https://democracynow.org – Dozens of students who survived last week’s school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida have arrived in Tallahassee to push for new gun control measures. On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives blocked a bid to bring up a bill to ban sales of assault-style rifles in the state. 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 before he was expelled from the school. Cruz 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.
More than a hundred mothers have contacted me over the years, alarmed at the relationships their teenaged children were developing with military recruiters at school. They wanted to know what they could do about it. They were angry, and they were worried.
Ominous developments in three states this summer – Oregon, Texas, New Jersey, and one city – Chicago, provide a glimpse into the Pentagon’s new playbook to recruit soldiers from high schools across the country. In brief, the military has been engaged in a robust lobbying campaign to lower academic standards to make it easier to recruit youth.
This year the Army’s goal is to recruit 80,000 active duty and reserve soldiers. The Navy is trying to sign up 42,000; the Air Force is looking for 27,000, and the Marines hope to bring on 38,000. That comes to 187,000. The Army National Guard will also attempt to lure 40,000.
Countering military recruitment in the nation’s high schools confronts an ugly mix of a distinctively American brand of institutionalized violence, racism, militarism, nationalism, classism, and sexism. It confronts the greatest problems in American society.