AN ESSAY BY STEPHEN L. D’ANDRILLI, CEO AND PRESIDENT OF ARBALEST GROUP, LLC.
The Nation’s public schools exist for one purpose: to educate our children to become productive members of society. Something hinders that: school shootings.
But public school shootings need not happen and should not happen. Yet, these incidents do happen. And that says something odd and disturbing about our politicians and prominent groups, like the powerful teachers’ unions, that let these incidents happen.
When they happen, our nation suffers, and that suffering extends to every American: man, woman, and child. So, then, why do they happen and who is to blame?
There were four major school shootings in the past three decades: Columbine in 1999, Sandy Hook in 2012, Stoneman Douglas in 2018, and, most recently, Robb Elementary in 2022. Each of these incidents is unacceptable. All were preventable. What do these shootings tell us?
Too many elected officials, school boards, and teachers’ union leaders propose solutions that don’t work.
They aren’t interested in listening to parents who, increasingly, have little voice in the matter of their children’s education and no voice in the matter of their children’s personal safety while in school.
Their solution to school shootings proposed boils down to one thing: “Get Rid of the Guns.”
A simplistic Democratic Party slogan becomes a societal policy stance, that endangers the most innocent of Americans, our children.
“Get Rid of the Guns” is what the public hears. It is the universal solution provided and the solitary message conveyed.
It’s a National trend. Federal, State, and affiliated Union officials all espouse it, including the powerful United Federation of Teachers (“UFT’) that represents nearly 200,000 dues-paying members.
The UFT publishes a newsletter, called, “New York Teacher,” that keeps its members apprised of union policies, positions, and news.
As a dues-paying retired NYC teacher, I receive copies of the newsletter.
On May 25, 2022, one day after the Uvalde, Texas incident, the UFT published its “Resolution to stand against gun violence.” In form, this “Resolution” presumes a consensus reached by UFT members.
The last sentence of the UFT’s “Resolution” elucidates where the UFT expends its energy ——
“RESOLVED, that the union supports Governor Hochul’s measures in New York, reaffirms its longstanding support for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as other gun safety laws, and will work with the American Federation of Teachers at the national level both to overcome the obstacles to these commonsense safety measures and to organize other means of harnessing the power of our local and national organizations to confront and end this ongoing national tragedy.”
One month later, on June 16, the UFT published a follow-up article titled, “Delegates decry deadly school shooting,” where it expanded on its “Resolution to end gun violence.”
I was both troubled and angered by this one-sided news reporting and pontificating.
Reference to “Gun Violence” in the title of the “Resolutions” establishes the theme of the UFT leaders’ sole approach to dealing with school shootings.
The word ‘Gun Violence’ is a narrative tool, a Democratic Party establishment talking point, recited and reiterated constantly, and echoed by the legacy Press.
The UFT’s leaders buy into this, regurgitating the same tiring refrain. This is deliberate and it isn’t benign.
The use of the expression “Gun Violence” promotes a dangerous way of thinking, encouraging bad policy choices.
The Nation’s decision-makers divert scarce taxpayer resources away from the implementation of effective measures to secure our public schools and direct those resources into measures that make schools less safe.
The UFT leadership has become a useful pawn of the Biden Administration’s bad policy.
It has learned nothing from the tragedies that have befallen other school districts around the Country, so caught up as it is in the fiction of “Gun Violence.”
Dwelling on that fiction prevents consideration of and implementation of constructive solutions to school shootings.
I could not sit idly by, allowing the UFT’s remarks to go unchallenged. I wrote a letter to the editor explaining my concern, suggesting concrete ways it could secure the City’s school system.
The UFT published my letter on November 3, 2022, adding the title, “Where is the school security plan?”
But the editor made changes to the letter I did not authorize, involving a fundamental idea made, thereby undercutting the import of the salient point I sought to convey:
An effective solution to school shootings requires the “hardening” of schools against aggressive armed assault.
The editor struck the word, ‘hardening’ from my letter. That was no accident.
But why did the editor do this? That single word encapsulates the basic strategy for securing school buildings from armed assault.
Hardening physical structures against armed assault isn’t a novel idea. Federal and State Governments have applied it to airport terminals and courthouses around the Country for many years.
Security in these buildings is extraordinarily tight. Protocols are assiduously enforced. That explains why shootings in these structures are extremely rare or nonexistent.
Hardening structures against aggressive armed attacks do work.
Seeing this success, many school districts have adopted hardening protocols to thwart school shootings. Those that do and that see to the enforcement of those protocols, do not experience the tragedies that afflict districts that don’t use them.
Why aren’t these protocols universally applied given their obvious effectiveness?
How can any rational mind fail to apply them? They should, but don’t. The UFT doesn’t and isn’t about to. Why is that?
Both I and my business partner Roger J. Katz, an attorney, and a former public school teacher himself, have written extensively about this, posting our articles on our website, the Arbalest Quarrel.
And, Ammoland Shooting Sports News, the web’s leading Shooting Sports News Service for the Second Amendment, Firearms, Shooting, and Hunting and Conservation communities republished five AQ articles: January 25, 2016; June 15, 2016; February 26, 2018; March 17, 2018; and May 26, 2022.
By “hardening” our school buildings we protect the life and safety of our children, teachers, and staff.
This isn’t difficult. A lot of the work has already been done on this. There is no guesswork for any of it.
It takes only the desire to do it and the fortitude to follow through on it.
I propose seven measures as basic to securing schools and safeguarding students, teachers, and staff within them, therefore “hardening” them. These include establishing:
(1) A Designated Entrance and Exit,
(2) A Vestibule and Video Surveillance,
(3) Positioning of Metal Detectors at Entry Points,
(4) Photo ID,
(5) Security Desk and Visitor Escorts,
(6) Trained and Armed Personnel (including Plainclothes, and/or Uniformed Personnel), and
(7) Periodic Testing and Strict Adherence to all Policies and Protocols.
Implementation of this 7-Point Strategy in New York’s schools would deter an armed assailant from insinuating himself into a school building.
The use of trained and armed resource officers is imperative.
The UFT isn’t interested in hardening the City’s schools. And it is particularly resistant to employing trained and armed resource officers in the schools.
This stubborn stance is an ominous sign of bad things to come. This lax attitude invites school shooting incidents. It may be only a matter of time before a New York City school suffers this horror.
I hope it never happens but, given the sheer size of the NYC school district and given the amount of criminal violence afflicting New York City, coupled with a casual attitude toward crime, demonstrated by New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, and New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, I am fearful that it is just a matter of time before a tragedy, at the hands of an armed lunatic, visits a City school.
The Biden Administration bears singular responsibility for enabling this violence.
In a May 2022 Press Briefing, reported in the New York Post, prompted soon after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Biden’s Press Secretary pointedly said:
“ ‘I know there’s been conversation about hardening schools, that is not something he [Joe Biden] believes in,’ Jean-Pierre told reporters at a White House press conference. ‘He believes that we should be able to give teachers the resources to be able to do their job.’”
This wasn’t a mistake by the Press Secretary. The next month, on June 2, 2022, as reported in Breitbart, Joe Biden, himself, confirmed he doesn’t support hardening school buildings.
“President Joe Biden delivered a 20-minute prime-time address about gun violence on Thursday in which he mentioned a litany of gun control policies without mentioning the need for hardening school security . . .” [and] nowhere throughout his speech did he mention the need to place armed security guards on school campuses or bettering school security overall.”
Since the Biden Administration is adamantly opposed to the use of armed security officers in public schools and explicitly discourages the application of any steps to harden school buildings to protect children, this serves to dissuade the UFT leadership from pursuing “hardening” as a solution for New York City schools. And, many other school systems across the Country follow the Biden Administration’s policy.
Why do you suppose that is?
A person might be tempted to conclude the Biden Administration WANTS school shootings to occur. But that can’t be true, can it?
No one, in their right mind, would dare use, or even think of using, children as sacrificial lambs simply to gain public sympathy and support for a radical agenda positing the disarming of Americans, would they?
After all, to be adamantly opposed to the application of measures that do work to protect children is both irrational and seemingly inexplicable. And no Government agenda can justify sacrificing the life, safety, and well-being of the children to carry out an agenda.
Yet, isn’t that what we are seeing?
Isn’t this in fact occurring: a cold, calculated, plan that to be accomplished requires an extraordinary sacrifice: our Nation’s children?
Ridiculous, Indeed! But, hasn’t the advent of the brain-addled Biden and his psychopathic Administration demonstrated a proclivity for instituting policy prescriptions illustrating an absolute lack of concern for the life and well-being of Americans?
Reflect on the hasty, ill-conceived, and horribly executed withdrawal from Afghanistan that resulted in the needless deaths of thirteen American soldiers. Ponder the infusion into our Land of over five million illegal aliens, none of whom were carefully vetted, and many of whom pose a direct threat to the security of our Nation and its citizenry, and all of whom constitute a substantial monetary burden on the taxpayer, as these “migrants” require housing, food, medical care, and education for their offspring. And consider the dire threat of Global Thermonuclear War posed by the Biden Administration’s cavalier attitude toward Russia that his Ukrainian/Russian policy has placed us in.
ALLOWING CRIMINALS AND LUNATICS TO KILL CHILDREN TO DEMONSTRATE A NEED TO GET RID OF GUNS IN CIVILIAN HANDS TO STOP VIOLENCE DOESN’T DEMONSTRATE A CONCERN ABOUT VIOLENCE. NO! IT DEMONSTRATES INSTEAD BLATANT DISREGARD FOR THE LIFE AND WELL-BEING OF AMERICANS, TO ACCOMPLISH AN END: ONE THAT HAS NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH ENHANCING THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF AMERICANS. THE GOAL IS THE SUBJUGATION OF THE COMMONALTY: ABSOLUTE GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER ALL THOUGHT AND ACTIONS—IN OTHER WORDS—THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF TYRANNY.
A fixation on the notion of guns as the root cause of criminal violence not only diverts precious monetary and manpower resources away from the implementation of effective solutions to school shootings, such fixation goes further. It prevents the very consideration of viable solutions to the specific problem of school shootings. This is unconscionable, but that is precisely the intention of a rogue Federal Government.
The expression, ‘Gun Violence,’ like those of ‘Gun Culture’ and ‘Assault Weapon,’ are intentionally designed to focus the public’s attention on things the Biden Administration wants the public to focus its attention on. But these expressions are fabrications. These expressions refer to nothing concrete. Yet, the public is led, nonetheless, to believe, erroneously, they denote, real, and negative, things.
These fabrications do serve a purpose.
Propagandists utilize these expressions to compel a specific response in the target audience: the American public. And the response sought is one of anger and rage toward guns and those who wish to exercise their natural law right to keep and bear them. So the public relinquishes their firearms to Government overseers and then what? Is the public any safer? Of course not.
In fact, the public is considerably less safe. The public couldn’t be in a worse position: facing danger from predatory criminals and lunatics, which is bad enough, and, worse, facing imminent, danger from a predatory Government.
Words, thus, do carry weight. They are often emotionally laden.
Propagandists know this. They employ verbiage that sways public opinion in the direction they want, and they refrain from utilizing verbiage that sways public opinion in a direction they don’t want.
The public, whipped into a frenzied mob, operates through rabid emotional instinct; their higher faculties of refined, calm, deliberative thought and reflection are anesthetized.
With the public intellect effectively hijacked, the propaganda mill persuades the public that “Gun Violence,” a “Gun Culture,” and a Nation “awash” in “Assault Weapons” are the cause of criminal violence. They aren’t. They aren’t even the effect of criminal violence.
What are they, then?
They are rhetorical flourishes, red herrings, manufactured by propagandists to draw attention away from the true causes of “violent crime”—the criminals and lunatics who commit it, together with the perversity of Biden Administration officials and many State and local Government officials who refuse to deal with the fact of it.
Through time, these “red herrings” evolve into viral memes. They get inserted into the public psyche, where they become lodged and difficult to remove.
The public obligingly conforms its belief system to Government policy promulgated by Biden officials. And, through ongoing, vociferous broadcasts by the legacy Press, radio, broadcast and cable news, and social media, the public grows amenable to that policy, begins to support it, and eventually becomes enthusiastic about it, even though it is contrary to the public’s interests and needs, and does not address the problems claimed: schools infiltrated by armed lunatics and growing violence in society as a whole.
“Getting rid of guns” means, literally, confiscating guns presently in the hands of tens of millions of average, law-abiding, responsible, rational citizenry.
“Getting rid of guns” is presented as a panacea to armed killers stalking schools, and to violent crime generally—or so the public is told.
The policy, “Getting rid of guns,” becomes the “Battle Cry” of the Biden Faithful.
The Biden Administration, Congressional Democrats, and State and local governments, along with their friendly travelers in the legacy Press, cable and broadcast news networks, and social media, constantly and consistently utilize verbiage like ‘Guns,’ ‘Gun Violence,’ and ‘Assault Weapons’ to support their narrative to accomplish their objectives, and they assiduously avoid the use of other verbiage that undercuts their running narrative.
Expressions like ‘hardening,’ ‘school security, ‘armed resource officers’ and ‘armed self-defense’ are a few of the main ones the propagandists avoid.
Such latter expressions reinforce the need for effective security in schools and in the greater society; the former does not.
To make the illusion work, the use of expressions like ‘hardening,’ ‘school security, ‘armed resource officers,’ and ‘armed self-defense’ must be scrupulously avoided in Government sponsored messaging. The public too is discouraged from using those expressions in public discourse.
What is advantageous to schools and to society as a whole is an anathema to the present Administration and antithetical to the Administration’s policy pertaining to firearms and the Second Amendment.
A profound quelling of dissent is fostered, unlike anything seen before in America. A fog settles over the public psyche. This is as intended. The First Amendment freedom of speech is severely constrained.
Many organizations obey the guidelines for discourse set by the Biden Administration and establish policies of their own consistent with those of the Biden regime, even though Biden’s policy directives are contrary to the welfare of the Nation and destructive of the fundamental, unalienable rights of the people protected by the U.S. Constitution.
The UFT is in league with Biden Administration policy, and actively and avidly assists the Administration in complying with the Administration’s duplicitous schemes. And it wields considerable influence over its members.
Many teachers who should be attuned to the dangers of manipulation of public thought become ensnared by it. Worse, what impacts them also affects their charges.
This sad result is emblematic of New York City public school education.
And, so, the Public school buildings remain unsecured. And, yet, New York Governor Hochul and the UFT would likely disagree with this observation.
On June 23, 2022, following the Uvalde, Texas shooting incident, Hochul signed a school security bill, named in honor of a student who was a victim of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School shooting tragedy. An announcement on the Governor’s website proclaimed——
“Governor Kathy Hochul today signed Alyssa’s Law (S.7132B/A.10018), requiring schools to consider the use of silent panic alarm systems when conducting review and development of their school safety plans. . . .
‘I am proud of the work we have done to pass a nation-leading bill package to crack down on the scourge of gun violence, but this is an ongoing fight and we cannot stop there,’ Governor Hochul said. ‘We will continue to take aggressive action until every child in New York is safe to pursue an education without the fear of senseless tragedy. That’s why I am proud to put pen to paper on Alyssa’s Law, a real and meaningful piece of legislation that will require school districts to evaluate systems that can save precious minutes—and lives—in the event of an active shooter situation.’
This bill requires that schools consider their usefulness when developing their district-level school safety plans and expressly authorize their inclusion within building level safety plans. The panic alarm systems themselves can cost just a few thousand dollars to purchase, and can be implemented in the classroom as a smartphone app.”
Notably absent from the hoopla surrounding the signing of this law is any mention of the use of armed resource officers to take down an “active shooter” while students, teachers, and staff anxiously await the arrival of police.
How much damage can this “active shooter” do and how much harm can he inflict on children during those seconds and minutes before the police arrive? Significant damage; horrific harm!
That absence of armed resource officers leaves children vulnerable to and helpless in the face of physical violence, in the precious seconds and minutes they must await the arrival of the NYPD Special Operations Bureau officers.
But is it better a child should die, sacrificed for the greater good of society that enshrines the precept that “Guns are Bad” and develops school security policy around that idea?
And children themselves—those that survive armed assault—are indoctrinated in the precept that “Guns are Bad.”
Consistent with the intent behind that precept is the idea that those who commit violence are simply mentally ill, not inherently evil; ergo they aren’t responsible for their acts.
Hence, the moral imperative: blame the object, “the Gun,” for the act of “Gun Violence”, and refrain from blaming the agent, the “active shooter,” who happened to use the Gun to commit an unspeakable horror on an innocent child.
No less is a child’s innocent mind endangered—and by implicit Federal Government commands that many State and local governmental authorities and teacher’s unions obey.
A child’s innocent mind is left open—accessible to, receptive to, and, inevitably, held captive to a slew of corrupting influences.
These corrupting influences produce in the child, a phobia towards firearms and a disinterest in or abject hatred toward the Nation’s natural law rights, including the fundamental right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of Self and family, and against the armed predator, and to preserve the security of a free state against the predatory Government.
The schools indoctrinate the child at an early age to focus his attention on the object, i.e., the Gun, and not on the sentient agent who misused a gun to harm another.
The child is subconsciously infused with the ethical precepts of consequential utilitarianism, eschewing the moral culpability of the sentient agent, and looking at the concepts of good and evil in terms solely of utility: Do the consequences of an act maximize utility for society or reduce utility? As guns are deemed deleterious to the well-ordered society, any act involving them is deemed inherently bad by definition and altogether destructive to the well-being of the well-ordered society.
As perceived by the predatory Government, the mere presence of guns in society reduces utility.
Therefore the predatory Government must rid society of guns; all guns that are in the hands of the civilian citizenry.
The Biden Administration is attempting to do just that, in incremental steps.
The attack on so-called “assault weapons,” a.k.a. “weapons of war” is a major step in that direction.
“Assault weapon,” refers to any semiautomatic handgun, rifle, or shotgun.
The Biden Administration intends to rid the Country of all of them—this—the most prevalent category of firearms in the Country.
Tens of millions of American citizens keep and bear semiautomatic firearms. No matter. The Biden Administration intends to collect all of them. And the citizen should expect as much from a predatory Government.
The predatory Government views a well-ordered society in terms of its own well-being, and not in terms of the well-being of the citizen.
An armed citizen represents an inherent threat to the predatory Government. Therefore the citizen must be disarmed—this—ostensibly for the benefit of the well-ordered society qua the well-being of the predatory Government.
Perpetuating the fiction of “Gun Violence” serves as an effective vehicle to de facto nullify the right codified in the Second Amendment, and eventually dismantle the free Constitutional Republic.
A true republic cannot long stand in a land devoid of its armed citizenry.
The Biden Administration intends to make it so.
Americans bear witness to the inexorable dissolution of their Republic toward authoritarianism, and eventually totalitarianism, and the subordination of the American people to the State.
The armed citizen is equated with Gun Violence.” No allowance is made for the law-abiding gun owner.
The law-abiding armed citizen and the law-breaking psychopathic criminal and the rampaging lunatic are all subsumed in the same category: illicit gun-toting destructive elements, albeit the criminal and lunatic, serve the predatory Government’s purpose to dismantle a free Republic. Criminals and lunatics are therefore allowed to run amok as they accelerate the destabilization of society, allowing authoritarianism to settle in.
The predatory Government perceives the law-abiding gun owner as the graver threat, in fact, the gravest “security” threat to that Government.
Apropos of schools, the ill effects of the application of “Gun Violence” policy objectives become too blatant to ignore.
Any attempt “to harden” school buildings against armed aggression is met with firm resistance.
This is plain from the UFT “Resolution to end gun violence,” as posted in the UFT newsletter, and in the mangling of my letter to the editor in response to the “Resolution to end gun violence,” and to the UFT follow-up article, “Delegates decry deadly school shooting.”
The editor deleted my reference to the “hardening” of schools to protect children against armed invasion, while in school. This import of doing this is important.
The UFT would does not support the hardening of schools against violent armed assault. This endangers a child’s safety. The UFT and the Hochul Government feel this is an acceptable risk, as it is consistent with the philosophy embodied in establishing a “Gun Free” environment.
This means the UFT and the Hochul Government forbid schools from utilizing armed resource officers as a security measure to protect children. Thus, a necessary component of school security hardening to thwart infiltration of New York City schools by an armed intruder is unavailable. Why would the UFT and the Hochul Government take this stance?
The reason is this——
The implementation of school security “hardening” proposals, while of benefit to the child, would be harmful to the Biden Administration’s goal of nullifying the natural law right of armed self-defense, as codified in the Second Amendment.
The Hochul Government and the UFT will not implement school security strategies that are inconsistent with Biden’s anti “Gun Violence” policy directives directed to the eventual de facto nullification of the Second Amendment.
Thus, a child’s life is effectively subordinate to the dictates of Biden’s tacit policy directive.
That directive has infected the policies of many school districts, the effects of which are painfully visible.
How do the UFT and the Hochul Government respond to this——
Through a feat of legerdemain, the Biden Administration, Governor Hochul, and the UFT deflect criticism of deficiencies in school defenses against armed invasion by focusing the public’s attention maximally on guns and on those law-abiding citizens who keep and bear them and focusing minimally on the “active shooter.”
School shootings serve as a useful pretext to advance the Biden Administration’s goal of reducing the impact of the right guaranteed in the Second Amendment to a nullity.
This failure to effectively harden schools against armed assault is replicated in school districts around the Country. This is sad and profoundly disturbing
But, the ripple effect extends beyond issues pertaining to school security measures.
The vehement incessant attack on guns and on the natural law right of armed self-defense compromises: one, the safety, security, and well-being of one’s physical self; two, the sanctity and inviolability of one’s Spirit and Soul; three, the preservation of the U.S. Constitution along with preservation of a free Constitutional Republic; and four, the sovereignty of the American people over Government.
All of this is in danger of rupture—and more so today than ever before in our Nation’s history.
Copyright © 2022 Roger J. Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.