DoJ Begins Militarizing Public Schools
• Second Amendment proponents insist better solution is to arm teachers and staff
By Keith Johnson
Highly publicized school shootings have once again given the United States government an excuse to expand their police state apparatus and indoctrinate teachers and children into accepting government as their only protection from violence.
Late last month, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that they will spend $45M to place 365 new armed police officers in schools throughout the country. The funding will be awarded through taxpayer-funded grants provided by DoJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), an agency that has been instrumental in federalizing local police departments nationwide since its creation, under President Bill Clinton, in 1994.
“In the wake of past tragedies, it’s clear that we need to be willing to take all possible steps to ensure that our kids are safe when they go to school,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in the press release. “These critical investments represent the Justice Department’s latest effort to strengthen key law enforcement capabilities, and to provide communities with the resources they need to protect our young people.”
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre was one of the first to suggest armed guards be placed in schools following the December 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. This position immediately drew criticism from former Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), who argued that such measures would only contribute to the erosion of our civil liberties.
“Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?” Paul wrote, while still in Congress. “We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided ‘security,’ a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America .”
“When you have an armed, uniformed officer, he immediately becomes a target and the first person that some dirt bag would want to take down,” said Pratt. “However, if the potential assailant faced some uncertainty about who has the ability to shoot back, that might keep him restrained.”
Pratt continued: “We think that carrying concealed is the best way to go. [GOA] has been working to enable teachers and frankly any adult who has a concealed carry permit to bring their guns to class.”
When asked if there were any states or jurisdictions that currently allow teachers to carry concealed weapons, Pratt replies: “Yes, the whole state of Utah. That’s been the law now for nearly a decade. As far as we’re aware, they’ve had no school massacres. There was one mass shooting at a mall [in 2007], but guess what? The mall had signs posted: ‘No guns allowed.’” Fortunately, an armed off-duty police officer engaged the killer after he murdered five innocent shoppers, and helped to stop him. There are several pilot programs in Texas as well.
Some U.S. states have recently moved in the direction of Utah, but have failed to fully emulate their proven strategy of deterrence. For example, in North Carolina , legislators recently passed a law that allows school personnel with concealed carry permits to keep guns in a locked compartment inside of their locked cars.
“It’s a step forward, but it’s not going to do the job,” said Pratt. “If a dirt bag is shooting in your school, and you can manage to get to your car, get your gun and get back, how many people are going to die in the meantime?
Although N.C. ’s new law leaves much to be desired, it still acknowledges the armed teacher as a first-responder against potential intruders. In contrast, programs like ALICE—an acronym for “alert, lock-down, inform, counter, evacuate”—actually puts unarmed students on the frontlines and trains children—some as young as seven-years-old—to collectively throw items at armed assailants in hopes of distracting them from shooting accurately. The ALICE plan has been installed by more than 300 schools and has grown in popularity since the Sandy Hook massacre.
Instead of adopting the cost-effective policy of allowing teachers to carry concealed, many states are also using millions of taxpayer dollars to transform schools into locked-down prison fortresses complete with bullet-resistant glass, hardened doors, card readers, panic buttons and motion detectors. While these expensive projects are bound to enrich the security-industrial-complex, they actually do nothing to make schools safer.
According to a recent study by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), “Research has found security strategies, such as the use of security guards and metal detectors, to be consistently ineffective in protecting students and to be associated with more incidents of school crime and disruption and higher levels of disorder in schools.”
NASP also concluded that an overemphasis on physical security measures “undermines” the learning environment, “diminishes” the rights of students and increases the likelihood that trivial forms of student misconduct, which used to be handled informally by schools, will result in arrest and referral to the courts, which, at least on the last point, has in fact occurred.
Keith Johnson in an investigative journalist and creator of the Revolt of the Plebs.