Vets for Peace has long been concerned about the military presence in our schools. Recruiters visit with students at lunchtime every day, unduly influencing the decisions of vulnerable young people at a critical time in their lives. The fact that 13-year-old children are being trained to use automatic weapons echos the child soldiers whose recruitment we condemn in war zones in Africa and the Middle East.
The glorification of war in order to recruit our children to the military is not so much about the safety of American citizens as it is about the profitability of war for military contractors and the weapons industry including the NRA supported gun manufacturers and dealers.
Furthermore, the recruitment of male, mostly white killers is enabled not only by NRA policy but by every police killing where officers walk, every claim of immunity to the law by the elites, including those in public office and every dog whistle and outright white supremacist statement made daily. The toxic assumption our boys are taught by part of our culture is that males are entitled to act violently with impunity. This has led to an epidemic of violence, especially for those children without the love and support they need at home. That there is not more violence is a testimony to the fact that most American families are loving and supportive and raise amazing children. Unfortunately, the factors I mention above bred in militarism and its partner greed are increasingly leading to their deaths in schools across America. We must fight against these influences every day to protect our children. Let’s start with making sure every high school senior who turns 18 this year registers to vote and goes to the polls.
The Florida gunman, a 19-year-old white former student named Nikolas Cruz, was a member of the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, and was also part of a four-person JROTC marksmanship team at the school which had received $10,000 in funding from the NRA. For more, we speak with Pat Elder, director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, an organization that confronts militarism in schools. He’s the author of “Military Recruiting in the United States.”