As far as I can tell, South Carolina’s Project Sentry program is one of those taxpayer-funded information campaigns championed by teachers and other well-meaning social services types launch to “do something” about a pernicious problem that defies simplistic answers. According to the website, “Project Sentry, which is part of the district’s Project Safe Neighborhoods/Project CeaseFire program, is a vital step in strengthening our ability to prevent gun crimes among our young people and to ensure a safe learning atmosphere for our children.” Vital? How do you measure vital? Do you even bother? I would. Them? Not so much. And what they actually do is . . .
distribute brochures. And run an annual Student Pledge Against Gun Violence day. According to the U.S. Attorney’s press release, the group also holds a “statewide contest [that] gives South Carolina students an opportunity to tell the entire state how they prevent gun violence in their school.”
Nothing about any of the winning entries says anything to me about gun violence prevention—other than “guns are bad.” In fact, I can hear the ghost of Nancy Reagan whispering “Just say no to guns.” Good luck with that.
Am I the only one that sees the above winner as unintentionally hilarious? Here’s an explanation for that rhetorical faux pas and an indication of another trend gathering steam in the anti-gun business: channeling tax money to ex-cons:
The winning entries were selected by “The Insiders,” a select group of students from the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, who travel throughout South Carolina, encouraging troubled children and promoting community awareness of the prevalence and consequences of juvenile crime.
Speaking of business, how much does this boondoggle cost? Information about funding, goals and expenditures are notable by their absence on the SC website. But lookee here. The Congressional record reveals that Project Sentry sucked $15m from Uncle Sugar. Oh, and another $5m through the Juvenile Justice program.
That’s $20m per year since 2003. At least. Money well spent?