Democrats pounced on the opportunity provided by last week’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead, but in their haste to enact a nationwide gun-grab, Democrats have repeatedly dismissed the common sense approach of hardening the schools.
As candles burned on either side of his red carpet during his prime-time address to Americans on Thursday night, President Joe Biden proposed a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, enhanced background checks and even the repeal of legal immunity for gun manufacturers, all of which have been on the left’s Christmas list for a long time, and none of which would be necessary if schools were appropriately secure.
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Thus, Biden conspicuously left out any mention of the Republican-backed solution of increasing the police presence at our schools.
No one was surprised, because White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters earlier this week “that is not something he [Biden] believes in.”
Used in conjunction with several other initiatives such as behavioral profiling, enhanced security measures at our schools would go a long way toward deterring would-be mass shooters. Israel, surrounded by enemies and facing regular terrorist attacks, has employed these methods and, according to Fox News, only six school attacks have occurred there since 1974.
Still, it’s odd that Democrats are repeatedly rejecting the most obvious and easily implemented course of action available.
The editorial board of The Boston Globe published an Op-Ed Friday entitled, “Police in schools isn’t a solution to school shootings. It’s a cop-out.”
The editors argue: “First, Congress’s decades-long failure to enact stricter gun laws has allowed school shootings to occur in the United States with unparalleled frequency. And second, putting cops in will not bring an end to America’s school-shooting epidemic; if anything, it’s a waste of resources that buys only the illusion of safety.”
“But as more and more information trickled in about the Uvalde police’s response to the shooting, it became evident that law enforcement officials made catastrophic and potentially fatal errors that unfortunately underscore why more police is not the answer to school shootings,” they wrote. “The police response was so baffling that it has now prompted a federal investigation by the Department of Justice. And though those findings will better show us what went wrong, this incident should already give any lawmaker — whether state or federal — pause before turning to police in schools as a potential bipartisan solution.”
They are correct that Uvalde law enforcement officials made “catastrophic and potentially fatal errors” that may have added to the loss of life. But, the incompetence of the Uvalde Police Department’s response is unique to this incident.
How in the world could the errors of one police department during one attack after a shooter had already gained access to a classroom translate into a conclusion that more police is not an answer?
It doesn’t. Presumably, if the school had been hardened, Israeli-style, the killer would have been much less likely to gain access to the building in the first place.
And why do the editors assume that the unusual delays, which are currently being investigated, would be repeated by a different police force?
Next, the editors contend: “The number of police officers in schools has grown exponentially in the last several decades. In 1975, only 1 percent of public schools had at least one police officer, but by 2018 — in large part driven by responses to school shootings from the 1990s onward — that number rose to 58 percent. But that has not prevented school shootings.”
How many of those attacks occurred in schools where police officers were present? The editors don’t reference any attack that occurred in a secured school.
The New York Times cites the 2018 mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, as an example. The school resource officer on duty “has been accused of hiding as a teenage gunman killed 17 people.”
To their credit, the Times spoke to Mo Canady, the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, who referred them to a National Policing Institute database that “showed 120 cases of averted school violence between 2018 and 2020.”
But few write about these cases. Like the editors at The Boston Globe, media outlets simply state, with little evidence, that the presence of a security officer doesn’t stop school shootings.
The editors’ final objection to the presence of school resource officers is that “students of color and students with disabilities have been more likely to be subject to unfair and harmful treatment” by them. Additionally, they claim, “Some studies have shown that schools with police officers more often use exclusionary disciplinary practices like suspensions and expulsions, which disproportionately affect Black and brown students.”
In other words, the heck with security, black and brown students are being scrutinized too closely.
“School shootings have unfortunately become an expected part of the American academic calendar,” the editors conclude, “and that’s the result of bad policy responses that misdirected government resources and lawmakers’ focus. It should be clear to anyone by now, over 20 years after Columbine, that adding more police officers on campuses isn’t a real solution to school shootings; it’s a cop-out.”
None of the arguments in this Op-Ed demonstrate that increasing security at schools wouldn’t reasonably constitute at least part of a solution to school violence. Unlike our president, who simply “doesn’t believe in” hardening our schools, at least the Globe editors tried to come up with some rationale for their opinion.
But this is all a smokescreen. We know the real reason why the left dismisses talk of enhancing security at our schools: The U.S. government wants to disarm American citizens. Because a disarmed citizenry is a more compliant citizenry.
Come and take them, Mr. President.