Thayer: Act NOW to protect school children

By Gregory M. Thayer

When we look at the cowardly action by unstable lunatics like the one who devastated a small community in Texas by killing innocent children, we can see that his actions mirror the incidents at the Top’s Market in Buffalo 11 days ago,  in Sandy Hook, CT, in 2012, and in many other shootings.

We need to stop blaming inanimate objects, the guns, for these tragedies. They are not the problem. Criminals or mentally ill people intent on murdering people will always succeed. Either they’ll acquire a firearm through illegal means, or they’ll use other methods—like homemade explosive devices or, as we’ve seen in the Waukesha, WI massacre, their own cars—to kill and maim. 

Greg Thayer

Clearly, this is a mental health problem.

Look at the racist thug in Buffalo, NY, who traveled an hour to that specific market to slaughter black people. He had been in the hands of mental health professionals but got away. How? I would argue that what really failed here wasn’t gun laws but current New York state law. 

Closer to home, in Fair Haven, VT, a plot was unveiled by a young woman who alerted the police about the strange and alarming behavior of one of her friends who had made previous threats against Fair Haven Union High School, had recently purchased a shotgun, and had recently left a mental-health facility in Maine where he’d been treated for ADHD and depression. 

Note that many of the modern pharmaceutical drugs used to treat these specific conditions carry warnings that people taking them may experience suicidal or homicidal thoughts. But no one is talking about this fact because it’s just so much more convenient to blame guns for everything.

In the spring of 2018, Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Legislature loaded up H.55, a gun bill, which passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly and did absolutely nothing to protect you or your family. These virtue-signaling, overzealous pieces of legislation will not stop anyone from getting a firearm if they want to kill people. The issue goes far deeper than gun restrictions, so we must dig deeper to solve this mess and be true leaders instead of flaunting our ideology or cuddling our favorite special-interest groups.

In the wake of the deadly shooting earlier this week, many politicians, primarily Democrats led by President Biden, are calling for tougher gun controls and restrictions. But restrictions are not the answer. We must protect and preserve our right to own and carry arms laid out in our federal and state constitutions. 

I’m just as sad and tired of these things happening to our children and innocent neighbors as you. I’m equally sad and tired of the killing of one million babies in the womb every year, and then tens of thousands of deaths due to the flood of dangerous drugs like fentanyl coming across our unsecured southern border. Let’s not forget about the gun violence in Chicago over the weekend that these democrat politicians never speak about. Why? 

All those senseless deaths could be stopped if leaders like the ones in Montpelier would stop politicizing the situation, start looking at the real causes, and start working together with Republicans in order to protect all of us. 

Enough is enough! I am calling on our state leadership to take action today. Reconvene in the State House and do the right things to protect our children.

  • Address the mental-health problems in our communities and stop kicking the can down the road. If a student exhibits mental-health issues and the parents won’t voluntarily submit their child to an independent evaluation, a second (and possibly third) licensed and trained therapist must evaluate the subject. This issue needs serious attention by serious people, and the current leadership isn’t doing the right thing. Change and adopt statutes to address these problems.
  • We should also take a good, hard look at the pharmaceutical drugs—especially ADHD drugs and antidepressants—that seem to play a big role in many school shootings and massacres. 
  • Install manned metal detectors in every school in Vermont.
  • Install live surveillance cameras around every school across the state. New surveillance technology can detect firearms on a person or in a vehicle and lock down the school.
  • Place retired law enforcement officers and veterans in our schools as resource officers. We are now finding out that police officers stayed outside the Robb Elementary School in Texas for over 40 minutes, doing nothing to save the kids—in fact, aggressively preventing parents from entering the school and trying to save their kids. We need officers inside our schools to prevent this from happening again.

But there is no nuance in our Democrat leaders. Single-mindedly, all they want to do is blame and ban firearms. They will not listen to the truth. 

During the 2021 legislative session, a group of Vermont senators, all Democrats, introduced bill S.63, which would “prohibit Vermont schools from contracting for the services of school resource officers (SRO).”

What is wrong with these people? They don’t care about me or you, or the welfare of our children. All they do is follow their ideological guidelines that have nothing to do with real life. Having a licensed and fully trained police officer in the school working with students is a positive on many fronts.

Look at the fallout from the leftist agenda of “defunding” and removing police from our schools and cities. You don’t need to look far to see the problems at some Vermont schools—in Burlington, Champlain Valley, and Montpelier, to name a few—and in recent news reports about gun violence in Burlington. 

Another huge problem at our schools is bullying. Here in Rutland, we sadly lost a wonderful eight-grade student just three weeks ago; he killed himself because he was being bullied. Where was the school’s response system? Why aren’t students better protected? Granted, not every fight or argument between students is or should be considered bullying. But immediate adult intervention is needed to figure out the situation.

The Vermont state budget can be reworked to make our children’s safety a priority. We can find money in the budget’s social justice agenda for our schools. It’s time to protect our children with these simple safety measures listed above. Stop programs that are creating division among our children, scaring them and teaching them to hate each other. And please, no study committees either—we need action now!

The author is a Rutland resident and candidate for lieutenant governor.

Categories: Commentary

8 replies »

  1. Thank you Greg!

    US Citizens with common sense know the subject of guns is purely political for the Marxist/Socialist Left and Democrats who are students and cult followers of Saul Alinsky. They use every crisis to whip up emotions and invoke fear, lies and division to try and further their Marxist/Socialist Agenda. They are the true anti-Constitution insurrectionists.

    They have no intention or desire to solve the problem. Our schools and other gun free zones are magnets for shootings. We have seen this for years. Why aren’t we protecting our precious children and their schools with trained, armed professionals like the politicians have? Does Vermont’s Governor have armed protection? Why should he, if our children can’t have the same?

    Are all the politicians willing to remove the guns of their body guards, secret service and security? Of course not! Just like they live behind the protection of walls and gates, while saying they don’t work.

    To anyone who has a part in deciding where to spend ARPA Monies: Use the monies to hire trained, armed protectors for our schools and children.

    Let’s return Vermont to the sane days of Common Sense Conservatism.

  2. I respectfully disagree. This kind of Pavlovian knee-jerk reaction falls directly into the Democrats’ hands and does nothing at all to make kids safer. After all, the chance of being killed by gunfire in a school in the US is around 1 in 10 million, which is approximately half the chance of being killed by a lightning strike – exceedingly small. In a world of limited resources, money can, and should, be spent elsewhere.

    So how about we first stop terrorizing our children by pretending this is a common occurrence? Kids are 94,000 times more likely to die in a car crash than be killed at school. By inflating the risk of this kind of threat, we do one thing — increase their anxiety. How many kids will choose suicide due to this elevated anxiety? I bet more than are killed in schools by gunfire.

  3. As a victim of psychiatric drugging in childhood, I’ve long realized that “antipsychotics” cause horrible problems and solve little, if any.

  4. Has anyone noticed the correlation between shutting God out of our society in general and the rise in violence and corruption?

    Can older Vermonters remember when schoolboys brought their deer rifles to school during hunting season without anyone being concerned?

    Might we well ask ourselves what changed?

    Is it worth ignoring the moral law giver in the attempt to ease our own minds about our breaking those laws?

    Some actions my reduce the severity of the symptoms but do nothing to address the underlying cause.

    As our nation faces unprecedented challenges, may I suggest we appeal to God as did our forefathers, with remarkable success?

  5. Mr. Thayer, et al: Don’t you dare read the points below and comment on them.

    Re: “All those senseless deaths could be stopped if leaders like the ones in Montpelier would stop politicizing the situation, start looking at the real causes, and start working together with Republicans in order to protect all of us. Enough is enough!”

    How about enough with the over-simplification of the breakdown in our traditional social order. This is not a Republican/Democrat/Independent issue.

    So, ‘start looking at the real causes’…. Really? For every ‘cause’ on your list there are millions of others. People are different from one another. Things change.

    The ‘causes’ are infinitely complex and change as society changes. Mental Health… Really? And which aspect of ‘mental health’ would that be? Do you honestly think politicians will come to a consensus when the healthcare community can’t wrap its head around ‘mental health’?

    And then the usual focus on the drug problem – starting with the fentanyl from China replacing the opioids and prescribed Ritalin from ‘big pharma’. How do you fix that problem?

    Install manned metal detectors? At what cost? Florida is spending $400 million annually to put one resource officer in every school. Never mind the traffic congestion at each metal detector, creating an enticing target for another crazy person.

    Surveillance cameras? Great. Put the crazy, attention starved, idiots on TV. Never mind that the camera can’t stop a shooter.

    Where is the commonsense consideration for things that actually work? Why do politicians, prospective and entrenched, continue to point their fingers the way Don Quixote jousted with windmills?

    As for me, I have yet to see anything reasonable offered up by anyone running for public office – which is why I continue to emphasize that ‘government’ will never be our saving grace. Only ‘we the people’ can save ourselves – when we’re allowed to do so.

    First point: SCHOOL CHOICE! Let parents choose the school or education program they believe best meets the needs of their children. If safety is the first litmus test, parents will choose the safest schools. Unsafe schools will lose their customers.

    And what is a school to do to become safe? Well, duh. It’s not like there aren’t examples out there for all to see. Sure. Disagree, if you like. Choose your own school based on your own criteria. There’s nothing in our Constitution that says when we’re allowed to make choices, we always make the best choice. But when someone else makes a good choice, only a fool fails to take notice.

    So – one more time.

    “There hasn’t been a single mass public shooting in any school that allows teachers and staff to carry guns legally. Since at least as far back as January 2000, not a single shooting-related death or injury has occurred during or anywhere near class hours on the property of a school that allows teachers to carry.”