Many have heard the horrific tales of funeral directors taking advantage of grieving families by upselling and over-charging for services during a time when families are shell-shocked by the loss of their loved one. The families, unfamiliar with funeral details, are guided by funeral directors whose best interests are for themselves. A similar exploitation of emotions took place in last Tuesday’s election as public education special interests pounced on the opportunity presented in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. These interests were able to leverage the massive media frenzy and raw emotions to further pad the already bloated Broward County School District budget by increasing our property taxes.
With scant public discourse and a campaign predicated upon, “Who would vote for school shootings?”, we let the Trojan horse in the gates. Actually, just a tick over 13% of the registered voters pushed this ill-advised measure through. Some call this democracy – others call it tyranny by the minority. Regardless of the label, the increased public spending will neither make our schools safer nor improve the quality of the education provided to our children.
The Parkland massacre was an evil deed but one that could not have been prevented by more security spending. Recall that there was an armed security officer at Parkland on that fateful day but one can only lead a horse to water. Even if we spend exorbitantly to batten down our schools like airports, the deranged murderer can still strike as was proven at the Fort Lauderdale Airport just a year before the Parkland tragedy.
While emotionally wrenching, school shootings are an incredibly rare event. The probability of your child being shot at school are 1 in 614,000,000. They are much more likely to be injured or killed while traveling to and from school or playing high school sports but these events don’t garner 24-hour news coverage. They don’t trigger those painful emotions and incessant fear. Anyway, these statistics don’t matter because school security is just a well-timed ruse to sell the tax increase. The monies go into the general fund to be squandered by school district officials on their salaries, creating new administrative positions and the latest education fads.
Do not fret as this ballot initiative coup will be short-lived. Before long, the funds will be gone and another deficit is in place. The School Board, administrators and other education budget parasites will be crying to the public that our schools are underfunded and that property taxes must go up for the sake of our children. These public fleecers will look for another tragedy upon which they can piggyback their tax increase through an otherwise sleepy, mundane primary election.
by Steve Litton – Member of the County Executive Committee, Libertarian Party of Broward County