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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?

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  1. I find it a tad bit ironic that there’s plenty of instances of children being arrested by the in-house pigs police officers and/or being expelled from school for drawing pictures of guns, pictures of soldiers… one for bringing a Lego man with a little Lego gun. A Google search (which I am too lazy to perform right now) can turn up many instances of Zero Intelligence Tolerance insanity at public schools. Why is it that artistic impressions of guns are OK for schoolkids to draw in this instance?

    Secondly, how is it that second-rate, half-assed groups like Project Sentry and The Insiders get on the government dole and start sucking millions of dollars from Uncle Sam’s Money Cock? There has to be a process – a series of steps – that can get you on the Federal payroll. I’d like to know what those steps are, because I have a few study groups and anti-this/anti-that foundations I’d like to get going with some free money.

    Clearly, being a jailbird doesn’t stand in your way. Also, it seems that having majority public opinion behind you and your cause is also not a requisite. I never hear of any of these organizations until I find out (from sites like this) that they’re leeching off the taxpayers to the tune of millions of dollars. Do you even have to have an actual organization with real live members before you apply for your handout?

    There’s a Google search I’m willing to perform right now – it might land me a fat bank account for my “organization” aimed at tackling an issue plaguing the nation – idiotic kids that ride through neighborhoods with their car stereos turned up so loud it makes pictures vibrate off you walls.

  2. Is it my imagination or does the orange-clad gentleman in the next to last masterwork seem to have his face shaded?

  3. If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that we don’t spend nearly enough money on slogans and rah-rah-rah feel-good programs in our schools. Because we all know that slogans solve problems, right?

    I know an unnamed individual who was the first ‘graduate’ of the Just Say No! program in my hometown school district. He (or she) was an instant if short-lived celebrity, with his/her picture in the newspaper, shaking the police chif’s hand, etc.

    A year later he/she was following the Grateful Dead, living out of a VW, and stoned out of his/her gourd. The moral of the story? The kids are alright, and and this school indoctrination bullshit never works.

    But $20 million here and $20 million there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

  4. Apparently the kid holding the gun in the top image prefers the 1911 in .357 – that grip looks like a Coonan!

    • Good Observation! It is an Auto-Ordnance 1911A1 which we do Not have! He held his airsoft pistol to get the hand sketch and looked in his “wish” gun magazine at the 1911 to sketch the gun. Says he wants one for his 13th birthday…not a chance!!!!

  5. Mr. Farago,
    I am the Mother of the above winner. Although I do get what you are saying, PLEASE do not label us! We are a family of hunters that support the NRA, SCDNR, NWTF and Concealed Weapon permits. I think you are missing the point (my opinion)! This contest is NOT about politics nor how the government spends these funds. It is about educating children on gun safety and an art contest, which I support 100%! Brandon knows more than many adults about guns and he is 12! Think about this…..A child brings a gun to school because he is curious and it’s cool and shoots an innocent child! This was the inspiration for my childs sketch. So YES I am extremely proud of my son and his amazing artwork as any mother/father should be!
    Leigh Johnson

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