Bacon Bits: Social Breakdown Update

Every so often you might read some uplifting story in the news — a woman is rescued from a burning car, a charity raises money to buy Christmas toys for homeless tots — that makes you feel better about the world. Don’t be gulled. We live in the wealthiest society with the highest level of education and the most advanced technology the world has ever seen. Yet things are getting worse! Signs of the times pulled from today’s headlines:

Virginia sees highest number of babies born with syphilis in several decades. Reports WAVY-TV: The number of syphilis cases in Virginia has rebounded to the highest level in years.  The rate among women has surged 159% between 2013 and 2021, which drives up the rate of syphilis in newborns.  The Virginia Department of Health reported 20 cases of congenital syphilis last year, the highest number in three decades. Up to 40% are born stillborn or die from the infection. Survivors can have deformed bones, an enlarged liver, blindness or deafness.

Meanwhile, the death rate of American kids is skyrocketing. Deaths of American kids spiked 205% between 2019 and 2020, the result of increased car wrecks, shootings and drug overdoses, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. According to Virginia Commonwealth University researcher Steven Woolf , even poisonings are up. Woolf said he has not seen an increase like this in his career. “This is a red flashing light. We need to understand the causes and address them immediately to protect our children.” Motor vehicle fatalities remain the highest cause of childhood death, but homicides and suicides are catching up.

Then there’s the crime wave. The incidence of violent crime appears to have leveled off after a two-year surge… but it’s not getting any better. Thus, we read in the news today that ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection system, is scheduled to go online in downtown Richmond today. Virginia Commonwealth University is shelling out $145,000 over three years for the acoustic technology that will cover VCU’s medical campus, Capitol Square, and the state-owned office buildings that surround it. “If a gunshot is fired in close proximity to VCU, I want to be made aware of that as soon as possible,” VCU police chief John Venuti told Axios.

But locating gunshots won’t help if there aren’t enough police to respond. The City of Richmond police force remains understaffed. It’s not just a problem with the rank and file. Even senior officers are leaving. Four months after the resignation of Police Chief Gerald Smith, the interim police chief has accepted the resignations of Chief of Staff Spencer Cochran and Deputy Chief John Hayes. A headhunter search for a new police chief is underway. Said Dana Schrad with the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police: “We don’t see that many people applying for police chief jobs.”

What we are doing collectively as a society is not working. If you, like me, believe America is ruled by a ruling class that is simultaneously the most incompetent and most arrogant in the nation’s history, these headlines do not come as a surprise.