Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Brief History of ROPE

After a comment I received on one of our Facebook posts yesterday, I thought this post might be in order.

Yesterday, I was very happy to see a rather lively Facebook conversation initiated over a post concerning a central Oklahoma middle school that had instituted something called, "Lobby Guard" - a 'security' system in which all entrants to the school must SCAN in their driver's license in order to be admitted to the school. 

I pointed out - in my usual exceptionally opinionated tone - that this was ridiculous. 

The comments this post received afterward, were quite concerning to me as most of the posts defended the system as being necessary for the protection and safety of children inside.  Here are the posts made to the page with live links so that you can have the opportunity to read some of the posts shared by those who have studied the threats to our liberty posed by such 'security' systems.

One of the comments was particularly interesting:
That said, ROPE, you should stay focused on stopping CC not stretching yourself into government intrusion on our privacy. My elementary school has a lot of aliens, and I personally have seen one pedophile in my school. I signed up to be notified by the state via email about all of the registered sex offenders within 5 miles of my home. The emails come and I look them up. The son of a bitch walks right through the doors of our school! Well, this year we got Lobby Guard and I haven't seen him since. So intrusion or not, my daughter is no longer exposed to that POS. While I agree that none of that should be on our license, I also do not believe this is where your efforts should be focused. Not only that, think about the service-people who enter the building daily! The smartboard stops working and in walks a guy to fix it. He hasn't been cleared by anyone. Lobbyguard checks him out instantly.
I thought it would be interesting to point out here that ROPE began in 2008 as a reaction to the election of President Obama.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion as to what kind of a president he has been and will continue to be, however, there is literally no disputing the fact that the man's history is antithetical to the position of president of the United States of America.  His background and upbringing is full of Marxists and Communists and there is no doubt the man is not a fan of the United States.  This is not opinion nor conjecture, this is a completely fact-based assessment whether you agree or not.

Myself and another previously non-political citizen, Julie McKenzie, felt that people must not know much about the history of the United States, or civics, if we - as a population - were willing to "pledge our lives and sacred fortunes" to a man intent upon apologizing for and intent upon "fundamentally changing" the fabric of this great nation.

We studied our Oklahoma US History standards and found that, by and large, Oklahoma neither teaches the founding of this nation, nor the process of civic government.  We lobbied our state government officials to create a curricula through which schools must teach the Constitution and basic civics and, though passed by the House, the Senate refused to see the importance of the bill and it died - twice.  Shortly after that, more and more educational research organizations came out with research saying exactly what we had begun ROPE to highlight - students all across America are (by and large) not receiving an education on the founding history of this country, nor the Constitution, nor basic civics.

From that point, we went on to tackle State Question 744 - a large tax measure, proposed by the Oklahoma Education Association and its parent, the National Education Association, to further fund education in Oklahoma.  Our position at ROPE has been - since the inception of this organization - that school funding is adequate, it is simply not being directed to the classroom, instead, being usurped at the administrative levels.  We stand by that claim today.  We need much less money in administration in Oklahoma education, and more at the building and classroom level.  The money is there, it must be forced DOWNWARD.

As you can see, ROPE has never simply been about Common Core.  We began our organization under the premise that American students are not being properly educated in their Constitutional rights.  It was EXCEPTIONALLY clear after this particular flurry of activity over school 'security' systems, that our mission was an accurate one and one from which we will not waiver.  This quote from Samuel Adams explains well, why:

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."
--Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775
In closing, I will reiterate more succinctly the point I was trying to make on this post yesterday; school security systems are:

1.  A flagrant violation of the 4th Amendment - presumption of INNOCENCE.  In America, we are presumed INNOCENT until proven guilty.  The Lobby Guard assumes you are GUILTY.  This system robs you of your right to due process and a right to be charged with a crime.  No, it doesn't matter if you are innocent or not (I often hear, "Well I'm not doing anything wrong, so what do I care?"), if that machine goes off, you will be held until you can PROVE you are INNOCENT.  This is in direct violation of your rights under the Constitution.

2. A flagrant violation of the 5th Amendment - due process.  In America, because we are innocent until proven guilty, we need not implicate ourselves in a crime by providing information to ANYONE that might secure our guilt.  This system takes DATA from the back of your card and uses it against you - not in a court of law - not because you were found guilty of a crime - but because the school SEES you as a threat to safety.

3.  These systems do not work and evidence done by objective organizations has shown this to be true. 
     a.  Pedophiles enter the building as employees of the state.  The chances of the UPS man molesting your child at school is infinitesimal in comparison to the chances your child would be molested by a school employee - a person who has already checked in using the system.       
    b.  The system can and HAS misidentified people who then must prove their INNOCENCE taking hundreds of thousands of actual dollars and time off work. 
    c.  If a person has a gun, they will simply shoot out the windows and enter.

The research is there on this issue.  Please study the available sources instead of allowing your emotions to drive your thoughts.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  Benjamin Franklin,  Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin (1818).