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Bill Gates and a legislative bill that must be opposed

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“Hopefully, some day, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career . . . . We want to see more states build comprehensive systems that track students from pre-K through college and then link school data to workforce data.”

– Former U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

The last generation of free Americans has already been born. Those belonging to this generation are not infants as you might expect, but are in their mid-twenties and in their final year of college. They are the last, the end. Allow me to explain.

As you read this article, a bipartisan, legislative grenade lays patiently awaiting detonation in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The bill is the just latest pineapple brought forth by Republican turncoats and data-hungry Progressives, traitors to the citizenry, launched for the explicit purpose of demolishing the last barricade securing the privacy of every American, the last blockade between liberty and tyranny. Once the pin is pulled, the Founders’ dream of a limited government will be obliterated, along with the free world. Support for the bill is growing.

Background: Bill Gates and the Pursuit of the Totalitarian “Benevolent” State

In my last article, I wrote about Bill Gates’ October 19th speech to the Council of the Greater City Schools in which he declared his dedication to ensuring that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) remain in place. Gates then introduced several of his foundation’s new initiatives geared toward securing Nationwide CCSS uniformity and compliance. His big focus? Data. Lots and lots of data. And a shared database. And data teams. And schools and data teams all sharing the data on the database.

Behaviorists and totalitarians of all stripes have long desired to establish a national database on each citizen in order to track us, study us, and even to manipulate us from the cradle to the grave, our every move recorded and choreographed like an epic drama. Of course, we should have absolutely nothing to fear. Our own benevolent state would never bring about a 1984-esque reality. I doubt any “benevolent intentions” will lend comfort to the thousands of students spied upon in the privacy of their own home by Pennsylvania’s Lower Marion School District, where students were photographed through district-issued laptops. (Some students were even disciplined by school administrators for behavior carried out in the privacy of their own homes.)

A similar situation is occurring in Rhode Island in which breaches of privacy are so egregious that the ACLU has filed a report on the matter. In fact, the breaches of student privacy being carried out by technology companies and school districts across America are the subject of an intensive study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF released a scathing report on the state of student privacy in America in April of this year. Nevertheless, we are supposed to feel assured that none such events would ever come about, or, at the very least, would not worsen with the creation of a national database storing the secrets of our most intimate moments.

Right…

Fortunately for us, a federal ban on the creation and management of a centralized student-data system impedes Mr. Gates’ grand scheme. Ever persistent, Bill Gates, through his “philanthropy,” will create sub-national “networks of schools.” By focusing on the establishment of these “networks of schools,” the data-sharing can begin, without the involvement of the federal government, for now.

However, all of that is about to change.

College Transparency Act of 2017: euphuism* in action

Awaiting passage is the College Transparency Act of 2017, “which has bipartisan support in both chambers, would reverse a 2008 ban on creating a nationwide student data system and expand data collection while tracking a number of data points for all students” (NACUBO.org). In short, this bill authorizes the government to create a lifelong, postsecondary student data system: the government will track the careers (etc.) of all citizens for the duration of their lives. Thus, the transparency demanded in this bill is not that of dear, daddy government. The transparency is meant for you!

“Many states also gather precisely the information that the federal government is banned from seeking, some with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

–  John Marcus, The Atlantic, October 24, 2017

Perhaps this bill wouldn’t be of such concern had the Obama administration not gutted the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), making it possible for your information to be shared with 3rd parties, such as the “data teams” which will be involved in Bill Gates created “networks of schools.”

Turncoat Republicans, past and present

The bill is being sponsored by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Warren (D-MA), Cassidy (R-LA), and Whitehouse (D-RI). Sadly, this is just the latest in a long line of legislative attempts at subverting the American public’s right to privacy, and is merely the latest example of the Republican party betraying their limited-government platform. The following list, while far from being comprehensive, offers a brief timeline of the “benevolent” governments’ encroachment into the private lives of the citizenry.

  • 1974: The Student Data Handbook for Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education lists employed a three-digit-code to catalogue major categories of student information.  The handbook specifically limits how the information may be used and by whom, in addition to strictly prohibiting the ability of 3rd parties to share private student information that was received. This handbook series, also known as the State Educational Records and Reports Series, was first begun in 1953. By the 2001 update, those privacy safeguards had been removed. For more information, see page 14 of the 1974 handbook (linked above).
  • 1974: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was proposed by Senator Buckley and signed into law by President Ford. “In a speech explaining the Act to the Legislative Conference of Parents and Teachers, Senator Buckley said FERPA was adopted in response to ‘the growing evidence of the abuse of student records across the nation,’” (epic.org). FERPA granted students and parents the right to review their educational records, and limited schools’ abilities to share information, including data which could be used to personally identify a past or present student.
  • 1989: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) began construction of “an interstate student records transfer system” called ExPRESS (Exchange of Permanent Records Electronically for Students and Schools)  (Blumenfeld, 2012).
  • 1991: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) awarded a three-year contract to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), also connected to the Common Core State Standards, “to facilitate the implementation of a national education data system” in what was called the Education Data System Implementation Project(EDSIP) (Blumenfeld, 2012).
  • 2001: The Student Data Handbook for Elementary, Secondary, and Early Childhood Education (2001 edition), listed some 400 data points to be collected on every student in America. The following are quotes from the “handbook”.
  • -“They also provide the flexibility necessary to supply aggregate data to school boards, state and federal governments, and other interested parties…[…] for all students, in all places, and at all times.”
  • -“In addition, the Handbook may be useful to elected officials and members of the public interested in student information.”
  • 2002: (20 U.S.C. § 9501 et seq) The federal government began the Statewide Longitudinal Data System grant to incentivize the states to build identical databases so that the data can be easily shared.
  • 2004: Representing Microsoft, Bill Gates signed a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to “help remove barriers to digital inclusion,” according to UNESCO’s website. In addition to a shared commitment to developing global teacher curriculum, this unholy alliance focused on the creation of “web-based communities of practice, which will facilitate the pooling of intellectual resources independently of geographical barriers.”
  • 2005: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) carried out a feasibility study on the possibility of a national unit record system. Student data collected would be used “to evaluate trends within particular institutions in order to compare institutions’ performance and would include demographic and identification information (such as Social Security number, ethnicity, and gender), registration and program information (credits attempted, major, dates of attendance), graduation information (status and time to completion), and financial aid (net price paid, sources of financial aid)” (emphasis mine) (newamerica.org). Later that year, the Department of Education released a plan“that would create a national database of student records — with students identified by Social Security numbers,” (Jaschik, 2005).
  • 2008: “The Education Department issued regulations amending the FERPA. These amendments made several significant changes to the FERPA regulations. For example, in light of the Supreme Court decision in Owasso Independent School Dist. No. I011 v. Falvo (534 U.S. 426 (2002)), the regulations exclude ‘grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and record by a teacher’ from the definition of ‘education records.’ The amendments also changed the definition of ‘personally identifiable information’ to include a definition for ‘biometric record.’ Under the regulations, biometric information includes ‘fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.’ Additionally, the 2008 regulations permit educational agencies and institutions to disclose education records without consent to ‘contractors, consultants, volunteers, and other outside parties providing institutional services and functions or otherwise acting for an agency or institution,”’ (emphasis mine) (epic.org).
  • 2008: In 2008, Congress passed a Student Unit Record (SUR) ban (20 U.S.C § 7911) as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. “The ban works by preventing individual-level data collected by different agencies from being connected.  For example, individuals’ income history is collected by the IRS, but while the ban is in place, that information cannot be connected with that student’s level of education, college or university, major program, or use of financial aid for college in a national data system,” (newamerica.org). The ban also strictly prohibits the federal government from maintaining a centralized database.
  • 2009: The Stimulus Bill of 2009, required states to construct particular student and teacher data bases in order to receive money from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.
  • 2009: Obama’s Race to the Top program financially incentivized (paid) states to adopt the Common Core State Standards, to adopt assessment aligned with the CCSS, and to expandtheir data collection program. CCSS assessment consortia PARCC and Smarter Balancedboth signed cooperation agreements with the US Department of Education, giving the DoED access to all student-level data, on an on-going basis, for research.
  • 2011: The federal government issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The Electronic Privacy Information Center responded to the DoEd. In an article detailing the timeline of events surrounding the federal government’s eradication of privacy protections and EPIC’s sumsequent law suit against the DoED, EPIC states, “The proposed regulations removed limitations prohibiting educational institutions and agencies from disclosing studentpersonally identifiable information, without first obtaining student or parental consent. For example, the proposed FERPA regulations reinterpreted FERPA statutory terms “authorized representative,” “education program,” and “directory information.” This reinterpretation gives non-governmental actors increased access to student personal data,” (emphasis mine). The Department of Education’s proposed changes essentially gutted FERPA, making it little more than ink on paper. EPIC’s lawsuit was dismissed by the court, claiming that neither EPIC nor its co-plaintiffs had standing to file the lawsuit. TheEducrats won.
  • 2012: An Education Department report, entitled Enhancing, Teaching and Learning through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics states, “A student learning database (or other big data repository) stores timestamped student input and behaviors captured as students work within the system.” The report continues, “A predictive model combines demographics data from an external student information system) and learning/behavior data from the student learning database track a student’s progress and make predictions about his or her future behaviors or performance.”
  • 2012: “Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act in February 2012. This bill did not seek to overturn the 2008 student unit record ban, but rather to tie existing state-level student unit record systems together. Institutions would report data to their state, which would then report the data to a third party. The third party would connect all data, add income information, and then report the connected data to the Department of Education. The House version of this bill was also introduced in February 2012 by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA),” (newamerica.org). The bill stalled.
  • 2013: An Education Department report, entitled Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century provides a vision for the future, a future in which databases are only the beginning. Interestingly, the report provides information on technology that is already in use through government-funded tutoring programs: what is revealed sounds more like a psychological sci-fi movie than a tutoring program. “Connections to neuroscience,” the report states, are “beginning to emerge.” It is effectively candy for behaviorists. The report then describes several technological tools already used by publics school programs “to get inside students’ minds and ‘measure’ the children using ‘four parallel streams of affective sensors.’ Among the devices is a facial recognition camera used to ‘detect emotion and capture facial expressions.’ The report explains that the camera is connected to software that ‘extracts geometric properties on faces.’ There is also a ‘posture analysis seat’ and ‘pressure mouse.’ Finally, the report describes a ‘wireless skin conductance sensor’ strapped to students’ wrists. According to the report, the sensors collect ‘physiological response data from biofeedback apparatus that measures blood volume, pulse, and galvanic skin response to examine student frustration’” (Blumenfeld & Newman, p. 216, 2014). Just imagine the possibilities, had this technology been available to the Cheka!
  • 2013: “Senators Wyden and Rubio introduced a different bill,” the Student Right to Know Act of 2013, “that would repeal the student unit record ban instead of connecting existing student unit record data systems as the 2012 bill sought to do. This new bill called for one, central reporting organization for all institutions receiving funding for federal financial aid. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) introduced the House version of the bill,” (newamerica.org). The bill stalled.
  • 2015: “In May 2015, the latest version of the Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Warner (D-VA). After introduction and reading of the bill, it was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. In the same month, the House version of the bill, co-authored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Mia Love (R-UT), was introduced. The bill was co-sponsored by Reps. John Carney (D-DE), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Susan Davis (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA). The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce,” (newamerica.org). The bills stalled.

“To know all this, of course, we have to know pretty much everything Johnny does, throughout his lifetime.”

– Jane  Robbins, Truth In American Education

Opposition to the bill

The College Transparency Act of 2017, is such an egregious violation of privacy upon the American Citizenry that a coalition “of organizations, including the ACLU, Parents Across America  and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy recently sent a letter to the federal Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking opposing any type of federal database,” (Tenth Amendment Center). The following quotes are drawn from the letter.

“We strongly oppose any proposal that would lead to the creation of a central federal clearinghouse or linked data sets containing the personally identifiable information (“PII”) of all students, commonly referred to as a federal student unit-record system or national database. We cannot overstate the threat to student privacy that would be posed by the development of such a database, including breach, malicious attack, or use of student PII for purposes not initially intended.”

“Data collected ostensibly for the sole purpose of research but without the individual’s consent or knowledge would likely be merged with other federal agency data sets, to follow students into the workplace and beyond, and could include data from their military service, tax returns, criminal and health records. If this granular level of sensitive information were available in a universal U.S. student record database, it could quickly become a go-to repository for purposes that should never be allowed.”

In conclusion

This bill, which includes up to 700 areas of personal data (data points) is a dream come true for every want-to-be totalitarian, from Joseph Stalin to Nicolas Maduro to Bill Gates. The Tenth Amendment Center (linked above) has listed ways in which we can organize and oppose this encroachment into our private lives. I encourage you to read those suggestions, as well as explore the various resources which I have provided in this article (links). Call and write your representatives. It would certainly appear that the members of our legislature are in need a bit of education themselves, as they’ve evidently forgotten the values and ethics of Federalism. Above all, we must stand together to ensure that the last free Americans are not those already alive today.

Next week I will examine some of the new technology being employed in classroom across the country, as well as technology seeking its way inside of our schools and inside students’ minds (literally).


*euphuism: an artificial, highly elaborate way of writing or speaking.

Paige Rogers is a Christian artist and author, and a former professional practitioner in the field of Early Childhood Development. She is the creator of ThePaintingPastor.org, a blog offering Christian reflection, exhortation and discernment alongside various artistic techniques visually documented through Paige's unique artistic endeavors. A lover of learning, Paige is an avid enthusiast of history, civics, political geography and human nature, physical geography and the sciences. She is an incurably inquisitive and chronically creative “egghead.” Paige is a strong supporter of America's service members and veterans.

Education

A Tale of Two Shootings

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It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Charles Dickens probably never thought of a shooting as the best of times, nor would anyone else. However, if you HAVE to have a shooting, then the obvious “best of times” is one where only the gunman dies. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

Today we had yet another, preventable shooting at a soft-target school, where the best defense the government can come up with is making the school a gun-free zone, and occasionally a couple of cops.

The facts will continue to play out, but while two police officers acted heroically today (take note, Broward County Sheriff’s Office) what we do know is that there were still far too many innocents killed. The first officer was shot before he knew what was happening, and the second seems to have moved as fast as he could, though no one can be everywhere at once.

This will obviously be a story that is played out in the press for days, while the talking heads on Fox News and CNN spout various “solutions” to the problems of mass shootings. Most of these talking heads won’t have the first clue what they are talking about.

I am a former military and civilian firearms instructor. I still teach friends and family who want to learn, but I don’t charge anymore. I was a Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor. I know the law in Texas. A 17 year-old having access to his father’s weapons like what happened today is a felony for the father. Yes, there is a DEFENSE to this charge if the gun was used in self-defense, but this was not the case here, and so the father can not use this defense in court, though I’m sure his lawyers will try if they’re paid enough. The father of today’s shooter (I won’t use his name and give him the fame so many of these killers desire) WILL see time in prison, if Attorney General Ken Paxton has anything to say about it. The father may have obtained his guns legally, but in no way was a 17 year-old legally using them.

Obviously, today’s shooting was the worst of times.

The best of times happened just yesterday in Dixon, Illinois, when a school resource officer shot a would-be school shooter. There were snippets about this in the NY Times and other major news outlets, but that story has already gone away, while this one will not. It SHOULD be talked about just as much as today’s shooting. We need to talk about successes in stopping school shootings just as much as we talk about failures. We need to have an honest conversation about what DOES and what DOES NOT work.

I’m not going to use this piece to go into a great detail on the gun-control debate, though I’m sure that’s where the Left will continue to take us, even though they admit there are no additional laws they want that would stop these horrific tragedies. I DO want us all to come to some common ground on this issue of school shootings though.

1. ALL of us (we, the common people) want these to stop. I say we the common people because there are a great number of politicians on both sides of the debate, but particularly on the Left, who make a great deal of hay when these incidents happen.

2. We have to have an honest conversation about what does and does not work. An HONEST conversation, by the way, Lefties, does not mean what levels of gun control we’re willing to accept.  And for those on the Right, yes, we need to talk about gun control. It’s our job to demonstrate to those who are ill-informed why gun control has not and never will work.

3. We need to approach this with logic and facts, not emotion.

This honest conversation has to begin with certain undeniable facts:

1. The shootings with the lowest body counts are those stopped by a good guy with a gun. It’s not ALWAYS a cop. Arming responsible teachers who both desire to carry and have demonstrated that they can handle a gun is something we need to talk about. I’ve heard good arguments for this, and one or two reasonable concerns against.

2. In nearly every incidence, mental health has played a factor, and could be seen BEFORE the shooting.

3. In MOST (not all) incidences, there were already mechanisms in place within current law that COULD have and SHOULD have stopped the gunman from obtaining firearms. Take today for example. Daddy is going to go to jail, and he should, for not having his firearms secured where his son could get them. I’m speculating here, but I’m willing to bet a lot of money as the investigation goes on, that the father of the gunman knew his son was disturbed, and should not only have kept his firearms secure from his son, as is the law in Texas, but also should have been seeking mental health for his son.

4. The Left is going to hate this one, but it’s an undeniable fact. Almost every one of these mass shootings, and ALL of them in schools, are in gun free zones. Those who know little to nothing about guns may think this irrelevant, but it is one of the most important points. They are soft targets that are chosen because most if not everyone there is completely defenseless.

There is more we could talk about on today’s shooting. We could talk about the explosives, the fact that neither of the guns used are ones the Left (currently) claims it wants to ban, or the instant calls for gun control. I did see something just yesterday that I found interesting from the Left. They were complaining that Parkland was disappearing from the news and it wasn’t getting any attention anymore, a month later. They wanted to push for gun control and nothing else.

Well, I have a solution for this. Adhere to the above rules for a conversation, and accept the undeniable facts above, and then engage us with logic and reason, instead of pure emotion. The kids from the Parkland shooting got famous not for their calm reason, but for their rage.

And before you think I’m not emotional ENOUGH about all this, just keep in mind I have two little boys in public school here in Texas. Yes, I’d love for the teachers and administrators in their schools (those who want to be) armed and willing to protect my kids. I’ll donate the time on the range to help them become proficient. I’ll even pay for the ammo and range time.

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Education

Hidden History: Colonial Rebellion Against Corporate Oppression

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Was “The Boston Tea Party” truthfully all about taxation?

It started with a famine-

Eight years after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, when British Major-General Robert Clive defeated the Nawab of Bengal (India), Clive granted British governmental powers of civil administration to the British East India Company in Bengal (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

As the functioning government over Bengal, the East India Company imposed taxes on goods, land taxes, and trade tariffs. A monopoly over tea and grains was achieved (Cambridge Forecast, 2006).

Laws were also passed prohibiting the Bengalese from “hoarding” goods, such as rice. “This prevented traders and dealers from laying in reserves that in other times would have tided the population over lean periods,” (Cambridge Forecast, 2006).

When a semi-regular dry spell, causing a decline in crop production, came upon the region in 1769, the peasantry’s surplus of staple crops proved inadequate for sustaining the population (Strasser, 2010).

Famine struck in 1770, “killing at least 1.9 million people – this was equivalent to half the population of the 13 American colonies at the time” (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

A plethora of bad press soon haunted the British East India Company.

The horrified public of Great Britain rightfully cast blame upon the East India Company for the man-made disaster.

Horace Walpole, the 4th Earl of Orford, wrote:

“The oppressions of India…. under the rapine and cruelties of the servants of the company, had now reached England, and created general clamour here,” (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

 

The American Colonies were slated to be next-

In 1773, the Crown devised a plan to aid the now economically flailing British East India Company in ridding itself of 17.5 million pounds of excess tea (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

The Tea Act was passed by Parliament in May of 1773.

The act imposed no new taxes.

Rather than imposing a new tax on tea, the Tea Act merely reinforced the taxes already in existence, put in place years before with the passage of the 1767 Townsend Revenue Act. Instead of imposing a new tax, the Tea Act of 1773 granted a full monopoly on the import and subsequent sale of tea in all American colonies.

This monopoly was granted to the British East India Company.

Americans feared that they too would suffer the fate of the Bengalese under the ruthless, corporate despotism of the East India Company.

“As Americans were well aware, the East India Company had turned itself into the actual government of east India, and there, the Company‘s irresponsible, ruthless, and inhumane greed had been directly responsible for millions of deaths in the Bengal famine of 1770” (Charleston Law Review, 2012).

In an impassioned objection against the East India Company, John Dickenson, a Pennsylvania lawyer, wrote:

“Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given ample Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men… cast their Eyes on America, as a new Theatre, whereon to exercise their Talents of Rapine, Oppression and Cruelty. The Monopoly of Tea, is, I dare say, but a small Part of the Plan they have formed to strip us of our Property. But thank GOD, we are not Sea Poys, or Marattas, but British Subjects, who are born to Liberty, who know its Worth, and who prize it high,” (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

For Americans, the issues at hand were quite simple:

“Would they allow England to press down upon America the corrupt class of royal toadies who would rule America by force, as they did east India? Would they allow England to siphon off the productive wealth of Americans and gladly watch Americans die in order to enhance their own corrupt profits?” (Dave Kopel, Charleston Law Review, 2012).

Their answer? No!

And so, on the evening of December 16, 1773, approximately 100 Bostonians –“supported by a crowd of thousands who safeguarded them”- boarded three ships filled with East India Company cargo and dumped 46 tons of tea into the waters of the harbor (Charleston Law Review, 2012).


Citations:

  1. “Bengal Famine of 1770,” Richard Melson, Cambridge Forecast, October 2006, Retrieved at http://www.cambridgeforecast.org/MIDDLEEAST/BENGAL.html
  2. “British East India Company and the Great Bengal Famine”, Strasser, 2010, retrieved at https://strassers.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/british-east-india-company-and-the-great-bengal-famine/
  1. “Defiance of The Patriots: The Boston Tea Party & The Making of America”, Benjamin L. Carp, (2010).
  2. “How the British Gun Control Program Precipitated the American Revolution, 6 Charleston L. Rev. 283, 2012, Retrieved at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1967702
  3. “The global origins of the Boston Tea Party”, BBC History Magazine, 2010 (Christmas Issue), Retrieved at https://www.historyextra.com/period/the-global-origins-of-the-boston-tea-party/

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Education

Hidden History: The Disarmament of Boston

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The first shots were fired in the American War for Independence on April 19, 1775, when 700 British Redcoats, led by Major John Pitcairn, attempted to seize American arms at Lexington and Concord (American Bar Association, 2012).

The patriots, however, had already moved their supply of arms to safety.

After an initial, successful battle against the patriots at the bridge at Lexington and Concord, the Redcoats were ambushed and eventually outnumbered 2:1 by American re-enforcements arriving from surrounding towns (Charleston Law Review, 2012, p. 310).

While some American fighters had arrived organized – illegally-formed local militias – a large number arrived and fought on their own, even taking up sniper positions whenever possible. Patriots who joined the fight even included a number of women and the elderly. Before long, the armed Americans harried Pitcairn’s Redcoats back into Boston (Charleston Law Review, 2012, p. 310).

“One British officer reported: ‘These fellows were generally good marksmen, and many of them used long guns made for Duck-Shooting.’ On a per-shot basis, the Americans inflicted higher casualties than had the British regulars” (American Bar Association, 2012).

Boston, where the Royal Governor, General Thomas Gage’s Red Coats were stationed, was now surrounded by armed American patriots.

Since their attempt to seize American’s arms at Lexington and Concord had gone badly for the British, and now finding themselves surrounded by armed patriots, Royal Governor Gage devised an alternate plan for disarmament.

On April 23, 1775, General Gage made an offer to Bostonians trapped within the city: turn in your arms and you can leave Boston.

“The Boston Selectmen voted to accept the offer, and within days, 2,674 guns were deposited, one gun for every two adult male Bostonians,” (American Bar Association, 2012). Arms collected included: “1778 fire-arms (muskets or rifles)… 634 pistols… 973 bayonets (bayonets attached to the long guns)… and 38 blunderbusses (short-barreled shotguns),” (Frothingham, 1849).

However, after “having collected the arms, Gage then refused to allow the Bostonians to leave. He claimed that many more arms had been secreted away than surrendered,” (American Bar Association, 2012). While inhabitants of Boston were supposed to receive certificates permitting departure from Boston, this rarely occurred in practice. Indeed, before long, “passes to leave issued by Gage quickly dried up,” (Halbrook, 2008).

Further complicating the matter was the fact that those Bostonians who were permitted to leave, were prohibited from taking any belongings with them (Halbrook, 2008).

The situation for Bostonians worsened over time, as food shortages began to take effect.

As one Bostonians wrote, in a letter to an acquaintance in Philadelphia (New England Historical Society, 2014):

You request my writing freely, which I must be cautious of, for reasons which will naturally occur to you. As to the inhabitants removing, they are suffered to go out under certain restrictions. This liberty was obtained after many town meetings, and several conferences between their Committee and General Gage. The terms mutually agreed to were, “that the inhabitants should deliver up all their arms to the Selectmen.” This was generally done, though it took up some days. On this occasion the inhabitants were to have had liberty to remove out of Town, with their effects, and during this, to have free egress and regress. But mark the event: the arms being delivered, orders were issued by the General, that those who inclined to remove must give in their names to the Selectmen, to be by them returned to the Military Town Major, who was then to write a pass for the person or family applying, to go through the lines, or over the ferry; but all merchandise was forbid; after a while, all provisions were forbid; and now all merchandise, provisions, and medicine. Guards are appointed to examine all trunks, boxes, beds, and every thing else to be carried out; these have proceeded such extremities, as to take from the poor people a single loaf of bread, and half pound of chocolate; so that no one is allowed to carry out a mouthful of provisions; but all is submitted to quietly. The anxiety indeed is so great to get out of Town, that even were we obliged to go naked, it would not hinder us. But there are so many obstructions thrown in the way, that I do not think, those who are most anxious will be all out in less than two or three months — vastly different from what was expected, for the General at first proposed, unasked, to procure the Admiral’ s boats to assist the inhabitants in the transportation of their effects, which is not done, and there are but two ferry-boats allowed to cross. They have their designs in this, which you may easily guess at. We suffer much for want of fresh meat.

“After several months, food shortages in Boston convinced Gage to allow easier emigration from the city,” (American Bar Association, 2012).

In the end, it was the “seizure of these arms from the peaceable citizens of Boston who were not even involved in hostilities,” which ultimately “sent a message to all of the colonies that fundamental rights were in grave danger” (Halbrook, 20008).

Citations:

  • “The Founder’s Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms”, Stephen P. Halbrook, 2008.

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