OUTFOXING THE CRITTERS
Many traditions represent nostalgic calls to remember cherished moments or events of the past. Some traditions, however, are prized by the few and evoke sentiments of a type of noblesse oblige of past class structure.
Out of the sight of most folks and out of their economic reach as well, foxhunting ranks among those activities common only to the upper classes and meant to communicate the difference in status. But, some traditions simply persist.
A revived foxhunt was recently announced to resume in Clarke County, VA, where a total population of some 14,000 will trill to the sounds of the horn and baying of hounds as 80 members of a local hunt club pursue their fanciful dreams. Virginia has some 45 such hunt clubs. Foxhunting is characterized by aficionados as a sport.
Local news coverage described the members as animal lovers who enjoy horse riding across bucolic landscapes in the company of hounds. A hunting meet usually opens with an activity called “cubbing,” which introduces new hounds to the pack and conditioning them for hunting. One member has been quoted saying that foxes “run fast, so rarely is one caught by the hounds.” A hunting pack is often 45 hounds.
“We don’t try to catch them,” the member continued, and “we try not to kill them.”
That is a sporting assurance that the foxes would appreciate.
LOUDOUN’S BLACK SERVICEMEN NO LONGER SEPARATE, NOW EQUAL
While political strife, particularly within its school system, continues to besiege Loudoun County, it is refreshing to note that county leaders installed a new plaque honoring servicemen who died in WW II.
Since 1922, the previous memorial on the grounds of the county courthouse listed the names of three Black servicemen separated at the bottom of the plaque by double lines. The new plaque lists all in alphabetical order. A new Virginia law that took effect in July of last year allowed Loudoun County to legally make the change. Before that law, local governments did not have the authority to remove, relocate, or contextualize war memorials.
The new tablet was purchased through the Loudoun County War Memorial Trust Fund with money raised by community and veterans groups recognizing the century-old slight. County leaders are to be congratulated for persistence.
Feels like woke ain’t so bad after all.
LOUDOUN SHERIFF AIMS TO PLEASE . . . NEW VA AG
The fingers continue to point at what can best be described (a la the film Cool Hand Luke) as a “failure to communicate.” The Loudoun sheriff continues to defend his agency’s notifications to the Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) officials as timely and in accordance with established procedures.
LCSB leadership asserts a different view. The sheriff maintains that another agency, the Loudoun County Juvenile Court Service, was responsible for notifying the LCSB of the arrest of a student involved in a sexual abuse incident in May and arrested in July.
As local and national heat continues to arise in Loudoun, it is not possible to preclude under- and overtones of political antagonism in this incident. Recently, the Loudoun sheriff shared a stage with the newly elected VA attorney general, who vowed to seek legislation to permit his office to intervene in county prosecutions upon notification by county law enforcement.
Electoral politics and law enforcement too often contribute to dysfunctional public policy and public confusion about lines of authority. In this instance, a failure to communicate appears to be more important than solving conflicts.
Not surprisingly, Fox News issued an article wherein the newly elected VA AG tweeted “It is absolutely critical that we find out what the LCSB did and didn’t do. Virginia parents deserve answers. And during my administration, I plan to uncover the truth.” And so, the sheriff gets a hall pass.