At Wednesday’s press conference, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Barack Obama announced that he has tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead a new task force to solve gun violence.
There are two reasons why Obama’s good intentions will fail — Biden and the creation of his new task force.
Remember, Obama also appointed Biden as the spending “Sheriff” of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” in 2008 “to ensure that tax dollars aren’t wasted on projects that don’t deliver results.”
To you, he’s Mr. Vice President, but around the White House, we call him the Sheriff — (laughter) — because if you’re misusing taxpayer money, you’ll have to answer to him.
On Feb. 25, 2009 – “843 days ago” – CNN reported that Biden “convened the first” of what was “expected to be a series of weekly stimulus plan implementation meetings.”
“Technically speaking,” Politicfact reported in 2010, Biden “is not a member of the transparency and accountability board,” and “minutes from the group’s meetings indicate Biden has not attended any of its meetings.”
Literally “speaking,” the president said, “as part of his duty, Joe will keep an eye on how precious tax dollars are being spent.”
Furthermore, the minutes from subsequent board meetings show that Biden didn’t attend any 2011 meetings — Jan. 7 and July 11 — or the meetings held on Jan. 13 and Feb. 10 of 2012.
How can a man who allowed billions in taxpayer dollars to be frittered away through waste, fraud, failure and debt be trusted to “come up with a set of concrete proposals” that will prevent violence in our schools?
Curiously, Obama said he “asked Joe to lead this effort in part because he wrote the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country.”
According to an Aug. 2008 report by Politifact, Obama also said he chose Biden as his running mate – in part — because his bill put “100,000 cops on the streets” and started “an eight-year drop in crime across the country.”
Unfortunately, Politifact also revealed that — while “the Justice Department claimed it reached the 100,000 new police officers milestone in May 1999 — the department’s Office of Inspector General found that the actual number was closer to 60,000.”
Additionally — while a 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office did say the effect of Biden’s “COPS program was modest” — a peer-reviewed study published in the February 2007 issue of “Criminology” found that “COPS spending had little to no effect on crime.”
“This is not some Washington commission,” Obama insisted Wednesday.
This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reforms right now.
However, Brietbart’s Mike Flynn reported that the creation of this task force “means almost the opposite.”
In Washington, blue-ribbon task forces are reserved for issues where you want the appearance of taking action, without having to actually do anything. There’s a reason we’ve had so many task forces on government spending and the debt. Politicians want to look like they are doing something on an issue. By the time the task force completes its work, the national conversation will have moved on to a new issue.
According to Flynn, “task forces” ultimately serve “to slow down” rather than expedite “a push for legislation.”
Legislators can defer taking action while the task force completes its “review” of the issue. It’s a very convenient way to kick an issue down the road until after the immediate emotions have cooled.
Case and point, in 1999 — just weeks after shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado — the National Association of Attorneys General created the “Task Force on Youth Violence and School Safety.”
The Task Force issued its “Report and Recommendations to the States,” based on information gathered from an F.B.I. document — “The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective” – which was presented at the June 1999 Leesburg, Virginia Symposium.
The document made recommendations regarding early childhood development, after school programs, volunteer mentoring programs, mechanisms for students to anonymously report threats, partnerships between schools and law enforcement, and the need for every school to design a safety and crisis management plan.
In a video, published on YouTube by the White House on Thursday, Obama said he tasked Biden with leading an effort to come up with a “comprehensive set of serious proposals to keep our children safe, including strengthening school safety, improving mental health care and addressing a culture that too often glorifies guns and violence.”
He wants it done by January.
As reported by Examiner Dec. 16, in her introductory letter in “The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective,” former United States Attorney General Janet Reno also proposed that the same approach would “keep our children safe” in the aftermath of Columbine.
“Communities around the country are proving that prevention and intervention strategies that help keep our kids out of trouble do work,” Reno wrote. “It is, therefore, critical that we do all we can to identify young people who need our help and then get them the help they need.”
We have shown that if communities, schools, government and other key players pull together to address the roots of the violence we can make America safer for our children.
While that “task force” began its work in 1999 — the “final report” – “Report and Recommendations to the States”– wasn’t published until Sept. 2007.
Despite the admission that “there have been numerous instances of school-related violence” since the task force began its work, they still concluded that “the information contained in “Report and Recommendations to the States” remained “relevant and informative.”
As reported by Denver Westword on Dec. 17, there have been 130 gun related incidents at America’s schools and universities since Sept. 2007, including an event that occurred on Sept. 21, “when a freshman at Delaware State University” – in Biden’s home state – “shot and wounded two other students at a campus dining hall.”
As reported Monday by The Washington Post, Connecticut has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws. Those laws didn’t “make America safer” for 20 children and six educators.
For all of the task forces and their subsequent reports, Adam Lanza was never given the “help” he needed.
Since the 1999 Columbine shooting – and the host of reports full of “serious proposals” written to “address the roots of the violence” and “make America safer for our children” that followed — there have been 179 gun related acts of violence in our nation’s schools.
Still, in the aftermath of each shooting, the same stories emerge.
When we ask “why,” we inevitably find ourselves facing the same answer — that all of those “recommendations regarding early childhood development, after school programs, volunteer mentoring programs, mechanisms for students to anonymously report threats, partnerships between schools and law enforcement, and the need for every school to design a safety and crisis management plan” fell apart in the dry-rot of apathy — and then we forget, until the next shooting occurs, and another task force is formed to write new report full of more “serious proposals.”
To ensure that the new effort will fail, Obama has chosen to create another “task force” and to put Biden in charge.
When it comes to obtaining results, “task forces” and “serious proposals” are useless without action and diligence.
Placing a man who has proven to deliver neither in charge of the “task force” exemplifies Einstein’s definition of insanity.