Keelan: It is time to send the Vermont National Guard to Burlington

By Don Keelan

I intended to write about the five Massachusetts cities that plan to ban propane gas for heating and cooking until I read about what is happening in Vermont’s premiere city, Burlington.

A few weeks ago, several more gun shootings were reported in the city. One of the incidents was so wild that even the WCAX-TV news editor noted that the video footage was upsetting. Sure was: three individuals shooting at one another at a gas station.

That was not the only shooting that weekend, and today, the number of gun violence events in Burlington far exceeds the average for the prior five years.

Don Keelan

On the heels of this news, L.L.Bean announced it is leaving downtown Burlington and relocating its flagship store to Williston. The principal rationale was that its Burlington store had one of the country’s highest incidents of retail theft. The reasoning was the rise in homeless persons and drug-users looking to obtain funds.

The threat of violence in downtown Burlington is no longer just a perception. The downtown business sector’s association engaged a private security firm to escort late-night working staff to their cars or other means to get home safely.

If this is taking place in one of Vermont’s top tourist destinations, why not call the police? Therein lies the problem. There are few police officers left to call. The city’s governing council has eviscerated the Burlington Police Department.

Until recently, a police force of 104 is now down to 74 and will possibly head to 59 if those eligible to retire/resign do so, and chances are they will. Time will tell if the recent hiring of social/mental health workers to assist the police will be effective. Meanwhile, the shooting incidents continue.

Calling the Vermont State Police to help with the city’s violent crime increase is not a solution. That agency has its own issues in keeping the duty roster up to meet demand. With many Vermont towns requesting VSP, there are only so many troopers to provide additional coverage.

The Aug. 8, 2021 edition of VTDigger noted, “In a statement to Vermont media, Acting U.S. Attorney for Vermont Jonathan A. Ophardt has voiced deep concern over the increase in violent crime and the decrease in law enforcement capacity in the state.”

I dislike seeing the military used to accomplish local and state government responsibilities. But, it is time for Burlington’s mayor to request the governor send the Vermont National Guard to Burlington and have it augment the city’s shrinking and overwhelmed police force.

The Mayor of Burlington and most members of the city’s Police Commission have asked for additional police officers: 8 more. At its Aug. 9th meeting, the City Council voted not to increase the police force.

In the meantime, the “perfect storm” has arrived for Burlington: summer is here; the police are not around; the fall-out from illegal drug use is ever-present; the judicial system is backed-up, dealing with hundreds of cases from prior years; and fear is on the minds of many.

It is time for the governor to address what is taking place in Burlington. Vermont has experienced one epidemic that took a heavy toll on its people, businesses, schools, and government. We don’t need another escaping from Burlington and spreading throughout the state.

I wish Burlington was free of its public safety crises. If so, I could then focus on what the WSJ reported on Aug. 2: “Massachusetts is emerging as a key battleground in the U.S fight over whether to phase out natural gas for home cooking and heating with fears of unknown costs and unfamiliar technologies fueling much of the opposition to going all-electric.”

People of Burlington, take back your streets.

Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington, Vermont.

Image courtesy of U.S. National Guard/Public domain

20 thoughts on “Keelan: It is time to send the Vermont National Guard to Burlington

  1. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

    –Edmund Burke

  2. Are we asking the same irresponsible people who created this problem in the first place to mobilize the national guard to correct what they have done, that would seem to pose a bigger problem.

    This is similar to ignoring therapies that work on a virus having a 99% plus cure rate in favor of insisting on a remedy that has side effects much worse than the illness itself, those promoting this narrative are irresponsible!

    Yet we call in the guard, and perpetuate using the remedy with the most side effects!

    This can have No Good Outcome “NGO”, Vermont needs a complete independent forensic audit of our elections!

  3. Good police officers are dedicated to their work in protecting the community. You would never find a soy boy responding to actual violence. The city is run by juveniles and Antifa types. Why should the police respond to these areas where they may get hurt or die in the line of duty and not go home to there families?

    It appears that B town wants to be the east coast Seattle or Portland, both hell holes for regular people. The police should just quit and move on to a city or town where they are appreciated. Let the city devolve into the utopia envisioned by the idiots on the council. As reported, only 22% of voters in Ward 3 voted. That’s demonstrates that only a few care to vote and the majority of those chose lawlessness. Let them have it.

    I used to like to go to Burlington and Montpelier, no more. If this is the future of Vermont, why should anyone care? The governor just signed onto taking Afghan refugees. Will they be vetted? Did he asked? The majority of Afghan males can’t read or write. Will they be productive Vermonters? How many will come? What a mess all of this is. In 8 months we’ve gone from a stable economy and southern border to an invasion of diseased illegals boldly entering our country being flown by our government into towns and cities without being vetted or checked medically.

    The American people are to blame for their ignorance and for allowing this fiasco to happen. For our sake and sanity, pull your heads out of the sand or wherever it’s planted and pay attention. This is good for no one! It’s time to speak up or crawl back under your bed! Just one person’s disgusted opinion. If you wish to take a few Afghan refugees into your home, I’m sure King Phillip will grant your wish. I wonder how many will be invited to live at his home?

  4. what the point in having more police “military” or otherwise when the situation is created by bad prosecutors and attorney generals not enforcing the laws we have… this is a trap

    • Yes it is a trap – too bad they can’t remove the DA there – or can they? So sad as this used to be a beautiful city. Now its a liberal cesspool. Liberal Dems ruin everything and every place they touch. Most of them know what they are doing as they are deliberately trying to destroy our country (as they believe small c communism is the answer). The rest are just useless idiots too stupid to understand their party is doing this. Or don’t care as long as they get a check each month. It’s gotten to the point where the police should start working with private entities to have “accidents” for all these left wing DA’s to get rid of them as they are clearly enemy’s of the state.

  5. A spectacularly bad idea. It is not the purpose of National Guard troops to police city streets. They don’t have the training for it, nor should we be mixing civilian police with National Guard.

  6. Now that Burlington’s Third Ward has chosen whom they want to represent them, all of Burlington will need to accept the result. The rest of Chittenden County- and Vermont do not need to. It is not time to “send in the guard” and surrounding towns should not send in police beyond what current mutual aid agreements require. Burlington’s 43,000 residents consume a disproportionate amount of the State and Federal tax dollars, these city councilors had ought to figure out how to maintain order in their city. They have the money, if not the desire or ability. Surrounding towns should not be burdened with Burlington’s problems.
    Sara George, the Chittenden Cty. States Attorney along with TJ Donovan have a part in this too. George’s very liberal views on crime, bail and prosecution add to Burlington’s problems. Donovan, as Attorney General has an oversight.
    It all comes down to Burlington voters- well at least 22% of Ward Three have chosen the course for their city and all of Burlington needs to deal with it. The rest of Vermont should not.

  7. Shall I return to my hometown from sleepy, hard-scrabble West Pawlet?
    Meet up at Leunig’s? Find some place to live there?
    Reorg WESTWARD HO for all Burlington PROGS?

    -D. Morrisseau

    I am too old for this nonsense. BERNIETOWN is getting what it deserves?

  8. Looks like the people in Burlington’s 3rd ward like the way things are going in the Queen City……They just elect 26 year old Joe Magee, a Progressive and self described Socialist to the City Council…….And elected him by a sizable margin.

    So Burlington just got another kid on the City Council with no meaningful work or other experience or skills required to guide the city in a responsible direction.

    The election of Magee essentially answers the Don Keeland’s question of the National Guard to help the city…….Apparently the residents of Burlington are satisfied will the worsening downward spiral that the city is experiencing.

  9. Burlington wouldn’t need and a ” backup policing force ” if they just got rid of that gaggle
    of fools they call a city council, how pathetic, they thought being ” Woke ” and supporting
    protestors was a smart to ” defund the police ” with two shooting within two weeks, so
    this shows they are clueless about police staffing…but they are “woke ” !!!

    What do they know about what is needed for ” policing ” to make the city a safe place,
    I would think they only need evaluate the recommendations from the Police Chief and
    than have the Citizens vote for funding & personal !!

    Burlington’s Police is the most diverse department Burlington has ever had, and these
    council members say they are racist ……..buffoons playing to an agenda !!

    Burlington needs to vote them out before they destroy the City even more ………

    should come from the citizens ” Property owners ” not this council as it proves

    Burlington’s ” Real ” Citizens, not these

  10. Covid, crime, schools closed, churches chained shut, vaccine passports, and a hundred other things –
    purposeful job-lessness, $Trillions in new welfare to new jobless supplicants, +many won’t go back to jobs?!
    – all tagged on to this “man made virus” to create a new Animal House, 1984, Cuba, Argentina.
    A Brave New World, instead of an Old Obsolete USA.

    Take the United States and it’s overstuffed citizens Down, down so they can see some real world, imagined by Obama, Biden, Bidens hidden handlers, Millions of bureaucrats, CIA? China, edit your own to the list.
    – Hunter’s payoff buddies?
    Private Property and Private Earned Income are major impediments to their goals.
    The water is swirling, and we are on the brink of ‘going down’
    “They are rebelling against US!, Time for Us to Rebel AGAINST THEM! SPEAK OUT!!
    You cannot just “Sit This One Out!!” REBEL, WORK, DO YOUR THING – forcefully

  11. What, there is no Non Government Organization (NGO) that cares enough about this problem to help fix it?

    Where is the usual coalitions of partners tripping over each other to right the ship of a good cause?

    Maybe they are the ones that created Burlington’s dilemma?

  12. And yet Vermont’s dogmatic progressives still pursue their half baked ideas with Maoist severity and everyone just follows without question because they might wind up in a ‘reeducation camp’ or something, if they don’t. Personally I don’t see too many liberals around were I live. But true Vermonters are civilized people and refrain from causing scenes. It’s too bad this great state is being torn apart by scoundrels.

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