Category Archives: Uncategorized

About Those 30 Police Shootings in Virginia Last Year…

Donovon Lynch, the shooting victim you heard of. Photo credit: Pharrell Williams/Instagram

by James A. Bacon

Police shootings generate an inordinate amount of attention in the media, but the number of incidents is remarkably rare. Of the millions of interactions in 2021 between police and citizens here in Virginia, including 187,000 arrests, there were 30 police shootings resulting in injury or death, according to the Crime in Virginia 2021 report/. Of those incidents, 19 resulted in fatalities, and 12 in injuries. (One incident resulted in two injuries.)

One shooting for every 6,300 arrests. That’s not the impression you’d get from watching Hollywood-produced television and movies… or paying attention to the media, for that matter.

Richard F. Thomas, the unarmed shooting victim you never heard of.

If you found that figure surprising, brace yourself for the real shocker — the racial identity of the shooting victims.

A Skeptic Research Center poll asked the question, “how many unarmed Black men were killed by police in 2019?” Twenty percent of respondents identifying as “very liberal” guessed the number to be about 10,000 or more. Even small percentages of self-identified conservatives gave the same response.

As the Skeptic Research Center noted, the media-fed popular impression was wildly off. Nationally, only 13 unarmed Black men were fatally shot by police in 2019. Last year, here in Virginia, that widespread perception is even more divorced from reality. Here follows a list of Virginia shooting victims in 2021 culled from The Washington Post police fatal shooting database: Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant.

Richmond Cops Say a Mass Shooting Was Foiled By a Concerned Citizen

by Kerry Dougherty

In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, it’s clear that the massacre might have been avoided if the suspect’s parents had done their part to keep weapons out of the hands of their clearly deranged son.

The suspect, Robert Crimo III, has reportedly confessed to the atrocities that left seven dead and dozens injured at an Independence Day parade. One toddler was orphaned by the shootings..

In an interview in Thursday’s New York Post Crimo’s father said he felt no guilt even though he sponsored his son to buy a firearm three months after he was declared a “clear and present danger” by local police for threats to kill his entire family.

“They make me like I groomed him to do all this,” Crimo’s father said of critics. “I’ve been here my whole life, and I’m gonna stay here, hold my head up high, because I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Oh, please.

Contrast that with what happened in Richmond where police say a concerned citizen overheard a conversation about a planned mass shooting for the 4th of July at the Dogwood Dell celebration and notified the police. Continue reading

What About That Price of Gas?!!

Gas station on Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, 7/7/2022

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There was much wailing — on this blog, in Virginia, and in the nation — as gas prices approached and then exceeded $5 per gallon recently. Governor Youngkin and President Biden used those price levels to call for suspension of gas taxes.

And what was the reaction of the general populace to those high prices, except complaining? Did folks decide to drive less? Nope. AAA projected that road travel this summer would approach the levels of 2019, when gas was much cheaper. Are they driving slower? After all, gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds over 50 mph. Anyone who tries to travel on I-95 between Richmond and Northern Virginia driving about 65 mph, as I did a couple of weeks ago, knows the answer to that question.

But wait! As shown in the photo above, gas can be readily found in the Richmond area for $4.39, or less, per gallon. That’s 60 cents per gallon less than it was the last time I filled the tank on my car. That includes the inflation-adjusted increase in the gas tax that Steve Haner recently warned us about. That price decrease and price level are better than they would have been under Governor Youngkin’s proposal at the time he put it forward.

Funny, but I haven’t seen anything on these pages about this decrease. Of course, it is more fun to complain about price increases than celebrate their decreases.

Those Progressive Prosecutors: The Sky Hasn’t Fallen

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There has been much concern expressed on this blog that the policies of newly elected “progressive” prosecutors in the Commonwealth would lead to increases in crime in those jurisdictions and, perhaps, a dissolution of society. See here, here, here, and here.

Based on data in the recently released Crime in Virginia 2021, these folks can rest easy, at least for now.

I have compared the data for several major crime areas for 2019, the last year before the progressives took office, and 2021, their second year in office in three jurisdictions:  Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties. These three Commonwealth’s attorneys seem to be the ones that have drawn the most ire on this blog.

The results are mixed: increases in some offenses reported and decreases in others. Overall, there does not seem to be a great deal of difference between the number of reported crimes in 2021 and in 2019 under the predecessors to the progressives. If anything, the situation might be a little brighter.

Following is a summary. The details can be found here. Continue reading

Toxic Brew

by Chris Saxman

Okay. Buckle up. I am sharing with you several graphics that should lead, hopefully, to some serious discussions about the toxic blend of violence in movies, marijuana, smart phones and social media use in our youth — especially young men. First this article from the WSJ on how the use of widely available pornography can impact the development of teenage brains. Maybe rewire neural pathways? Yikes.

Look at the time lines of these (smart phone use, violence in movies, marijuana use – focus on the year 2010) and now add in the intensity/addiction of social media use.

Continue reading

Virginia Headline in the Associated Press

by James C. Sherlock

The Associated Press published an article by the always-reliable Sarah Rankin yesterday. It was headlined:

Virginia law stops early inmate releases, angering families

Let’s conduct a contest.

Take a minute and guess to whose families the headline refers, victims or convicted criminals.

Time’s up. It seems we have a unanimous set of winners.

Happy 4th, Everyone!

4th of July fireworks over Fort McHenry.

And the rockets’ red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there

I’ll be taking a day off from the culture wars to remember — and appreciate — what all Americans have in common.

Have a great 4th. Drink real American beer and eat real hamburgers, not that frou-frou pale ale and mealy, environmentalist-approved fake “meat”… whoops, slipped again! Enjoy the holiday any way you please!

— JAB

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

The Stakes are High in Reform of Higher Education

by James C. Sherlock

I exposed in detail yesterday the ironclad control of the University of Virginia by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy at that school.

Maoist-like insistence on radical progressive ideological purity is overseen there by the Red Guards of DEI in every school in the university. To claim otherwise is to insult them and their publicly expressed cause.

The Washington Post yesterday ran a relatively balanced article on Florida’s plans to remake its state institutions of higher education to restore academic freedom and viewpoint diversity. It is The Washington Post — it led with the positions of the left — but got around to the positions of conservatives more quickly than usual.

DeSantis has said he wants to prevent the state’s colleges and universities … from developing “intellectually repressive environments.”

For a fully developed intellectually repressive environment he should see the University of Virginia.

In Florida and nationally, the screams and rending of garments from the left have been as predictable as the sunrise. Continue reading

A New Classic on Thomas Jefferson and Public Education in Virginia

Courtesy University of Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

On April 29, 1962, President John F. Kennedy addressed a group of Nobel Prize winners at a dinner in their honor at The White House.

Kennedy, raised patrician, classically educated and fired in war and politics graciously toasted another such man.

I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House — with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.

The polymath Jefferson saved the indulgence of a great passion, public education, and the creation of a new style of American university, until his last years.

Influenced early by the writings on education of Sir Francis Bacon and John Locke, he completely re-imagined higher education in America from what consisted in 1800 largely of a few colleges teaching religion and the classics under church leadership and funding.

Jefferson’s idea of the university was an institution publicly funded and teaching republican ideals for the preservation of the form of government he and the other founders had labored so hard and risked so much to bring about.

His idea emphasized education in history, languages, the principles of the Enlightenment and the sciences, with graduate schools in law and medicine. Of these disciplines, he thought history to be the most critical of all to the preservation of freedom.

He banned the teaching of religion in his university. The powerful evangelical Christian churches in Virginia were not amused. They and the Federalists fought him endlessly and nearly won.

Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy has written a vivid and lively account of those contests and Jefferson’s indomitable skill and endurance in facing and overcoming opposition to his vision. Continue reading

Beach Politicians Want Personal Assistants

by Kerry Dougherty

Keep an eye on Virginia Beach City Council. They have a habit of shoving aside controversial matters only to bring them back when they think no one’s looking.

This week, the conscience of the council, John Moss, embarrassed his colleagues by shaming them for wanting “personal assistants.”

They put off the vote on a plan to hire personal help until some vague point in the future. You know, when the public’s attention is elsewhere.

These self-important little potentates — who refused to reduce the real estate tax rate to help struggling residents this spring — now want to use tax dollars to hire personal aides to lighten their work loads.

Seriously? Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

What China Tells Us About U.S. Educational Achievement Gaps

by James A. Bacon

Shaomin Li, a business school professor at Old Dominion University, specializes in studying China’s economy. His book, just published by the Cambridge University Press, “The Rise of China, Inc.,” is well worth reading for its description of how the Chinese political/economic system works. Li, whose job early in life was painting portraits of Chairman Mao, is an advocate of human rights and a determined foe of the Communist regime, but also a steely-eyed realist.

Among China’s greatest assets, Li argues, are traditional values that the Communist regime has been unable to extinguish. An under-appreciated factor contributing to its rise to economic superpower status has been the country’s spectacular gain in labor productivity, which he attributes in large measure to the high value the Chinese place upon educational achievement. In his international business classes, he tells students what they’re up against in a globally competitive economy by comparing two schools — Maury High School in Norfolk and Maotanchang Middle School in Anhui Province.

Li describes Norfolk as an “old, mid-sized city (population 244,000) in Southern Virginia with a lower income level and higher concentration of minorities than its neighbors.” Maury is the best high school in Norfolk and one of the best in the United States, ranking 3,139 out of 24,000 nationally, he writes. The school has good infrastructure, including an indoor swimming pool, a fine library, and an up-to-date computer lab. The teachers, he says, are dedicated. Many have advanced degrees from esteemed universities such as Duke and the University of Virginia. But the school’s academic performance is nothing to brag about. Continue reading

Let’s Get Out of Here

Petersburg Federal Correctional Institution

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that four prisoners escaped from the federal prison complex near Petersburg early Saturday morning.  No details were released on how they escaped.

Undoubtedly, it is important for federal officials to discover how the prisoners escaped and take steps to tighten security.  However, there is another question that is almost as important:  how did it come about that these particular prisoners were housed in that particular facility?

Three of the four had long sentences resulting from their convictions on drug distribution charges (fentanyl, cocaine, or heroin). Also included among the charges were possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Their sentences ranged from 10 to 16 years.  In summary, these were serious offenders who had shown a tendency toward firearm violence. Continue reading