As long as you’re here, would you like to check out a book? With public libraries struggling for relevance in a world in which anyone can buy a book online, the Arlington Public Library has found a new role to play in the community: dispensing Naloxone (Narcan), a nasal spray that counters opioid overdoes. Deaths from drug overdoses have topped 100,000 annually, and, apparently, Arlington County is not exempt from the scourge. Arlington official Deborah Warren tells WTOP News: “Getting NARCAN into Arlington libraries means that lifesaving resources are more readily available in the event that someone is experiencing an overdose.”
I wonder what Martin Luther King would say about that. A local Republican in Abingdon has opened a store called Mountain Patriots. According to WCYB News, the store will sell pro-Trump, pro-military, and Christian-themed merchandise — and double as the Republican Party headquarters for Washington County. Local Democrats have protested the store opening. “When you conflate religion with politics, there is never a moment that our democracy is more vulnerable than at that point,” Washington County, Virginia Democratic Committee Chair Susan Stancill said. “That’s what our Founding Fathers understood. That’s what is enshrined in the First Amendment.” Er… perhaps someone should remind Stancill that MLK was a Baptist pastor and that the Civil Rights movement in the South was one big conflation of religion and politics. The First Amendment protects people from the state, not the state from the people.
All police are still bastards. A group including activists and “citizen journalists” have filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Richmond and dozens of police officers for unlawful arrests and harassment during the George Floyd protests of 2020, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Two of the journalists broadcast information about the protests on their Twitter accounts, and two were reporters with the Virginia Commonwealth University student newspaper. They charge they were subjected to pepper spray and tear gas. “It is not a crime to observe the public behavior of police officers,” says the lawsuit. I’d like to see this one go to trial. It would be the first time we got the police officers’ side of how they handled the “mostly peaceful” protests. The RTD certainly hasn’t reported it.