Following Up

Thank you all for the positive emails about our Penn & Teller pieceWe received an email from a reader who strongly suggested that we view a News Times story from March 20, 2011…a little more than two…two months ago.  After we viewed the story, we decided to get right to work on our follow-up.  That’s not exactly true; we had to finish laughing and then wipe the tears from our eyes because this is really too much.  The article includes:

Columbia County law enforcement faces the challenge of staving off crime as the population increases.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reported a 1.5 percent rise in crimes — from 5,119 in 2009 to 5,194 in 2010…The sheriff’s office fielded just 75 more calls in 2010 than in 2009. That slight increase, Morris said, can be largely attributed to the 25.7 percent rise in the number of reported entering-autos cases. There were 475 in 2010, which was 97 more than in 2009.
“Rising numbers of entering-auto cases … (might) have been avoided if vehicle owners would have simply locked their doors and kept their valuables out of plain view,” Morris said.
“Over 90 percent of all entering-auto cases involve vehicles being left unsecured.”
Other property crimes, including burglary and criminal trespass, also rose, 5.8 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively. Last year, 346 burglaries were reported, 19 more than in 2009. The number of reported criminal-trespass incidents increased by 88 to 688.

Wait a minute here!  The GBI states that Columbia County had 2,618 crimes in 2009, and, states that it posts figures reported by the counties.  But this article claims that Columbia County had 5,119 in 2009.  WHOA!  How can that be?  Ron Cross told us via his May 2011 water bill insert propaganda tool that crime has decreased in Columbia County, which we proved to be not true.  In November of 2009, Barry Paschal and Austin Rhodes with their superiority complex in full force told us that crime in Columbia County has decreased; the people talk about it more which makes it seem to have increased, but it really decreased.  Well, there appears to be a whole heap of inaccuracies with media reports to us and the numbers that Columbia County reports to us and to the GBI.  How can this be?  Most important, why is this?

This bears repeating and laughing…a Morris Communications patron wrote that crime in Columbia County has “never been this bad“.  To that, paid editor and publisher and Morris employee Barry Paschal wrote:

Two things:

1. Unless you are at least 219 years old – the length of time since Columbia County’s creation – you lack the perspective to make such a broad-brush declaration.

2. Perhaps you are confusing a heavier media emphasis on crime reporting with a rise in crime. You wouldn’t be the first.

Columbia County’s crime rate – the measure of crimes rendered to and apples-to-apples comparison year to year – has been in steady decline in recent years (and months) even as the county’s population has increased. Those are real statistics – not the anecdotes of cutting and pasting from news sites.

On the heels of that, WGAC’s Austin Rhodes wrote
“100% on the mark, Barry…

We live in a 24 hour news cycle now…and the media has greater access to crime reports and cops than ever before. It isn’t that we have a huge increase in crime…but we do have a huge increase in coverage and community conversation about it… ”  

“Those are real statistics – not the anecdotes of cutting and pasting from news sites.”  Really Barry?  What real statistics?  What is the source of your information?  Certainly you remember how to cite sources?  And Austin, it’s just talk and media everywhere reporting on crime?  Too much talk and too much media, right?  Crime has been and is steadily declining right?  That’s what both said/implied?  Barry Paschal accused a patron of making a quote, broad-brush declaration, end quote.  And he prefaced that with, “Unless you are at least 219 years old – the length of time since Columbia County’s creation – you lack the perspective to make such a broad-brush declaration”.  WHOA!  Does this mean that Barry Paschal is at least 219-years-old?  It must, because he belittled a Morris patron for making a truthful statement regarding crime and belittled him/her for not being alive throughout Columbia County’s history.  For him to do that means that he has been.  And did you take notice of how ever so certain he was of his statement regarding crime?  He was completely wrong.  Must be nice to be a Morris employee…sit around all day playing and posting on Facebook and company forums and being rude and condescending towards Morris viewers whose comments (truthful comments) are not liked by the good ol’ boys, and in fact, many view this as bullying in an attempt to silence a certain portion of the community.  Oh, and did we mention that Morris Communications pays Paschal?  If you recall, Barry Paschal contacted a local principal about a teacher putting a comment on his personal Facebook page during school hours.  Turns out, the teacher was walking to the restroom near the end of his “planning period” and took (maybe) 30 seconds to post something through his BlackBerry.  Does Paschal report about Mike Sleeper Facebooking during board meetings?

We want to make this clear – we have nothing but appreciation and respect for our law enforcement personnel, fire fighters, emergency services personnel, and will be the first to defend them and tell others how important they are and how very good they are at what they do.   This article is not about their job performance.  It is about county big-wigs and a local media that appears to go along with whatever it is told.  Just go back and review what was reported and the fashion in which it was reported.

If you recall, we wrote that the GBI stated that Columbia County reported no crimes to GBI for March of 2006 and for April of 2006.  The News Times reported crimes in its April 30, 2006 edition, its April 26, 2006 edition, its April 23, 2006 edition…so what’s the deal?  And, why are we reporting this and our local newspapers and radio program hosts are not?  It could be for a lot of reasons, and we have our theory on it which will be discussed in detail at a later time.  For now, ask our local media why we are doing its job…and we don’t get paid to do this, nor do we charge to advertise.  That’s one of those things that makes you go hmmm?



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