Gregory Thayer: Action needed now to protect Vermont school children

This commentary is by Gregory Thayer of Rutland. He is a candidate for lieutenant governor.

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, Connecticut, in 2012, and in many other shootings.

Gregory Thayer

Gregory Thayer

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, Wisconsin, massacre, their own cars — to kill and maim.

Clearly, this is a mental health problem.

Look at the racist thug in Buffalo, New York, 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, Vermont, 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, Gov. Phil Scott and the Vermont Legislature approved 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 Joe 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 eighth-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!

As your next lieutenant governor, I will fight for these common-sense approaches to protecting our children and the general public. I pledge that I will never support taking your constitutional rights.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Gregory Thayer

11 thoughts on “Gregory Thayer: Action needed now to protect Vermont school children

  1. I’m with Jay on the school choice as a solution.
    I think this is a great idea actually, when you really think about it.
    In places that have school choice, there are schools strong in sports, or tech, the Trades, the Arts.
    Parents pick what they want accordingly to the interests of the child.
    So add some security onto that list.
    Let parents also decide if they want to go to a school with armed guards or not.
    Let the free market sort it out. If secured schools are popular, that will create some needed competition and we all win when there is that driving things to do better. OR it might be a loser of an idea and then we’ll learn from that too. It’s a good thing to try I think.
    If parents want it in their schools, then make it happen.

    I also think that although we all know that mental illness plays a huge part of the gun violence, this is a very slippery slope.. who gets to define that- the people that think men can have babies?
    Do a search “Bolsheviks Weaponized Psychiatry”, read all of that and you’ll know why we don’t want to go there.

    • School choice = healthy competition…….sorely needed today and tomorrow and looking forward for every child and parents in this state.

    • American thinker’s article describes the same playbook here in Vermont used by dem/progs. Critical race theory, State employees subjected to racial diversity and inclusion mandatory training and a governor who basically called all Vermonters (the white ones) racist. It’s a movement to destroy our country, plain and simple. Americans are now taught to hate America by the media and the indoctrination in public schools. Read this article and you will see the plan by the democrats to control every thought, institution, business and government. Ignore all of this at your own parrel. Remember that old saying that ended with, “And then they came for me and there was no one left to defend me”? Change is in the wind and you better get on board.

  2. Posted elsewhere, but just as appropriate here are some actions to be considered:

    Our money is protected by armed guards in banks. Our nuclear power plants are protected by armed security forces. College campuses have their own armed police units. Elitist Hollywood stars and elected officials are protected by armed security even while attending anti-gun rallies. Are our children somehow less worthy of such protection as they spend most of their waking hours in “gun free” public schools? Law enforcement (if they are available) responds only after the 911 call is made…and that can be too late to save a life. School staff should be given opportunity to volunteer to be trained, armed, and ready to respond to anyone that would threaten the children in public schools. THAT’S PROTECTING THE SCHOOL CHILDREN!

    Mental health information needs to be included in the database that is accessed when doing background checks on individuals wishing to purchase firearms. Authorities must be conscientious in providing current and accurate information to that database. Law enforcement must follow up on every reported potential threat. THAT’S PROTECTING THE SCHOOL CHILDREN!

    One issue that has been overshadowed by the opioid drug crisis is that an overwhelming number of school shootings have been linked to the use of psychotropic drugs. (See the link below. It’s an older posting but still relevant)

    Too often, drugs are prescribed to make some children more “manageable” because care providers and others may lack necessary skills to deal effectively with the problems. Parents, care providers, and psychologists must end the proliferation of prescriptions that transform children into zombies and can present adverse after-effects in their later years. THAT’S PROTECTING THE SCHOOL CHILDREN!

    Democrats (RINO’s included) have exploited every shooting incident in order to further their anti-gun agenda with blatant disregard for the Constitution. Restrictions on Second Amendment rights signed into law by Governors in states like New York, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and Vermont accomplish absolutely nothing in preventing violence as happened in Buffalo and Texas. Gun laws are only effective when they are duly and properly enforced, and there are plenty of gun laws at the federal level that just aren’t being duly enforced. To verify this truth, one needs only to look to Chicago. This city has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Yet, “mass shootings” involving children are a regular occurrence there and actual prosecutions for violating federal gun laws are only performed in a small percentage of cases. Criminals pay no attention to laws of any kind, that’s why they’re called criminals. Restrictions on firearms ownership infringes on the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves against those for whom laws are irrelevant.

    Whatever your opinion of NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, he was absolutely correct when he stated, “…the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I am a husband, a father of five, a grandfather of eight, a Life Member of the NRA, and I’m one of those “good guys”. I will defend and protect my home, my children, my grandchildren, and my country with the freedoms granted me by the Constitution. I am not a subject of any government. I am a law-abiding free American citizen protected by the Bill of Rights which includes the Second Amendment. I resent anyone labeling me as some sort of radical, especially the biased media and elected representatives who have sworn to “.…support and defend the Constitution of the United States…”. Come November and beyond, I will vote accordingly and would urge everyone else to do the same.

  3. 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.”

  4. I suspect that one of the biggest problems are the violent killing and be killed video games. These games are brainwashing these kids thinking that they can play a game and kill many in the game, and if killed, he can start the game again with all of those that he killed are alive again. 6 to 8 hours per day of playing those kill them all games are partially responsible for their fantasy games being played for real. IMO

  5. To add to the comment above, isn’t it time that we started healing Vermont’s mental illness problem before we try to heal the planet? What arrogance believing these politicians can heal the planet from Vermont. It’s not ignorance, it’s greed and a faulty ideology.

    Billions of dollars from the covid fiasco wasted on electric busses and charging stations that 90% of us will never use. Foolish gun laws that do nothing to protect our schools, wasted time and effort to pander. We must do something they say, so put your greed and climate religion on the back burner and forget it. Time to tackle the real problem of mental health and the lack of state support for doing anything to stop drugging children and starting to solve real problems. Drop the donor fed imagined climate scare tactics for the uninformed sheep.

    Phil Baruth will try to restrict more firearms in the senate and his accomplice Martin LeLond in the house will join hands in an ideological dance to destroy Vermonter’s freedom to own and possess firearms for their defense and the safety of their families. The criminals will join in their dance knowing that applying their criminal trade and lawless endeavors will be easier with unarmed law-abiding people now defenseless.

    I can’t understand how a lawmaker elected to office and required to take an oath to defend and not harm our constitution is allowed to do just that. Their oaths are worthless. They aren’t leaders because leaders actually solve problems and the degradation of our state and countries mental health is the cause of much of these shootings, nothing to do with the NRA.

    Mr. Thayer has my support and anyone with a functioning brain should be able to understand that the progressive policies of this state created in Montpelier are killing Vermont from the head down. We desperately need new leadership and this article shows it in this candidate. For disclosure, I have never met this man.

  6. I like the way the left and Vt’s RINO Governor, jumps on the gun bandwagon, instead of
    addressing the real problem ” mental issues ” these feckless fools show their true colors
    and look for an easy way out from their incompetence, it’s always the gun and not the
    perpetrators of these tragedies !!

    In every one of these school shootings, the shooter was known to have issues and nothing
    was done by the parents, the school officials, or law enforcement, bloods on their hands
    not mine, or any other law-abiding gun owner………………

    We can send $50 billion to Ukraine safety, but we can’t protect our kids ……. how Pathetic !!

    • our Governor has been on the band wagon …every tuesday (and im sure in his sleep) for the past 2.5 years…… sick of it, like a fad…….these are your only choices and on and on…..
      School choice and NEW management in this state and TERM LIMITs across the board with NO special considerations after “service” (which it is far from at this point on-high down to local level)
      our forefathers did not intend for “career politicians”; go do service ..go home to your income producing job, business, farm……….
      this is so crazy now…….and out of control
      politics are pitting us against one another and it is a PLAN………

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