First school shooting in Montgomery County history follows vote to remove police from school buildings
Maryland’s Montgomery County became the latest Democrat-run jurisdiction to reverse its decision to remove police officers from schools after it suffered the first school shooting in the county’s history last week, in which a 15-year-old boy was shot last Friday by a classmate.
The district announced on Monday after the shooting that police would temporarily return to every high school in the county, a reversal of a March 2021 decision by county lawmakers to yank funding from its longstanding School Resource Officer program. The lawmakers voted to replace in-school law enforcement with mental health resources, including 50 new social workers and 40 restorative justice training sessions in the county. The shift was designed to keep students “safe, holistically,” according to Montgomery councilman Will Jawando.
But the mental health measures proved ineffective last Friday, when 17-year-old Steven Alston Jr. shot his classmate in a school bathroom at Magruder High School. Law enforcement wasn’t notified about the shooting until the victim was discovered between class periods and brought to the school nurse. When police arrived at the school, they found the shooter in a classroom with his gun, which he had disassembled, and a magazine holding nine rounds of ammunition. The shooter’s classmate remains in the hospital in critical condition.
“This was deeply felt across the entire system—and it was a wake up call on a number of different levels,” Montgomery councilman Gabe Albornoz, a Democrat, told the Washington Free Beacon. “This was the first time there had been a gun incident where a gun was fired within a school during the school day in the history of our school system.”
St. Mary’s County sheriff Tim Cameron told the Free Beacon that his county’s School Resource Officer program, virtually identical to the program Montgomery County scrapped, is an important component of safety and security in schools.
“The idea of the SRO is to prevent the event from ever happening—to stop the event before it actually occurs,” Cameron said. “I can’t say what would’ve happened, but I sure would have liked to have the opportunity for an SRO to have been in that school and perhaps prevented that.”
Following anti-police protests that swept the country in response to the murder of George Floyd, Montgomery County and more than 50 school districts nationwide dumped police programs. Montgomery is not the first to realize the decision put students at risk.
Last fall lawmakers in Alexandria, Va., held an emergency session after a string of violent incidents at the start of the school year. The public school system voted to reinstate armed officers after a student brought a loaded gun into Alexandria City High School. And Milwaukee Public Schools unanimously blocked officers from patrolling campuses in June 2020—but in the first eight weeks of the following school year, administrators called police more than 200 times.
Clyde Boatwright, the president of Maryland’s Fraternal Order of Police, told the Free Beacon that SROs are necessary to keep students safe. Without them, “gangs will be prevalent, assaults will be prevalent, and then there’s going to be a rush to try to insert officers back in the building to stabilize the building.”
“Just the mere presence of a police officer deters a lot of crime,” Boatwright said.
Albornoz said now there is growing support in his county for reinstating the SRO program.
“There’s no question that there’s an interest, especially in the short-term, in having more police presence,” Albornoz said. “And there are conversations going on right now in meetings being held between law enforcement, schools, health and human services, and key partners and stakeholders to determine whether or not there should be a police presence beyond just these two weeks as well.”
Boatwright said activists pushing to remove police from schools are acting against the interest of the majority.
“The loud minority should not have a say that directly affects the greater majority of people who actually want safe schools,” Boatwright said.
The thin blue line keeping criminals and citizens apart is being stretched to the breaking point as more and more city governments are acceding to progressive demands that local police be “defunded” in the wake of the killing of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis police.
The movement spawned by the Floyd killing led to demonstrations and riots that paralyzed cities including Louisville, Ky., Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., in the summer of 2020.
In some departments, groups of police officers have quit at the same time, fearing city officials would not back them up in times of crisis. A study featured in The Epoch Times conducted by the Washington-based Police Executive Research Forum found that from April 2020 to April 2021, police “retirements were up 45 percent and resignations rose by 18 percent” over the previous twelve months.
Across the nation, meanwhile, the number of attacks committed on law enforcement officials has increased, taking just six months in 2021 to surpass the total for the previous year.
The national Fraternal Order of Police said Thursday the number of attacks on police officials had already risen 91 percent from 2020, with 150 officers shot and 28 killed already in 2021. Alarmingly, that includes what the FOP said were 50 “ambush-style” attacks, which suggests progressive, anti-police rhetoric has made law enforcement officials targets for political action.
The 2020 Year-End Summary of Law Enforcement Officers Shot in the Line of Duty describes ambush-style attacks as those “carried out with an element of surprise and intended to deprive officers of the ability to defend against the attack.”
The demands that local police departments be “defunded” is clearly, a new Rasmussen Reports poll shows, outside the mainstream of American thinking. “Fewer than one in five voters think America should spend less on police,” the polling firm said, “and a majority want to spend more.”
According to its latest survey, 52 percent of likely U.S. Voters believed America must spend more on police while just 18 percent said less should be spent, which suggests the reality may be starting to hit home. The perception exists that the crime rate is rising and that the Democrats – President Joe Biden in particular – are responsible.
The recently released Washington Post-ABC News poll found only 38 percent of all Americans approved of the Biden Administration’s handling of crime. Nearly half, 48 percent, disapproved. Politically, the Democrats’ failure to correct that impression could have profound repercussions in the November 2022 congressional elections, a sentiment echoed in a recent opinion piece written by former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.
In 1988, Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee, blew a lead of as much as 17 points, losing the election to then-GOP Vice President George H.W. Bush, largely because Bush managed to convince voters his Democratic opponent was not only soft on crime but insensitive to its victims.
The tide may be turning, but slowly. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Friday that a Hennepin County, Minnesota judge “has ordered Minneapolis leaders to keep the number of police officers at a level required in the city charter,” in what can only be described as a defeat for progressive activists who successfully pressured the city council and the mayor to cut the department’s funding. In doing so, Judge Jamie Anderson said, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the City Council “failed to perform an official duty clearly imposed by law.”
While no police officer is above reproach and no police department is perfectly run, the data indicates the police are not the problem. The problem remains the various criminal elements who disrupt every facet of American life, particularly in the inner cities, with their violent, often lethal behavior. Unfortunately, no one has yet hit on a way to successfully defund them.
I did something that neither the President or Vice President of the United States are willing to do. I went to the border in Texas to learn and see with my own eyes what is going on. And to be blunt, it is far worse than I imagined — for everyone. The only people profiting from what is currently happening at the border are the human traffickers and drug cartels. Everyone else — on both sides — is a loser if this situation persists.
Here’s what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears when I went to Del Rio, Texas — a town of about 35,000 people about 150 miles west of San Antonio along the Rio Grande. Local law enforcement are overwhelmed and over run. The local sheriff’s department was never intended to be a border security force. Their job is to enforce the law within the county, not monitor the border. They are stretched thin and only have four deputies to spare along almost 120 miles of border. That means one deputy to cover about 30 miles.
But even the US Border Patrol is overwhelmed. They have been put in an impossible position. Border walls are no longer being built. Technology to help border agents has been turned off. So they are left to patrol the border as best they can and even they believe they are only catching between 1/2 and 1/3 of those racing across the border.
Imagine living in a town of 35,000 people and having four times that many people flooding across the border in the space of only a few months. And that is only a low-ball estimate. Even the Border Patrol agents said that probably double to triple that many are actually crossing the border. But that they cannot count them all because so many evade detection.
I attended a townhall meeting where locals came to express their concerns. The auditorium was packed and many people were standing along side and back walls. For more than two hours a parade of local citizens — a slight majority of whom appeared to be people of color — came forward to the microphone an in a couple minutes told their experience. Here’s what I learned:
Dozens and dozens of locals described how illegals had damaged their property, broken-in to their homes, sheds, and cars. I listened for more than two hours as they described how their families and children are now living in constant danger and fear.
Some of those who spoke were descendants of the original Mexicans who wanted to be free of the despotism of Gen. Santa Anna. Their ancestors defended and died at the Alamo. Others joined Sam Houston’s army that ultimately defeated the Mexican army and won Texas’ independence. Some of the speakers came to America legally in the last decade or so and spoke English with an accent. Not that any of that matters, but the point, is, it was a diverse audience with a diverse background, but they were all united in one thing — the current situation is unbearable and must be fixed.
They described how difficult it is to make ends meet even in better times — but that when there is a constant stream of trespassers damaging your property, destroying your fences, allowing your livestock to escape, stealing your vehicles, and putting you and your children in fear for their lives and safety, it just isn’t worth it.
They described vehicles — stolen by human smugglers — driven recklessly and dangerously and colliding with locals — causing serious injuries. Several speakers referenced a young girl and her father who miraculously survived but suffered life changing injuries due to a head on collision with a human smuggler driving a stolen car.
They described having to hide inside their homes as a group of more than a hundred illegals streamed across their property in the dark of night.
A woman painfully described how her sister — who works as a house keeper at a local hotel which has been used by federal authorities as a place to house illegals before they are sent to other parts of the United States. This woman tearfully told us that her sister was brutally raped on the job.
They all had their own story, but they all expressed a sense of betrayal. And they also had a sense of anger and frustration that when they express their concerns, all too often, they are labeled as haters or intolerant and that they are ignored as if they don’t matter.
A woman of hispanic descent holding babies and speaking in an accent described how she and her family had come to America legally years ago to have a better life and become an American. She spoke with pride of their home in America and the life that they had built here. But then she asked why she and her family don’t matter, why their rights to freedom and the pursuit of happiness are now irrelevant.
Even Democrats told us that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their policies are the primary cause of their problems. In Washington, we are used to partisans covering for their fellow partisans now matter how absurd the defense. But reality has forced this sort of blind partisanship to the side.
But it isn’t just the locals in Texas who are suffering. Many of those coming across the border are doing so because they’ve been invited to. But they, too, have become victims of the human smugglers and drug cartels who make them indentured servants and who threaten with physical harm and death their remaining family who serve as collateral for the cost of being smuggled across the border. These remaining family members live the rest of their lives under constant fear that the cartels and human smugglers will pay them a visit because of a late payment. Simply stated, our current policies are allowing human smugglers and drug cartels to flourish and profit and with those profits, they will not be building hospitals and schools. Instead, they’ll be building armies to expand their human smuggling operations and militarizing the border.
The Biden-Harris administration says it is working on root-causes. But stamping out poverty in central America and around the globe, is not something that will happen this year or even this decade. America has spent literally trillions of dollars in the past generation to stamp out poverty and made little impact. So if they do as well in the rest of the world as they have in the US, 50 years from now, we will still be discussing the root causes of the problem and debating how many more trillions must be spent to fix it.
But for people on both sides of the border that will be very sad news — a constant flow of crime and fear for generations to come and a perpetual stream of cruel and inhuman treatment from human smugglers and drug cartels. This is what I saw. This is what I heard. It was heart breaking. These are the cruel results of the ill-conceived and poorly thought out policies of the Biden-Harris Administration. False narratives won’t fix the problem. People on both sides of the border need solutions. And a secure border is where it all starts.
In 2007, it was discovered that the People’s Republic of China was shipping children’s toys to America (and other nations) that were painted with lead paint — a poison that can cause severe health consequences — including death. As the scandal expanded, it was learned that it wasn’t just children’s toys that were tainted. A wide variety of products from the PRC — such as pet food, toothpaste, lipstick, and even certain types of food for human consumption — were tainted with various poisons.
China has also poisoned America’s pets. In 2007, the FDA investigated pet food that was believed to have killed dogs and cats, not only in the U.S. but in Canada and Europe, and around the globe. It turned out that Chinese manufacturers secretly added melamine which in nutrition testing looks like protein so that they could claim that their pet food had higher protein content. But melamine isn’t a protein, it simply appears in tests as if it were protein. And in high concentrations melamine apparently can cause organ failure and death. More than 60 million packages of pet food were recalled.
Of course, the Chinese government denied any wrongdoing — just as they did in 2020 with the COVID-19 virus. The totalitarian regime lied about it and blamed others and never accepted any responsibility for the harm that they had done. That’s how dictators and autocrats roll.
Given this history, you’d think that FDA would be on alert for products with potential links to China that could put the health of Americans, especially children, at risk. Unfortunately, a recent congressional report concluded that the FDA has been asleep at the wheel. The report saidthat baby food companies “may be adding ingredients that have high levels of toxic heavy metals into their products, such as vitamin/mineral pre-mix.”
Most people don’t know that in 2019 alone, China produced nearly 350,000 tons of vitamins, which accounted for 77 percent of the total global output.China is also the big player when it comes to sourcing ingredients and raw materials for the global dietary supplement industry. But the country also has a severe problem with soil pollution, which means that its agricultural sector that produces the raw materials for vitamins and dietary supplements and food in general is systematically tainted. Experts say that at least one-sixth of China’s farmland is heavily or severely polluted with heavy metals.
Is anything coming from China safe? China has proven itself over and over to be willing to compromise the health and interests of consumers for its own gain. Even its electronics often contain backdoors that give the PRC access to private information. Most nations would make sure that the products it exports are safe. But the Chinese regime clearly doesn’t care. If it is caught it denies any wrongdoing and often shifts the blame — just as we saw them do last year.
The bottom line is that China cannot be trusted. The PRC doesn’t even care about keeping its own children safe from contaminated baby food. The FDA needs to treat everything that comes from China with suspicion. The U.S. government must realize that everything in China is done to advantage the PRC and the communist regime. We simply cannot trust in their goodwill.
Hopefully, the Biden Administration will not turn a blind eye to the very real and very serious risks posed by China. It simply will not do to dismiss China’s horrific record as a matter of “different norms.” And it is not acceptable to downplay the threat that China poses by telling Americans “they’re not bad folks.” The evidence is overwhelming and America must wake up and protect itself — its children, its babies, its dogs, and cats. We must see the PRC for what it is.
Democratic megadonor bankrolls cause that tanked Dem candidates in November elections
Liberal billionaire George Soros bankrolls a group that advocates abolishing the police. In fact, he funded its launch.
The Foundation to Promote Open Society, a nonprofit in Soros’s vast network, earmarked $1.5 million for the Community Resource Hub for Safety & Responsibility (CRH), according to 2019 tax forms. Those investments funded the creation of the group, whose mission goes far beyond the “defund the police” campaigns that arguably cost Democrats down-ballot. In a research memo for organizers, CRH “reviews alternatives to policing in the context of police abolitionist frameworks, offering insight and sharing successful strategies for advocates in the field.” It also offers a toolkit to help activists defund their local sheriffs—”an essential step towards building more safe and just communities across the country,” according to its website.
A spokesman for Open Society said the group supports CRH’s advocacy.
“Open Society made the initial investments you reference and continues to support the Community Resource Hub for Safety & Accountability to address the harm excessive policing does to communities and promote greater accountability for law enforcement’s actions,” Leonard Noisette, head of the Justice team at OSF, told the Free Beacon.
“OSF supports the exploration and development of alternatives to current policing practices, and the Hub serves as a clearinghouse of ideas and resources to help advocates determine how best to improve police practices in their communities,” Noisette continued. “We defer to communities regarding what alternatives make sense for them, including substantially shifting funding for the current approach to policing/law enforcement into services that address societal challenges while doing less harm.”
Soros made the donation to CRH through the New Venture Fund, which acts as a fiscal sponsor to CRH by providing its legal and tax-exempt status. The fund is managed by Arabella Advisors, a D.C.-based consulting firm that oversees a massive dark-money network that raked in $715 million from anonymous donors in 2019.
CRH’s overall financial information remains unknown. The group does not have to file individual tax forms to the IRS due to its fiscal sponsorship by the New Venture Fund.
“As a nonpartisan fiscal sponsor, the New Venture Fund provides support to projects with diverse opinions and policy goals,” a spokesperson for the New Venture Fund said.
Soros has funded numerous initiatives aimed at overhauling the criminal-justice system in recent years. His network devoted $70 million in cash last year to local efforts for criminal-justice reform—part of a $220 million initiative for racial equality. His nonprofits also back groups that want to eliminate the death penalty, and he has pushed millions into district-attorney races across the country.
CRH did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment.