Get Weapons Out of Schools – Start with the Schools Most Threatened

by James C. Sherlock

When we talk about getting weapons out of schools, most Virginians don’t have any concept of how many are found in schools every year.

Or think they are all in high schools. Or likely both.

When they do find out, eyes glaze over thinking of the cost and difficulty of fixing that problem in Virginia’s 2,100 or so public schools.

How could such a problem even be approached?

Consider the Willy Sutton rule.

The last full year pre-COVID, 2018-19, Virginia public schools reported 2,103 weapons incidents in 898 of its public schools. Yes, that is a disturbing number of weapons. I can find no indication on how many were guns and knives.

Yes, that only indicates the weapons that were found.

But “everybody” doesn’t do it at scale. There were seven or more weapons incidents in 41 schools. Continue reading

Pretrial Services Agencies: A Rejoinder

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

My colleague, James Sherlock, recently posted an article in which he concluded that the Commonwealth’s pretrial agency program is a failure. I took issue with his basic conclusions, but did not have enough details handy to make my case. I now have more information.

His conclusion was based on data shown in a report put out by the Virginia State Crime Commission in its study of the state’s pretrial program. A table summarizing the data showed that, in localities served by a pretrial services agency (PSA), 14.5% of the suspects released while awaiting trial failed to appear for their court date. Furthermore, 24% were arrested for a new crime. Because the data did not include all the new crimes that may have been committed, he extrapolated the data and proposed that 45% of the offenders released were pre-trial recidivists or failures to appear (FTA). (One error was his failure to account for some double counting. Some of those 24% who were arrested for a new crime may also have been in the FTA pool. But that is not important for this discussion.) Based on this conclusion, he went on to declare that the risk assessment tool used by pretrial services officers to make their recommendations is a failure. Continue reading

Bacon Meme of the Week

Talking Crime

by Jon Baliles

Candace Burns of CBS6 sat down with Mayor Stoney this week to talk crime, gun violence, and alleged plots. It was an interesting discussion, and while a lot of it is political fluff and rhetoric, Stoney does deserve some credit for some straight talk.

What we recognize is that 26% of the violent crimes that are happening in the City of Richmond are occurring in 2% of the 60 square miles of the City of Richmond [Richmond is actually 62.5 square miles, FYI]. We’re directing our resources and we are putting community policing and data overlaying on top of it and then overlaying that with our prevention and intervention framework as well.

Because the police are so far below budgeted (and needed) staffing, resources have to be deployed more strategically. But shifting resources around haphazardly will not make the City safer until we can recruit more officers and increase training and restore trust with the community. He said police are focused on high-crime areas and youth prevention, but when asked about the framework how the City is addressing gun violence, he offered the usual talking points like “we had a task force,” “worked with non-profits,” and “focused on a human services.” Continue reading

Rent-A-Cops in the Schools Now?

Photo credit: Mother Jones

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The Halifax County School Board is planning to hire a private firm to provide security at all county schools, in addition to school resource officers (SRO).

That is the world brought to us by a gun-crazy society with its no-compromise embrace of the Second Amendment, aided by a compliant Supreme Court.

As reported by the News and Record (South Boston), the proposal calls for four school security officers (SSO) to patrol the high school, along with the school resource officers (SROs) from the sheriff and town police departments, as well as the stationing of a guard at each elementary school for the first time. Continue reading

The Burning Deck

by James A. Bacon

Occasionally, I get profoundly depressed about the state of our country. After surveying today’s news clips, today is one of those days.

The latest furor over the raid on Mar-A-Lago crystallizes the depraved state to which our national politics has evolved. Do we believe the version of events propagated by the people who brought us the Election-Was-Stolen narrative, or by the people who peddled the Russia Collusion delusion? Do we side with the ignorant populist demagogue and his riot-prone supporters, or with the polished, Gucci-adorned elitists who use the power of the media and organs of the state to relentlessly hound and punish their enemies?

There seems to be no escape. The pathologies of national politics are percolating into Virginia. Governor Glenn Youngkin now stands in the crosshairs. Democrats, the media, and a vast array of advocacy groups have gone into full-bore attack mode.

Today, The Washington Post  published a story about a Delaware lawsuit, filed by a Pittsburgh pension fund, alleging that Youngkin received $8.5 million in a deal that shielded him from paying taxes. It follows the now-standard formula of accusation, denial from a Youngkin spokesperson, and hyperbolic rhetoric from Democrats and/or advocacy groups. Continue reading

Turbocharged: Fairfax Car Tax Burden

A 2020 Rav4.

by Bill Tracy

Fairfax County just mailed out its 2022 Car Tax bills, and the tax increase is substantial.

The Board of Supervisors granted us a 15% discount off of the inflated 2022 Blue Book vehicle values. That’s nice, but it looks like the Board failed to mention that the car tax was increasing for a second reason: the “subsidy” was reduced for the first $20k value of the car.

Here are some car tax facts for my personal vehicle.

Base Case last year (2021):
Bill’s 2020 RAV4 Value 2021: $ 23,725
    Tax Before Relief: $1,084
    Tax Relief/Subsidy (under $20k Value): $525
    Net Car Tax Owed 2021: $558  Continue reading

Parental Rights Trump Kids’ Rights to Privacy

by Kerry Dougherty

In their relentless quest to slam Governor Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s rabid lefties are now apoplectic because he believes parents ought to be notified if their troubled son is dressing as a girl at school and changing his name and pronouns.

How dare Youngkin say parents are entitled to know such things about their kids!

Boys have a right to visit their transition locker when they get to school to pick out a cute frock and matching pumps for the day. They can then use the girls’ room, demand to be called Susie, insist on she/her pronouns, and re-emerge as a boy before heading home.

What business is this nutty behavior to the people who are legally responsible for him and love him, the left asks. Continue reading

Governor Youngkin Can Restore Parental Rights in the Treatment of Transgender Children in Schools with the Stroke of a Pen

by James C. Sherlock

Gov. Youngkin criticized after calling on teachers with LGBTQ students to tell parents” is a headline in The Virginian-Pilot.

Apparently, “Gov. Youngkin calls on teachers with LGBTQ students to tell parents” did not make the cut.

Narrative shaping 101.

Now consider these statements of government opinion:

  • “If she has to tell her parents, they might beat or disown her.”
  • “If his parents find out, he might kill himself.”

These are judgments that not only can be made by public school personnel under current Virginia policy, but are actually encouraged by that policy.

Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools (Model Policies) was written pursuant to the 2020 law § 22.1-23.3. Treatment of transgender students; policies. That law was written for action by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who works for the governor. Read it.

Nothing in that law required the DOE to go nearly as far as it did in Model Policies. But it was drafted by a panel dominated by progressive activists who shared their pronouns.

You will note there is not a single word in that law about parents.

All the Governor needs to do is tell his superintendent to revoke that destructive policy document and re-rewrite it requiring parental involvement. (And new rules for bathrooms. You are welcome, Hanover County School Board.)

Elections matter. Continue reading

The Circle of Government Fecklessness and Homelessness – Newport News Edition

Newport News City Manager Cynthia Rohlf

by James C. Sherlock

Newport News ought to work.

It starts with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS). I’ll let them describe it.

Newport News Shipbuilding is the sole designer, builder and refueler of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and one of two providers of U.S. Navy submarines.

With approximately $4 billion in revenues and more than 25,000 employees, we are the largest industrial employer in Virginia and the largest shipbuilding company in the United States.

We build the most advanced ships in the world using our expertise in nuclear propulsion, naval design and manufacturing.

Many of the 187,000 citizens of Newport News either have a family member who works at NNS, one of its 2,000 active suppliers (half of which are small businesses) or one of the businesses who provide services to those employees. The population of Newport News is a full five years younger (median age 32.9) than that of the rest of Virginia (37.8).

So, as I said, Newport News as a city ought to work, if for no other reason than that it is anchored by 550 acres of the most spectacularly accomplished industrial plant and white- and blue-collar workers in the world.

But in key government services it does not work. Continue reading

Race As a Political Construct

by James A. Bacon

Race is a social construct, as the Wokesters endlessly remind us. It’s one of the few observations from the left that I mostly agree with… or, at least, I did agree with until reading, Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America, by George Mason University law school professor David E. Bernstein.

Now I’m more inclined to say that in the United States race is a political construct.

According to the U.S. Census, here’s the breakdown of Virginia’s 2020 population by race:

  • White (non-Hispanic): 60.3%
  • Black (non-Hispanic): 18.6%
  • Asian: 7.1%
  • Two or more races: 8.2%
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.5%
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.1%
  • Some other race alone: 5.2%
  • Hispanic/Latino origin: 10.5%. (When categorized by race, Hispanic individuals generally are designated either White or Black.)

What does it mean to be “White”? What does it mean to be Black or African American? Or Asian? Or Hispanic? Who defines these racial/ethnic classifications anyway, and who decides how to classify individuals when disagreements arise?

Unelected federal bureaucrats and unelected judges make the decisions based upon a combination of evolving ideology, case law, and political pressure from racial/ethnic advocacy groups. The resulting classification system influences the allocation of billions of government dollars, and in so doing reinforces racial/ethnic constructs of how Americans think of themselves. Continue reading

A Pedophile By Any Other Name

by Kerry Dougherty

Remember Allyn Walker, the ODU assistant professor who was indignant last fall because pedophiles get such a bad rap?

We wrote several posts about Walker, who prefers we use the much more pleasant euphemism “minor-attracted person” to describe perverts who are sexually attracted to children.

If you thought Walker was alone in this sort of twisted thinking, you were wrong.

Get a load of Miranda Galbreath, a licensed professional counselor who works with prisoners for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Continue reading

Higher Ed to General Assembly: More, More, More

Rendering of new Va. Tech. Data and Digital Sciences Building, (authorized 2020) Photo credit: Va Tech

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The 2022-2024 biennial state budget that became effective on July 1 included more than $1 billion in general fund appropriation for capital projects for institutions of higher education. This was in addition to at least $1 billion in general fund-supported appropriations in the previous biennial budget.

One would think that more than $2 billion in the last two biennial budgets would be enough to satisfy the capital needs of higher ed, at least for a while. But, as my colleagues in the Department of Planning and Budget were prone to say, “There is no satisfying higher ed.”

The ink was hardly dry on the governor’s signature on the new budget bill when higher ed institutions submitted capital budget requests totaling $3.2 billion for the amended budget to be submitted to the 2023 General Assembly, of which $2.6 billion would come from the general fund or be supported by general fund-backed bonds. Continue reading

Richmond Times Dispatch’s Flexible “Community Guidelines”

by James C. Sherlock

The Richmond Times- Dispatch motto is “Where Your Story Lives.”

They fail to define “your.”

I posted a comment this morning on a story in the RTD titled “Hanover County School Board introduces transgender policy; discussion is limited.”

The headline is unconsciously ironic, but I did not comment on that. Picking on headline writers is weak.

I noted that the author, in an extensive article, failed to mention as context for the public discussion upon which she reported the fact that parents and the Board had in mind the two rapes in Loudoun County Public Schools last summer/fall by a young man wearing a skirt to get into the girls bathroom.

I did not comment on the wisdom of the draft resolution that was considered by the Board of Education. I thought it ridiculous. Something simpler, perhaps, like “unless you have to sit or squat to pee, stay out of the girls room.” Or whatever.  But I left that alone.

Mine was, I thought, a respectable input. I just received a note rejecting my comment.

This is the entire note: Continue reading

Time to Throw the Spotlight on Virginia’s Education Schools

Dean Ingrid Guerra-López

by James A. Bacon

My Bacon’s Rebellion colleague Jim Sherlock has brought much-needed attention to the link between the Wokeness revolution in Virginia’s education schools and the collapse of learning at the state’s public schools. Virginia’s education schools increasingly see their role as less about teaching teachers to teach and more about bringing about the transformation of society.

A case in point: the appointment of Ingrid Guerra-López as dean of George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), which includes the school of education.

Once upon a time, Guerra-López’s appointment would have evoked no interest outside GMU and the narrow world of education schools. Now we find it necessary to divine her intentions from vague pronouncements made in press releases and other documents, such as this Q&A published on the GMU website. In one utterance she said:

If we are not working together toward clear and measurable societal impact, then we need to ask ourselves whether that work should be done at all. Continue reading