Tea Party Treat: Augusta County Chaos

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

 photo First War Against
Terrorism_zpsejxvjvrf.jpgby Dan Sullivan

To be clear: there was no credible threat to Augusta County schools. A discredited Sheriff’s Department compounded hysteria over a simple, harmless art assignment by foisting a ludicrous rationale that something might occur. Meanwhile, an alleged beat down of a student by fellow classmates has gone uninvestigated by local officials.
"What concerns me the most is what we don't have knowledge of," Fisher said. "What people in chat rooms may be organizing that we haven't found yet." – as reported in The News Leader
If we are to buy this, we should be concerned over what we don’t know rather than dealing with any objective criteria. Apparently that “Christian Heritage” local Republicans touted in the recent election wilts under the slightest duress. It provides no shield or outrage against the high incidence of child physical and sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse that characterizes the culture here in the upper Shenandoah Valley. Public safety? What about the enemy we know? Nary a whimper. Willful negligence.
“We are not aware of any specific threat of harm to students. Some communications posed a risk of harm to school officials. Others threatened significant protests on or near school property.” - Augusta County Superintendent Dr. Eric Bond
Staunton Recruiting Station photo Staunton
Recruiting Station_zpsopu1lec4.jpg
Turns out that we have to be afraid of our own shadows. Truth be known, Augusta County officials do not trust the citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights or express themselves without fear of violence. A strain of vigilantism surfaced here last summer when some decided that it was their calling to protect a local military recruiting station in the wake of an attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee despite calls from the Pentagon for all such efforts to cease and desist. We have seen the enemy and it is us.

This is a county where the outgoing Sheriff’s administration hid the disappearance of evidence in the form of $4,000 cash from a drug case to achieve accreditation. The contentious race to be his successor delivered a fellow to office with an underwhelming 34% vote of confidence and likely less potential to correct what is beginning to look like a very bad situation in the department. Wanting to demonstrate decisiveness, we get an unqualified endorsement of the discredited Sheriff’s judgement from the new and, odds-on, future one-term Sheriff.
Sheriff-elect Donald Smith said he supports the decision made by Bond and Fisher, "110 percent."– as reported in The News Virginian
Delegate Steve Landes (R-parts of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham) enjoys disparaging the federal government but now he may find his Augusta County constituents in desperate need of the steady hand of the Justice Department. Landes has made no mention of the disorder in his own local government; that wouldn’t play well with the audience to which he panders. In a week when fear, hate, loathing, and britches-wetting have characterized local behavior, another incident is surfacing that also reflects badly on a local school district, law enforcement, and local “values.”

Want something specific to tackle? Allegedly about two months ago a student in a local school was the victim of a brutal on-campus beat down by fellow students. He suffered a concussion and a broken tooth or teeth. The unconscious young man was transported to the emergency room. But it seems a 911 call was avoided. The story goes that supervisory personnel at the school who knew about the incident either did not report it to the Principal or the Principal chose to ignore it. Somehow, the school’s resource officer was never made aware that the assault occurred.

What about a school district and law enforcement that avoid the hard truth? If this is the case, there is a group of students who have managed to escape justice and are walking the halls of their school. They likely have quite the cred. Maybe the resource officer shares a smoke or two with them to build rapport. But no outrage there.

As the new Sheriff might aver, it is 110% easier to deal with hypotheticals than with reality.

UPDATE: The News Virginian reports that Sheriff elect Smith has hired a former Orange County Sheriff William D. Spence as his chief deputy. It will be interesting to see who the de facto Sheriff is.