by David Safier
This headline in Education Week kinda caught my eye: School Police in Los Angeles Will Give Up Grenade Launchers. That's nice, I thought, the school district giving up its grenade launchers. Not much call for those in schools.
Then the article continues:
But school police there plan to keep other supplies received from the federal agency—61 rifles and a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (or MRAP) vehicle, the paper reported:
"L.A. Unified says that the M-16 automatic rifles, which were modified to semiautomatic since they were acquired in 2001, are 'essential life-saving items' and will continue to be available to trained officers. The armored vehicle will be used only under extraordinary circumstances, officials said."
When the issue is surplus military equipment like Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles for police forces, at least there's an argument to be made, though I disagree with it. But schools?
This Guns R Us defense department giveaway is going on in school districts around the country, at the K-12 and college level. Here's a list of goodies given to Arizona colleges:
A review of state-level data on the Department of Defense Excess Property Program showed 70 M-16s going to ASU and nine M-16s going to Arizona Western College in Yuma. Pima Community College received nine M-14s that a school official said are used by an honor guard.
All this excess firepower lying around, not doing anyone any good. Maybe someone should propose an initiative to beat some of it into plowshares, or John Deere tractors, or iPads or something.