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A judge in Richmond, VA just convicted Susan Mortensen, the mother of a four-year-old little girl, of vandalism after she let her child draw with chalk on some rocks at Belle Isle park. Ms. Mortensen has agreed to do fifty hours of community service, and after completion, the judge will hopefully dismiss the charges.

I’m still amazed she was charged in the first place. The alleged “crime” occurred last March while Ms. Mortensen and her daughter were enjoying a day at the nature preserve. As the child happily doodled, bicycle officer Stacy Rogers decided that even though he might have a chick’s name, he’s all man when it comes to busting children.

After peddling his prissy little bike over to the family, he gave them a lecture and capped it with a ticket, punishable with up to a $2,500 fine.

This situation angers me on a number of levels. For one, chalk is made of the goddamned mineral gypsum. It’s not permanent, and it lasts as long as the next rain. It’s practically made of the same stuff as the rock it was written on.

For another, has Richmond solved all of their other crimes? No, they haven’t. Shortly after this incident, a man was shot in the chest during an attempted robbery at Belle Isle, and shockingly, no one has been charged. Too bad the shooting wasn’t committed by a toddler. The Richmond Police would have been all over it.

I was born in Richmond, and I dare anyone who has ever spent time in the city to describe it without using the words “shit” and/or “hole.” The city has a lot of problems, and people should be happy that for once chalk was being used to do something other than trace the outline of yet another dead body.

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