Home Tracy Pyles: The ‘cringeworthy’ recent actions of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors

Tracy Pyles: The ‘cringeworthy’ recent actions of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors

Tracy Pyles
tracy pyles
Tracy Pyles

“Cringeworthy” is not an everyday word, unless one spends time following the missteps of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors. An unfortunate incident, where an Augusta County deputy is alleged to have committed “malicious wounding” when apprehending a fleeing suspect in Albemarle County, led to a typical verbal mismatch between Supervisor Scott Seaton and a less logical supervisor.

Seaton had rightly brought up the board’s years long foot-dragging in funding law enforcement body cameras. With this obvious example of the value and importance of having an unblinking witness to sort out right from wrong, came Riverheads Supervisor Mike Shull’s rebuttal. For him the problem is not an absence of a digital record but, “Maybe we need to go back to the schools where we start whipping them.”

Yep, Augusta’s board chairman, instead of deliberating if the board ought to provide our law enforcement officers protection from lies and distortions and the public a means to deter police overreaction, he remembered favorably when he was “whipped” and when schools “whipped.”

While we can debate whether tapping a toddler on the tail can be effective without being harmful; we should be able to agree “whipping” children is by law, and by reason, wrong.

Recently in our midst, a 3-year-old was whipped to death after living through unspeakable brutality. The existence of plentiful, and sustained, abuse of young people, is such that we have a robust Child Protective Services department operating for Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro. Mr. Shull could ask for some numbers and examples of unhinged parents, guardians.

New Directions provides a shelter for safely housing beaten women and children. Restraining orders are routinely issued with the hope a piece of paper can deter those who think whipping their spouses seems a reasonable response to perhaps using money for food rather than drugs.

We spend millions of tax dollars to incarcerate men and woman who by rage, or somber defect, think physically harming the less able: the young, the old, the weaker, is a remedy for their soulless  discontent. And yet we have a chairman who thinks we do not whip enough.

Amidst the exchange, between dissimilar mental acuities, came the considerations of Butch Wells, the Beverley Manor supervisor. He, in support of the “whippersnapper,” offered he did not think Shull’s calling for more whippings was meant to apply to law enforcement officers. Just parents and teachers, one is left to suppose.

Mr. Wells has recently been highlighted here for threatening the AFP founder, Chris Graham. The former police chief demanded to know, from this long-time news reporter, his source for a certain name.

This phone threat, from the former police chief, came when offering that others play “political games” while he only plays “criminal games.”  He had “files”, and he was adding Mr. Graham’s refusal to tell him what he wanted to hear to a “file.”

Wells spoke of having a file, while Graham shared electronically the former law officer’s threat and other passive-aggressive musings. With the accuracy of Butch’s oral argument, a Freedom of Information Act request was sent to Augusta County for a copy of the file. The response was disheartening, no file, it was a ruse.

Of course, Mr. Wells has an ongoing dispute related to Dr. Seaton’s recording of past closed board sessions. One supposes the Beverly Manor supe has reason to fear things he has said in private may become public. Or could there be more empty threats or support for the untenable? I await those releases with popcorn at the ready.

So again, the mysteries of electronic recordings are flummoxing Mr. Wells. One supposes Supervisor Wells, like Supervisor Shull, longs for the days of yore when children were liberally whipped for “whatever” and adults not embarrassed by their own words.

This pair sits in our judgement. Their history on the Board once just higher taxes, wasteful spending, and budget ignorance, now includes kid whipping and phony intimidations. Cringey.

Tracy Pyles is a former longtime member of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors.