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The Real Costs Of Florida’s Hasty Parkland Legislation Are Coming Out

Rod Thomson

This is the price of letting the mob, even one led by sympathetic teens, rule over sound principles: the loss of Constitutional rights and wrecked budgets.

After the deadly shooting of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school earlier this year that resulted in huge protests fronted by students of the school, the GOP-dominated Florida Legislature caved to the emotional mob and passed laws violative of Americans’ Second Amendment rights while causing havoc with the budgets of every School District and Sheriff’s Office in the state.

It’s the dirty little secret largely being ignored. This was not a well-thought-through, studied, principled piece of legislation. And it was not necessary. It would not have prevented Parkland.

Most of the news coverage focused on guns, guns, guns. The media narrative was all zeroed in on how much would the Republican Florida Legislature go against the wishes of the NRA in a pro-gun state. Quite a bit it turns out, particularly when activists bring uninformed teens into the chambers for gimmicky procedural votes specifically designed to elicit an emotional response.

The portion of the law most people know about is the one restricting gun ownership for those under 21 and requiring a three-day waiting period to buy all guns. So you can be in the military and go to war, you can be in law enforcement and engage bad guys, you can enter into contracts, you can drive trucks, you can get married and start a family — but you cannot do what the Constitution of the United States expressly protects your right to do: own a gun.

“This bill punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual,” said the NRA-ILA’s executive director Chris Cox. The NRA is suing on Constitutional grounds, which will cost plenty of money, as they have a strong case are not apt to back down.

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The second part of the Parkland legislation news coverage was over whether “we should arm teachers” — as the media framed the verbiage. This provision allows districts to voluntarily create a program where educators can volunteer to be trained on an ongoing basis and then allowed to carry a weapon on campus to defend students and others. Of course, this was roundly opposed by the guns, guns, guns crowd and it appears only a handful of rural school districts will opt in to the program.

But given very little coverage was the requirement to beef up law enforcement at the schools by requiring a school resource officer in every Florida school that did not opt for allowing school personnel to conceal carry. This is a generally popular response, despite the total collapse of law enforcement in Broward County at Parkland — where there was a school resource officer who stayed outside during the slaughter.

This is an extraordinarily expensive provision given the size of Florida as the nation’s third largest state.

There are 4,000 public schools in Florida. Law enforcement figures each school resource officer costs about $100,000 in salary, benefits, supplies and general overhead. So putting one at every school represents a $400 million endeavor statewide, towards which the state only committed $100 million. This is an ongoing, $300 million expense, every year.

And there’s the rub. The Legislature responded to the Parkland tragedy and difficult environment with not only a bad law, but one that shoves its badness down to the local level for payment.

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This has created a mini crisis among school districts, sheriff departments and the counties that fund them around the state. An average-sized school district in Florida (they are all countywide) would need to find $3 million to $5 million to accomplish this task. The big districts would need much more.

Again. Every year. While safe schools are felt to be an urgent need, what this means is taking funding from elsewhere in the operating budget — the largest single cost of which are teachers. So districts are hoping that local sheriffs will either cover all or part of the costs. But sheriffs have their own budget constraints and resource demands, including the desire of the population not inside a school building to be safe.

So this hasty legislation has pitted school districts against sheriffs when those relations were traditionally quite strong and cooperative.

Worse, it may prove impossible to even meet outside the financial constraints. Most sheriff departments have openings they cannot fill because there are not enough qualified applicants. Florida’s economy is so strong and unemployment so low (3.7 percent) that neither sheriff departments or private security companies can maintain full strength, and they are competing with each other for the few candidates that come available.

The guardian program could solve this, as it is much less expensive to train school personnel and they are already on campus, but professional school administrators prevent most from even considering it.

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The Legislature’s action means finding thousands of new sheriff deputies to be trained as school resources officers; or reducing the number of deputies patrolling the streets, making the rest of the community potentially less safe — including students when they are not in school.

This damaging legislation should never have been rammed through so quickly, despite the unconscionable way anti-gun activists marshalled and organized sympathetic students for their cause.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy.  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


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Indifference To Dramatic Parkland Changes Out The Left’s Real Goals

Rod Thomson

Rush Limbaugh raised an interesting question on his show recently. Considering all of the school safety measures, mental health spending and gun restrictions passed by the Florida Legislature in the wake of the Parkland shootings, why are the students still protesting?

It’s a reasonable question. And there is one, overriding answer, and it includes the sweeping changes made by a deep red Florida Legislature over vehement NRA opposition, the minimal Democratic support for even those changes, and the relative indifference of the demonstrators and their handlers to those changes.

First, let’s have a quick look at the laws the Florida Legislature passed just a few weeks after Parkland. They are pretty extensive and far-reaching considering how pro-gun the state has been and how short the timeframe for action was.

Perhaps the biggest and most controversial change was raising the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. This makes no sense considering the age to drive a car is 16, join the military and go to war is 18, and so on. Those arguments have been well-made by plenty of commentators. But the reality is that this was a huge concession by a very gun-friendly, GOP supermajority Legislature. But the gun-control crowd didn’t even pause in rhetoric or frenzy.

The state passed a three-day waiting period to buy most guns. This is onerous and would not have stopped any of the mass shootings. It’s a sop to the protesters at the expense of law-abiding Americans.

Banning bump stocks passed easily. There’s just not much support for them as they essentially make semi-automatics fully automatic.

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Beyond gun control, legislators included millions of dollars to improve school security and train and arm school employees. The state allotted nearly $100 million to improve school security and $67 million to pay for a new law enforcement program that would allow school districts to voluntarily train and arm employees who do not exclusively teach in the classroom. The “school marshals,” as they are called, must pass 132 hours of law enforcement training, along with a background check and additional “diversity” training.

The legislation allotted another $200 million or more to patch up weaknesses in the mental health system, which is an obvious need, but that was a chunk of unexpected spending.

One of the biggest needs at Parkland was for government, including the Broward County Sheriff Department, to do its job. On that point, a small amount of extra funding was passed to investigate law enforcement failures.

And state law enforcement was given extra power to temporarily remove weapons from people deemed to be at risk, and created a new judicial process to review removing guns and ammunition long term from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.

That is a whole lot of movement, money and restricted rights on a whole lot of fronts from a very red Legislature. It seems like a huge success for the Parkland student demonstrators and their national liberal activist handlers.

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And yet, it’s almost as if Florida did absolutely nothing. The protests rolled on. The attacks on Republicans are unabated. If anything, the rhetoric is even higher.

And so Limbaugh’s question.

The answer goes directly to the hijacking of the tragedy that took place within literal hours of the killings, when anti-gun, anti-Trump and anti-GOP activists quickly began marshalling their forces to take full advantage of the crisis — following the advice of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who suggested that Democrats should never let a crisis go to waste.

And the hijacking went like this: Give lip service to everything else but guns; Focus on guns with a passion and demonize the NRA and NRA supporters into the bogeyman. Side play: Attack all Republicans along the same lines.

The scandalous collapse of government institutions that led directly to Parkland was quickly shelved. The actual evil murderer was ignored. The policies that enable the attack between the Broward schools and sheriff, were dusted away. All the things that could have actually prevented this — the stated goal of protesters — were ignored with the help of an all-too-willing media in order to put all of the spotlight on guns.

So why not take the wins in the legislation? Even boast about them?

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Because those weren’t the goal. The changes made were a piffle. There are a lot of Democrats and activist leftists who despise guns, along with many things traditionally American. Their goal, it seems even more clear, is to eliminate the Second Amendment (as former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens recently wrote to considerable acclamation) or emasculating it to the point of being worthless both as a check on government and personal self defense.

Consider that the sweeping changes pass the Florida Senate with only three Democrats joining 17 Republicans to vote yes. Why? Democrats in both houses opposed all of the rest of the things in the bill that they wanted because it lacked an assault-weapons ban (read: semi-automatic weapons ban) and armed school personnel.

They don’t want guns in the hands of private citizens. But they do want them in the hands of government. (Note the photo with this story includes a banner from with the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice on it, a radical leftist group.)

There’s no other way to read both the hijacking of the shooting, the minimal Democratic support for the major changes the Florida Legislature made and the relative indifference of protesters to those changes.

Their goal is the elimination of virtually all guns in the hands of private Americans.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy.  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


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Why I Finally Joined The NRA

Rod Thomson

I’ve never been interested in guns. I grew up with guns. I went hunting. I own a gun. But I have no real interest in them as many of my friends and family do, who will talk my ears off about guns in much the same way many talk about cars or fishing or football.

I’ve never been a member of the NRA. Never sent them a dime. When I was a lonely conservative in a sea of liberals while working at daily newspapers in the ’80s and ’90s, I had an NRA bumper sticker posted in my cubicle for everyone to see. But that was just to drive my colleagues bananas, which it did along with the Ten Commandments plaque.

However, I’ve long understood the Second Amendment. It is clear it was the Second to buttress the First when there were eight other slots for it in the Bill of Rights. The framers considered the right to bear arms as both the natural right of humans for self defense and as a last line of defense against a government intent on destroying the rights enumerated in the First Amendment and the rest of the Constitution. A well-armed citizenry is very difficult for a tyrannical government to subjugate.

The National Rifle Association is the nation’s preeminent defender of the Second Amendment. I sometimes have thought they were too rigid in their slippery slope concept, but generally supported what they did. I just never joined.

I can’t really explain why. It’s certainly not any antipathy towards guns. It’s not any misunderstanding that the Second Amendment is about hunting. Perhaps, it was partially as a single-income family with eight children — I’m a lifelong tightwad. But really, 20 years ago, surrounded by newsroom liberals and fighting those battles on every issue, perhaps even I didn’t want to be painted as an “extremist” on just one issue.

All that has changed.

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Watching the now abusive nature of the militant and dangerous part of the left in this country, willing to use emotionally traumatized teens to further their autocratic government agenda to weaken this indispensable American right, it’s become clear that the NRA, and as importantly, its membership, is a bulwark against the further diminution of American civil liberties.

This is a straightforward response to the wild and irresponsible reactionary Left since the Parkland shootings. From the vicious attacks on NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch at the CNN “townhall” and afterwards, to the abusive use of emotional teens to pursue a radical leftist agenda by professional activist organizations such as the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter, to the Democrats smelling another opportunity to regain power — their issue du jour —  I realized that the NRA has become one of the indispensable front lines of defense for Americans and our ultimate ability to defend ourselves against attackers and our rights against a coercive government.

The NRA’s actions are about more than just gun rights. They are about the rest of the Constitution, too. They suffer the slings and arrows and absorb the blows that the Progressive Left and their propagandists in the traditional media would otherwise be aiming at individual, traditional Americans.

They form a front line of defense and they can rally a deep reservoir of traditionalist Americans like few other groups. While their focus is Second Amendment, their impact is much broader and far reaching.

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At its core, the NRA is a civil rights organization. Sure, the media and rest of the Left will scoff at that. But then they consider Al Sharpton and the Southern Poverty Law Center civil rights leaders. So they obviously don’t understand actual civil rights. But that is exactly the role the NRA is now playing in our country: Defender of American civil rights. And it may be one of the most indispensible such organizations out there because of its focus on the amendment that acts as a fists-up defense of all the others.

So if the NRA has been defending the Right that is the last-line defense for all other Rights — which is essentially what the NRA has been doing for the past 100 years, but much more so in recent decades — then the reality is that their only real extremism is in defense of liberty. And as Barry Goldwater said: “Moderation in the protection of liberty is no virtue; extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice.”

What’s may be most meaningful about the NRA is that, unlike many leftist groups funded by the likes of George Soros, its strength is not in its money, whether through campaign contributions or other promotions. The NRA has donated less than $4 million to congressional races in the past 20 years. That is essentially a rounding error in the total amount spent on congressional races in that time. Even the liberal Vox has figured this out and reported it honestly when talking about the donations to Sen. John Cornyn, who is one of the top recipients with $30,000 since 2002:

“But it was a drop in his much bigger ocean of donations. In 2014 he raised $14 million, including $57,000 from Exxon alone. The NRA was nowhere near his top 15 biggest donor contributors. All of the money the NRA has given Cornyn for more than a decade might pay for about 1 percent of his fundraising for one election cycle — and Cornyn is one of the biggest recipients of NRA cash in Congress.

No. It’s strength is in its people, in the millions of members that it bands together to protect this essential right that the framers raised up to second in line. These members vote in high numbers and they vote heavily on this issue. That is where the NRA’s power comes from — the power of democracy in action by an activated electorate.

But knowing all this, I still had not joined. Until now. Watching the now abusive nature of the militant and dangerous left in this country, willing to use emotionally traumatized teens to further their autocratic government agenda to weaken this indispensable American right, it’s become clear that the NRA, and as importantly, its membership, is a bulwark against the further diminution of American civil liberties.

And for that great and noble cause, today I’ve joined the NRA.

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Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy.  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


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