This commentary is by Gregory Thayer of Rutland. He is a candidate for lieutenant governor.
As a Republican candidate for Vermont lieutenant governor, I believe that the Democrat leadership is failing Vermonters and our school children. A group of us Republican candidates with Jim Sexton held a press conference on Friday, 3 June 2022 on the steps of the State (People) House in Montpelier.
We want to express our sorrow for the killings over the past month around America. We are highly concerned with the inaction’s of the Vermont Democratic leadership here in not protecting our school children and the general public at large. We are equally sad by the ongoing gun violence in cities with some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation. Further, we are sad with senseless murder of innocent babies and no democrat running to the micro phone to protect these lives.
Four years ago this legislature adopted S.55, after the Fair Haven threat. And they have not done anything to protect your children in the government schools, other then more gun regulations nothing else. We want action to protect our children, and I am calling on the governor and legislature to return here to adopt common-sense approaches to school safety, no more senseless gun laws that do absolutely nothing. Criminals will get the weapons to kill innocent people. Albeit it’s expensive, but our children are worth the cost.
Two recent studies support that background checks and waiting periods are not effective. At the University of Missouri, two political science professors studied a 40-year (1980 to 2020) period and analyzed the data on every mass shooting in the United States during this period and found that nothing in these shootings would have changed the death outcome, even with a more comprehensive background check. Time Magazine agreed with the findings of their own 2019 study, paraphrasing, it was difficult to point to cases where more expansive background checks would have saved lives. The NY Post reported that the Uvalde shooter had been planning his rampage for months. No waiting period would have defused that murderer.
I wrote an op-ed piece recently that set out a plan to address making our schools safer for all students and educators and staff. The legislature has failed the people. It is time we work to implement safe measures:
- 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 metal detectors in schools 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.
- Allow highly trained educators and staff to carry and conceal a firearm.
This week on these steps the Senate Democrats took a victory lap on this past session’s legislation — but no protection for school children from violence. I’m tired of Democratic reps calling for more gun grabbing and controls. It does not work. Also, Sen. Baruth is planning to introduce more gun regulations.
Step up people, and look outside the box. What you are doing is not protecting our children and fellow Vermonters. It’s time the “We The People” demand action to protect our children and all people.