By Matt Agorist
The mayor of Baltimore is receiving much-deserved criticism after she allocated $100,000 to bus students to a gun control rally in Washington D.C. later this month. The reason for the criticism is founded in the fact that students froze all winter long because the mayor says they have no money to fix the slew of broken heaters.
Earlier this year, students in Baltimore schools were told to bring blankets and cold weather attire to class every day because the heating systems in over one-third of all the schools were either broken or barely working. Students, faculty, and staff were forced to bundle up inside the school in January until it became so unbearable that the schools actually closed due to unsafe temperatures.
To most people, these underperforming, outdated, and broken heating systems would be a priority to get fixed. However, at the time, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh claimed that there simply wasn’t enough money to make the repairs and upgrades.
It is not just the heat either. The infrastructure in the Baltimore school system is crumbling and many students find themselves unable to even drink the water. But we see where the priorities lie.
Fast forward to March, and suddenly—in spite of claiming they have no money—the mayor has miraculously pulled $100,000 out of nowhere to bus thousands of students to a gun control rally in Washington D.C.
“America needs to hear the voices of the young people of Baltimore,” Pugh told the students before announcing the city’s plan to fund the trip to the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C., on March 24.
The $100,000 will pay for 60 buses, free t-shirts, boxed lunches and other amenities for a few thousand students who signed up to go to the rally.
While $100,000 isn’t nearly enough to fix the heating systems, it shows that basic necessities for students are taking a backseat to political theater.
As Our Community Now reports, at the time, the mayor’s office explained that the schools’ heating systems were beyond fixing because the city simply didn’t have the money to make the repairs and upgrades. Initial estimates from the American Civil Liberties Union (it’s never good when HVAC systems in schools get the attention of the ACLU) estimated that it would cost at least $2.8 billion to modernize the heating and air conditioning in Baltimore City Public Schools.
The problem became so bad that earlier this year, citizens were forced to take action outside of the government. A concerned citizen then set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to fix the problem. It was titled, “We Need Heat in Our Public Schools,” and it raised over $84,000 to provide space heaters. The mayor’s $100,000 could’ve stretched that out to further reduce suffering in schools but this did not happen.
Parents and students alike are left wondering why the mayor would justify spending upwards of $100,000 on political activism when children are suffering every single day in school.
It is no secret that Baltimore is one of the worst places in the nation as far as gun violence is concerned. And, if students want to voice their concern over this problem, they have every single right to do so. However, when the mayor spends money they don’t have to bus a few thousand students to DC for a day to call for gun control when Baltimore is already highly regulated, this speaks to the nature of such an act.
In Baltimore, there is already an “assault weapons” ban, a “high capacity” magazine ban, and special fingerprinting and reporting requirements on handgun sales. Yet their murder rate more than doubles other cities that are much larger—like Chicago.
According to WJZ, murders occur so frequently in Baltimore that the number of murders in the city is higher than the number in Philadelphia, even though Philadelphia “has two and a half times the population.” Moreover, Baltimore sees more murders than New York City, although NYC “is almost 14 times larger.”
Yes, Baltimore has a problem but all the gun control in the world is doing very little to stop guns from coming in. Even the police admit that after all the guns were banned in 2013, criminal use of banned guns skyrocketed every year after.
Proving that if you disarm a population, only criminals and cops will have guns, Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith said, “We’re dealing with absolute criminals who want as much weaponry as possible when they’re going after their targets. They’re not carrying .22s. They’re carrying the big guns that have these high capacities.”
Sadly, the mayor’s move to spend $100,000 of taxpayer money that they don’t have to send students to call for gun control that won’t work is the epitome of everything wrong with government in America.
Until politicians educate themselves on the cause of this violence, these uninformed and corrupt lawmakers will continue to focus on controlling the symptoms.
The answer lies not in banning things. In fact, it is the banning of things that creates crime. When something is outlawed, merely possessing it turns you into a criminal. Yet this does nothing to deter those willing to break the law from possessing whatever item is prohibited. The answer to lowering inner-city violence lies not in more laws—it lies in more freedom.
When drugs are legalized, gang violence drops — drastically. Not only does it have a huge effect on the localized gangs in America, but the legalization of drugs is crippling to the violent foreign drug cartels, too.
We will see more senseless killings and more innocent lives stripped of opportunity by getting entangled in the system and we will see more people getting duped into surrendering their right to defend themselves unless we focus on the cause.
The solution is staring us in the face: end the war on drugs.
In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs and opened up clean injection facilities for addicts to utilize. These facilities offer clean needles, which has stopped the spread of disease. Users are also monitored by medical staff, which has stopped drug overdoses. Violence and crime plummeted, too.
No one is claiming that it will be easy, but the science is there to support this move. Now, all we need is for the masses to understand that prohibition is immoral and causes far more problems than it ostensibly prevents. No $100,000 field trip will ever change this.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.