Only a few days after the horrific massacre of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos in Uvalde, Texas last week, governments across the country have seized on the tragedy to drum up support for the police and the “hardening” of schools with additional security measures.
A little over a week prior to Tuesday’s shooting, a racially motivated assault was carried out by a fascist gunman in a Buffalo, New York grocery store, killing 10. The shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have furthermore taken place amidst a string of mass shootings and other violent events pointing to a deep social crisis in the United States.
Last weekend, a Goldman-Sachs employee on a subway train in lower Manhattan was fatally shot by a gunman, in an apparently random act. In early April, a racially motivated shooting took place in a Brooklyn subway station, injuring 29. There have been several other violent occurrences in the New York City public transit system this year.
The administration of Eric Adams, a Democrat, former cop and self-proclaimed “Law and Order” mayor of New York, has used these national and local tragedies to go on the offensive in an effort to heighten police state measures against the city’s population and to redirect public anger over violence that has become an increasingly regular feature of life in the US.
On Wednesday, Education Chancellor David Banks stated in an official briefing that the municipal government was considering a measure to keep all public school building entrances locked during school hours in response to the Texas massacre. This proposal is significant, considering the fact that the New York City school district is the largest in the country.
“I spoke with the head of the principals’ union today, who suggested that we should lock our front doors,” Banks said. He continued, “[O]nce our students are in school, the front doors should be locked. And if people are coming to our schools, they need to press the buzzer. They need to do something where we can stop and we can identify who's coming in our schools. It shouldn't be such easy access.”
Similar measures to restrict school entrances were proposed in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest. Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho announced that the district’s recently updated safety protocol would also include blueprints of school buildings being shared with local police agencies.
In Texas, Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy has proposed to use COVID relief funds to similarly reduce entry points into school facilities. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has also backed the proposal to keep school doors locked during operating hours.
On the same day as Adams’ briefing, New York governor Kathy Hochul announced that state police would be sent to patrol schools across the state. She announced that increased police presence will remain in effect until the end of the school year.
At an event held in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month at the Gracie Mansion in Manhattan, Adams issued a brazen call to ramp up political support for cops on Tuesday evening. The occasion, which featured remarks by high-ranking officials and politicians of the administration, concluded with Adams segueing from the topic of the Uvalde shooting into his call for the “[Jewish] community” to join him “on a major public relations campaign to tell our entire city and country, ‘we support our police.’”
Hochul proposed to raise the minimum age for assault rifle purchases from 18 to 21 and called on legislators to back the move. The futility of the governor’s words is, however, revealed by the fact that a Supreme Court case, which has been ongoing since October 2021, has already threatened to override the state’s ability to impede weapons sales. Hochul even acknowledged this obstacle in her Wednesday briefing.
Adams, employing a more evasive cautiousness than Hochul, has attempted to shift the burden of gun control onto New York City parents, asking them to search their children’s belongings for evidence of weapons.
Reviving the narrative of a similar campaign that was popularly rejected in 2011, the New York City mayor said the following: “We’re asking parents to sit down tonight and have an honest conversation with their children to save the lives of their children. We’re asking them to foster their relationship with their child, if they know of another young person in their school that’s carrying a weapon. … This is not blaming parents, and we don’t want that message out. This is not saying parents are responsible for the crime we’re seeing. We’re saying just the opposite.”
The New York City government also announced Wednesday that it would consider the more widespread implementation of weapons surveillance technologies, despite the negative impact that these would have on the educational environment in schools. Chancellor Banks said, “No child wants to go to school and be scanned. You feel like you’re going to jail just to go to your English class. … [Y]et you can have the assuredness that nobody’s walking in this school with a firearm.”
The Democratic Party establishment’s response to the recent shootings has, in fact, differed little from that of the fascistic Republican party. The former has issued empty calls for stricter gun control measures while the latter, including ex-President Donald Trump, Cruz, and Texas governor Greg Abbott, have spoken against any and all gun restrictions. Both parties across the board, however, have made calls for bipartisanship and unity and have spoken in favor of the increased militarization of schools.
As opposed to the political establishment, the Uvalde shooting has provoked widespread popular disgust with the role of police in American society. If any further proof were necessary to show that the police serve the property interests of the ruling class rather than that of “public safety,” it was on full display during Tuesday’s events in Texas, where the local police refused to take significant action to stop Ramos as he rampaged.
“It’s hard to lie to my kids and tell them ‘don’t worry, if there’s a shooting the police will keep you safe,’” a Twitter user said.
“How do 19 police officers stand in the hallway for 40 minutes and not one of them say ‘[f***] this, I’m going in’? There wasn’t one [g******] cop ready to go? Hard to believe,” said another user.
“The cops who refused to go in and do their jobs should all be charged with involuntary manslaughter,” said another.
Speaking of the Uvalde police, one user said, “The police aren’t obligated to protect the public … Also qualified immunity … So what are they there for??”
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