn’t fired at them. A man inside the house was dead.
Police found out who one of the men involved in the beating was. They went to a house in Laurens. He wasn’t there, but they arrested six other men sitting around with guns and drugs. Anywhere from 5 to 11 people have been arrested with some sort of connection to the Winetta Street massacre - no one yet has been charged with murder.
The investigation continues. Freedom Fighters posted an “information wanted” appeal. EMTs are getting their emotions back under control. On Tuesday, the deputy coroner needed someone to talk to.
“I can’t eat,” she said.
A county councilman asked for prayers for his community.
And, so it is, we are back at our lives. Two days after Winetta Street, we learn that 22 people are killed in a bomb blast at a Manchester, England, concert. The scores who are injured were tended by highly trained emergency medical technicians, just like those who went onto the devil’s den of Winetta Street that night this month.
When terror strikes, we have that thin blue line between “us” and “them” - “them” animals who have lost control of their sense for a tragic moment. It is a line we must value and cherish, the last best measure of our humanity. Otherwise, chaos reigns supreme, and it cares not your color or station in life.
This was Winetta Street 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Laurens, South Carolina. It started as a child’s birthday party.
(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. Contact him at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)