Breitbart.com has the conservatives super confused again. This time it’s writer John Nolte, seeking to justify the NRA’s jumping-the-shark presser yesterday. How can anyone justify that, you ask? Well, he’s claiming that President Clinton put cops in school and there’s no difference between what Clinton did and what LaPierre offered up as the corporate agenda NRA’s vision for America, so how dare the media act as if Wayne LaPierre sounded crazy.
In a paranoid rant about how the media is attacking LaPierre’s “attractive” idea of arming up our schools, Nolte hyperventilates:
In their zeal to rampage this left-wing agenda, the media has apparently forgotten that back in 2000, on the one-year anniversary of the Columbine shooting (which occurred with an assault weapons ban in place), President Clinton requested $60 million in federal money to fund a fifth round of funding for a program called “COPS in School,” a program that does exactly what the NRA is proposing and the media is currently in overdrive mocking.
It’s as if he doesn’t realize that that program was already in effect, and what that program did, and who tried to shut it down.
He even quotes Clinton and this does not raise the alarm bell for him that he might be missing something:
“Already, it has placed 2,200 officers in more than 1,000 communities across our nation, where they are heightening school safety as well as coaching sports and acting as mentors and mediators for kids in need,” Clinton said.
School safety and coaching sports! Curse the evil media that ignores the hypocrisy!
Clinton’s 1994 COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program, which Republicans tried to kill in 1995 and Bush defunded, was not about cops carrying armed weapons into schools. It was part of a broader approach to decrease crime rates by getting police involved in their communities. In other words, it was a sane policy.
MSNBC explained, “The original Clinton plan, enacted as part of a crime bill in 1994, envisioned hiring 100,000 police officers who would walk the streets, visit the schools and get to know the communities they were policing. The federal government paid 75 percent of the cost for three years, with a salary and benefit cap of $75,000 per officer.”
It also included money for police departments to buy computers and other new equipment. Note: No one was paying the NRA with taxpayer money to train armed police in order to patrol our schools. It’s a shame that Nolte missed that part, because that part contributed to LaPierre appearing like a cold-hearted, greedy, out-of-touch man whose relationship with reality is now in question.
Of course, Republicans were against Clinton’s COPS program back then. Sigh. Republicans preferred to focus on punishing crimes and claimed to have issue with the federal government having any say over local government. It was a waste of money, they cried! They felt so strongly about this that it contributed to (prepare for déjà vu) their shut down of government. Of course, the current proposal by the NRA (R-nationwide) is estimated to cost around $5.4 billion. This from the “fiscal hawks” who just hightailed it out of congress after failing to pass a budget plan out of alleged concern over spending.
Obama started funding the COPS program again via the stimulus, at a time when police departments couldn’t afford to keep fully staffed.
Not surprisingly, “community policing” was acknowledged to mean the opposite of Breitbart writer’s take on it.
Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn said that while the politics has centered mostly on the hiring program, “the great value of the COPS program was on the educational side.”
The money for new officers was the hook, he said, but the notion of close engagement with neighbors “was a critical development in the evolution of policing in American cities,” helping drive down crime while boosting community trust.
Indeed, when a conservative criticized it in 2001, he scoffed that it was feel good liberal bs that we couldn’t afford, especially since some of the funds went to “… Department of Natural Resources officers whose duties include teaching children how to fish and putting up deer crossing signs along highways.” Yeah, teaching what I assume were at-risk youths how to fish is almost like assault weapon carrying police stalking the hallways of our preschools in order to enrich the NRA in both weapon purchases and “training” they’ve suggested they be in charge of, but not.
The purpose of COPS was to get police out from behind their desks and engaged in their communities, in order to foster trust on both sides. Furthermore, if LaPierre hasn’t lost it completely, we have to assume he wants these armed Blackwater types armed with assault weapons, because after all, “bad guys” have them.
In case Nolte is still confused,on December 19th Senator Boxer (D-CA) introduced the School Safety Enhancements Act, which would strengthen and expand the Justice Department’s existing COPS Secure Our Schools grants program to provide schools with more resources to install tip lines, surveillance equipment, secured entrances and other important safety measures. Clearly COPS falls short of LaPierre’s Mad Max vision.
According to Nolte, this is a big media conspiracy so the media – yes, the media – can take our guns and give Obama another “win”.
Follow me on Twitter here