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Remaking Romain Dallemand: Villain or Victim?


By Dave Oedel

One of the most riveting Middle Georgia news stories of 2015 has been former Bibb Schools Superintendent Romain Dallemand’s attempt to recast his role in the Bibb schools financial scandal. After Dallemand’s severance from employment with Bibb County’s Board of Education in 2013, Dallemand apparently disappeared to Haiti as if he were on the lam, avoiding legal service and requests for comment about his conduct when he worked for Bibb County’s Board of Education. Now in 2015, though, Dallemand has surprised some by … Continue Reading

Connecting Macon-Bibb’s Murderous Dots: The Unspoken Data About Our Gun Killings


By Dave Oedel

Now into the fourth month of 2015, the pace of killings by gunshot in Macon-Bibb is proceeding at the usual clip of about one per month. Ulysses Pitts was shot dead on January 7. Andrew Darrell Brown was shot dead on March 26. In a separate incident also on March 26, Tavaris (also known as Tavarous) Veal was shot dead.  Marquis Reginal Lowe was shot dead March 28.

Michael Knighton was murdered in East Macon on or about March 8, but with a knife to the throat rather than a gun.

Pitts’ alleged murderers are Antwan Denard Johnson, 25, and Sherod Ranardo Holston, both with prior records. Drevon Lashuwn McLaurin, 20, shot Brown, though perhaps in self defense. Steven Quintrell Howard, 28, was arrested for gang activity in connection with Veal’s death. Jaqavius Javon Holloway, 21, and Malik Tajhae Young, 19, were arrested in the Lowe killing.  Holloway’s mug shot is featured with this post.  Mary Brewer, the lone woman mentioned in this article, is sought in the Knighton cut-throat murder.

As to the three March deaths by shooting, the Telegraph reported that Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones “said he didn’t know of anything connecting the cases, other than the victims had been shot.”

The Telegraph in a separate story also indicated that “there might not be much connecting the [two March 26 shootings] than the day of death.”

But is there a way to connect the dots surrounding Macon’s gunshot killings this year to see a broader pattern? … Continue Reading

Why RFRA Fizzled in Georgia

By Dave Oedel

The most controversial bill that got killed in the last days of Georgia’s General Assembly ending April 2, 2015 was Georgia’s proposed version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, S.B. 129, that had been passed by Georgia’s Senate but was languishing in the House. After Indiana enacted a similar bill in March and immediately suffered withering scorn from the likes of Apple’s gay CEO Tim Cook, Georgia’s RFRA died.

Though its sponsors vow that it will return in 2016, it seems unlikely to gain any more traction then, as it had little practical reason for passage to begin with, and its core constituency seems more riveted on matters like same-sex marriage.  The vigor with which Georgia’s RFRA was opposed by gay rights advocates, while comparatively strong as a media matter, was also more symbolic than substantive, in keeping with the largely symbolic character of the proposed law.

With the whole controversy appearing to be more of a media storm without much practical significance, yet with real possible state reputational damage looming, Governor Nathan Deal with his leadership team guided the bill to a quiet death. … Continue Reading

Middle Georgia Makes National Transgender News, Raising Questions About Gender Segregation, Sex, and Assault in Prison

By Dave Oedel

Ashley Diamond has been visiting Middle Georgia from north Georgia’s city of Rome, where Diamond grew up. But Diamond has not been visiting our region’s tourist sites, and Diamond’s visit is not voluntary. Diamond was incarcerated for burglary in Middle Georgia’s medium-security Baldwin State Prison in Hardwick, near Milledgeville, before recently being transferred to the maximum-security Georgia State Prison in Reidsville.

Diamond is suing the state of Georgia in relation to the conditions of Diamond’s confinement. As a female-presenting “transgender” individual with male genitalia, Diamond was incarcerated with men, and then allegedly raped seven times in prison by male inmates. Treated as a male, Diamond’s long, flowing hair was shorn upon entry into the prison system, Diamond’s female clothing was taken away, and Diamond was denied a continuation of hormones that Diamond had been taking before incarceration.

Anatomically male by birth, … Continue Reading

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