Trump Wants to Turn Our Schools Into War Zones

The first month of 2018 isn’t over and already there have been 11 school shootings this year that left five people dead. The ignorant bully who currently occupies the White House explained his response to U.S. mayors yesterday.

I’ll have a hard time explaining how angry this makes me. But perhaps we can start with the fact that the program he is referring to, the Pentagon’s Law Enforcement Support Office, supplies local law enforcement agencies with grenade launchers, high-caliber firearms, camouflage gear, and armored personnel carriers. Trump might be the only person in the country to not have heard why the Obama administration ended the program. It happened when law enforcement used that kind of equipment to turn communities into war zones in response to protests over police shootings of unarmed black men.

Trump has, of course, reinstated the program, which is bad enough. But to suggest that turning schools into war zones with grenade launchers and armored personnel carriers will keep our children safe leaves me at a loss for words. It is utterly insane.

There is some truth to the idea that Trump says these kinds of things precisely because it gets that kind of response from liberals. That is exactly what people like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopolous have been banking on for a while now. So if Trump were nothing more than a grifter trying to make a buck off of liberal outrage, I’d give him a pass just like to do with the other grifters. But this is the President of the United States suggesting that we turn our schools into war zones—and providing local law enforcement with the equipment to do so. I simply can’t ignore that.

To calm myself, I went back to a story about how a school shooting was actually stopped back in 2013. I doubt that Trump paid any attention to it because the person responsible for saving lives was a black woman who demonstrated more courage than he could ever imagine. Her name is Antoinette Tuff.

Antoinette Tuff says her faith guided her through the scariest moment of her life. On Aug. 20, 2013, she was working in the front office of the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., when a 20-year-old gunman stormed in with an AK-47 assault rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition.

While on the phone with police, Tuff calmed the gunman down. More than 800 students and 100 employees were at the school that day; not one was injured. Later, she was publicly recognized by everyone from her pastor to President Obama.

Ms. Tuff is everything that Donald Trump is not, which is why all 800 students and 100 employees at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy were safe that day.

I am fully aware of the fact that not every school shooter would respond in the same way that Michael Hill did that day. But I can also tell you Ms. Tuff was willing to put her own life on the line to save lives, something that many of us wouldn’t have the courage to do—especially not Donald Trump. Instead, he wants to turn our schools into war zones, which is a guarantee that more children will die.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.