Friday, December 21, 2012

Armed Guards In Schools Won't Fix Anything

Apparently Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association has yielded to the “WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO KEEP THE CHILDREN SAFE” shouters in the media and has thrown them the bone of calling for the presence of an armed guard in every school in the country. I hate to be the drunken uncle pissing in the coy pond at the backyard party of life, but it simply isn’t a practicable suggestion. Yes, yes, there are LOTS of retired police, firemen, and military who could step into that role, but let’s examine it for just a minute.

What IS the role, and what are the responsibilities. The role is to be the armed guard at the school. Now what does he or she do? I suppose primarily they would stand by the main entrance before and after school being watchful. Are they also responsible for assisting with day to day discipline issues or are they like Paladin…. just the hired gun?

Many of the schools are large and quite strung out with several floors and many outside doors. Which door does the guard choose to protect, because someone bent on mayhem will not follow the rules and wait to be “buzzed in” at the front door. They also won’t wait to be cleared through a metal detector. In a large school the perpetrator could smash through the over head door in a shop or maintenance area with an automobile and a guard in the upper hallway would never know and might not find out until much damage had been done.

Outside of being procedurally impractical lets examine the cost. According to The Center For Education Reform there are over 132,000 K-12 schools in the U.S.. Each school would require at least two guards to cover for absences. additionally, many are secondary schools with after school activities. Recently I was at a school sporting event where the last students didn’t leave the school until 10:00 pm. Perhaps the school districts can just take the function over and take care of scheduling like they do for substitute teachers. Each school district would have a new Administrative Director Of School Security and would handle normal daily assignments as well as requests for personnel to cover after school activities. Perhaps school clubs …. like the French Club could be asked to pay for security for their weekly meetings…. provided there wasn’t already staff on duty covering basketball practice.

And now for the cold blooded part: conservatively, it is reasonable to estimate that at least 300,000 armed guards with an annual benefit load of $50,000 would be necessary to accomplish the task. It comes to $15 Billion….. with a B. $15 Billon Dollars to protect our children against the unpredictable and random acts of madmen. $15 Billion Dollars wasted, because there IS NO protecting yourself against the random acts of the insane among us.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks. The center for education reform

According to The Center For Education Reform there are over 132,000 K-12 schools in the U.S.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Europe Claims the Nobel

Today the European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for lifting the continent out of the wars of the 20th century. Never mind that the EU or the idea of it didn’t even exist at the time.

In his speech, Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee patted backs all around. Mikhail Gorbachev was even sited for creating “the external conditions for the emancipation of Eastern Europe”.

Absent from the presentation was ANY mention of the role the United States of America played in the pacification of Europe. No mention of the 183,000 war dead spent on achieving peace in Europe. No mention of the two hundred and fifty billion ($250,000,000,000) 2011 dollars spent rebuilding the cities, economies and European society. No mention of the many tens of billions of dollars spent on defending Western Europe from Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet Union for half a century.

For the Nobel Committee to award a Peace Prize to Europe for lifting itself out of a century of war is like giving a patient who nearly died in the hospital after attempting suicide the Nobel Prize for Medicine for simply getting better while failing to mention the doctor who saved its life in even the slightest terms.

To say that it insults me would be an understatement.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


This average guy is on the record as opposing ANY compromise with progressives on fiscal matters that apply to additional government spending and tax increases. I worry about the nation’s $1.x Trillion deficit which is of course is the amount of money we spend as a nation each year in excess of what is collected in tax revenue. Each year it gets added to the national debt which now stands above $22 Trillion, which is in turn dwarfed by our unfunded liabilities (promises we have made to pay in the future) which now are approaching or exceed $124 Trillion ( I can’t keep up). Additional government spending and taxes simply takes money out of the private sector where it could find its most efficient use and puts it in the hands of government bureaucrats who first take out the government cut and then spend it where THEY think would be best. The list of benefactors always seems to be topped by the “Friends Of The Bureaucrat Benevolent Association”. It’s funny how that seems to work. But back to fiscal compromise.

Fiscal compromise is one reason why the world economy is in the shape it’s in. For many decades the path to success in the U.S. congress was to “go along and get along”. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. The secret to a long career was to bring home the bacon for your constituents so that when election time rolled around there would be no room for an opponent to criticize, or to promise to do more. This was done by agreeing to help your colleagues take home their own bacon. We’ve all seen “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”. We all know how it works, but we also know that there isn’t really a crooked politician out there with the sense of decency to put a gun to his or her head in shame.

But what’s the harm. A Billion dollars here a Billion dollars there. The government spends a Billion dollars every two hours and fifteen minutes. Who’s going to miss another Billion? Only they don’t get spent a single billion at a time generally. Generally they get spent by the hundreds of billions and not for one time purchases….. but ongoing, and constantly growing programs require a continuing, and ever increasing source of revenue to fund.

So the spending and debt go up and up and everything’s cool. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and then something unexpected happens: Unexpected, but predictable, AND predicted. A policy of increasingly easy home mortgage financing promoted and then aggressively pushed by the federal government creates the “housing bubble” which finally bursts and crashes the economy of the entire Western world.

And so here we are, trying to put out a fire by throwing buckets of ethanol on it.

One “compromise” and a way to help reduce spending put forward has been to trade four dollars of spending cuts for a measly one dollar of tax increases. How can THAT be a bad deal? Well, here’s how: It’s a charade to start with, because they’re not really going to “cut” anything, they’re just going to reduce the amount that spending would normally increase. And, if you don’t spend four dollars (a spending cut) then you don’t have to take it from someone, or borrow it. In our current situation where we borrow forty cents of every dollar the government spends it means that two dollars and forty cents would be left in the private sector where it could be used to buy capital equipment and produce jobs. But a one dollar tax increase is like a cancer. It’s like a cancer because it never goes away. Once you have a tax there’s no taking it back. There’s no taking it back because once the congress has assured access to it they spend it, not just one time, this year, but far into the future, every year from now on. The government doesn’t buy “things” with fixed costs. No. The government buys programs, and every year those programs grow and require increased funding. So…. over the popular ten year window, a one dollar tax increase will net the government ten dollars and all they had to give up to get it was a measly two dollars and forty cents. That’s over a 400% return on their “compromise”.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.