I Stand With Sheriff Jones–ARM THE TEACHERS: HELL NO on the 1.5-mill Butler County school security levy

Of course, people want to know what I think of the 1.5-mill levy that five Butler County schools are trying to pass together to boost school security. The five schools are Hamilton, Fairfield, Monroe, Edgewood and New Miami, and if the levy passes they intend to increase their school entry security, and hire mental health employees to help in what they think will help make schools safer. It’s a ten-year deal which effectively avoids the entire problem. As a long-term anti-levy advocate for public schools I am on the record at Lakota as saying if they allowed a policy of arming their teachers that I would support a levy to increase teacher compensation and help them purchase firearms. As anti-tax as I am, I support the Betsy DeVos federal purchase of firearms to help teachers get their hands on them so obviously this issue means a great deal to me. I think firearms on a teacher makes schools much safer and ultimately prepares children for the kind of world they are going to have to live in as adults. The Hamilton school board actually yielded rightly to Sheriff Jones and his billboards by voting to support arming teachers, then under great pressure and in hoping that this levy would pass, they backtracked to await the results of this election. That pulled Jones off the fence of neutrality on this particular levy to speak against it. And on that issue Sheriff Jones and I might as well be identical twins. I am with him in saying what I have said many, many times in the past. This school levy is a money grab by these school districts who are very intent to ignore the problem of school shootings and are attempting to yield to the pressure of the teacher unions and their anti-gun progressive political philosophy against the nature of this threat.

https://www.journal-news.com/news/butler-county-sheriff-calls-school-security-levy-districts-money-grab/PjwIrmBL109j8U0jctoA1O/

Guns and how people think of them has largely been shaped by our public education system and ultimately the liberalism of modern politics. That essential vantage point is that guns are dangerous and just looking at one is a kind of taboo and that is a far cry from how things have traditionally been in this country. As an example, obtaining a gun in America was like getting the first responsibilities into adulthood, which is the central premise to the movie that comes out every year on all our televisions during the Holiday season, A Christmas Story. Getting a gun and learning to use it responsibly was the first access that many had in their journey toward adulthood. But since that movie and the period it covers, American youth have lost that basic stepping stone into adulthood and public schools have attempted to steer minds away from such individualized ritual into accepting more state control, which is what you hear from virtually every school official as pressure mounts to arm teachers. The positions of government schools are to rely on centralized authority as opposed to individualized first responders.

Hoping to ride public emotion away from making that critical decision to individualize security in the hands of first responder teachers this Butler County school levy is one last leap to keeping that centralized authority model alive in the context of the core philosophy of public education. That assumption is a progressive belief that guns should be removed from society and that children should grow up into adults and not have their minds on guns at all—so that an eventual federal ban will occur by those future voters. By allowing guns to be part of the solution, the fear is that this new generation of young people will grow up once again accepting that guns are a critical part of American society, which of course they always have been.

I have come to think of guns as more of a philosophy than an imminent threat. Personal firearm ownership is a declaration of independence in a lot of ways and a commitment as a first responder to law enforcement. Gun ownership is not a threat to law enforcement, it is a great assistance if done properly and it is that reality for which Sheriff Jones and President Trump support arming teachers in schools to put the whole school security issue to bed for good, before more people get hurt.

We have all talked about doing something after the most recent rash of school shootings, but the real answer is to decentralize the process and give teachers the ability to be those critical first responders when danger happens. The philosophy of guns is that by owning them, we make each owner an extension of law and order rather than hiding under a desk or behind a door while we wait five to ten minutes for the police to arrive. The fantasy that many progressive people have, which many school board members are dedicated to, is that guns will be removed from American society at some point and they think by resisting a move to the other direction that they are facilitating that inevitability. But I would point out correctly that the trajectory of gun legislation is not getting more restrictive, it is getting less so. If you track gun laws back to 1992 it will become apparent that the Second Amendment has been strengthened even under the most rigorous debate, because as an invention of individual protections, guns are at the core of everything our American society stands for. And schools should be part of that instruction, working with the NRA and even gun manufacturers to facilitate great understanding of what guns are all about and how to properly use them so that young people grow up to be good gun owners in the future. Denying this reality is where all these school board members are going wrong, because they are missing the essence of educating young people in modern-day America. Taking a political stand is reckless when the evidence shows that the world is wrong on this issue. We need more guns and gun ownership, not less to make a society built on justice, honesty, and valor.

The five schools mentioned are avoiding the inevitable. They are hoping to take this money grab to appease the unionized teachers but to act as an insurance policy if something does go wrong, because they can at least say then that they tried. But we are looking for more than trying, I certainly expect there to never be a school shooting in my county schools. And if someone tries, then I expect some first responder to put down the threat right then and there and get the students back to class learning valuable things, not sitting around crying about how emotional everyone is. There shouldn’t be a need for more mental health experts in schools because the message would be quite clear, if danger erupts, the teachers are armed. And that the way to better mental health is in conducting lives in a more individualized responsible manner. In their most basic form, firearms teach their users to be more responsible people which translates to every action a person participates in. So, the benefits are many in arming teachers in public schools.

That leaves the point of this article as to whether or not the Butler County school security tax should be passed, to be answered. And I say HELL NO! It’s a chicken approach to a hard problem and for the schools themselves it is just as Sheriff Jones articulated, it’s a money grab. I hate tax increases and I think the schools cost way too much money currently, and kids don’t learn nearly enough of what they need. I would argue that the entire government school system needs to be rethought. But I stand by my previous statements on approving levies if school boards adopt arming teachers. I sympathize with the tremendous intellectual challenge it takes for them to make the switch in thinking from a centralized safety response to a more individualized one. So I’m willing to sweeten the pot for them to bring them to the right side of the argument. I personally think everyone should learn to shoot a gun. There is nothing like going to a range and respecting the people around you who are all armed with deadly weapons because it teaches the process of being safe and conducting yourself responsibly. Those basic procedural respects are missing from today’s youth and I think they would do well to get it from their teachers in school. But better yet, it is best for kids to know that their schools are truly safe because any teacher could be armed and if danger breaks out, someone is there to respond in seconds rather than minutes. And that has a direct impact on whether there is a body count or not.

Rich Hoffman

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