The Show Business of Sheriff Jones: When it comes to H.B. 99, Thomas Hall offers a solution

Allowing Teachers to Carry Guns

At the heart of the problem, Sheriff Jones illustrated on his WLW November 18th diatribe against Representative Thomas Hall’s H.B. 99 was this long-established problem of whether or not more public sector employees are a solution to gun violence in schools or a hindrance. There are a lot of guns in Butler County, Ohio, so school shootings are pretty rare, and there is undoubtedly a direct correlation that liberal politics doesn’t want to admit to. Even Sheriff Jones himself is a supporter generally of concealed carry. He has told me that it’s great to have many first responders in the community to stop criminals at the point of a crime. But, Jones is also the head of a police union and symbolizes strength among all the public sector unions. And it is there that he politically turns left every time. He comes from a generation where they wanted to believe in the system of government that we have seen now has let us down time and time again. Yet, he is still a stubborn defender of labor unions even when they show themselves to be trouble. Saying all that, there haven’t been many school shootings in Butler County. There was one in Madison, Twp., not that long ago, and it was Thomas Hall’s father who was a school resource officer who ran the shooter off the scene only wounding four people, not getting a chance to kill them when the attacker fired into a cafeteria one day seemingly unprovoked. To say that Thomas Hall cares about school safety is an understatement. His bill H.B. 99 was meant to set basic training requirements for school boards to plan to so that they could allow teachers to be armed in the classroom, to be those critical first responders when and if a school shooter presented themselves as a menace to the public. For many mysterious reasons, Sheriff Jones was against the bill and made an absolute embarrassment on WLW attacking Thomas Hall for many reasons that no conservative would understand. But Jones has done that before. 

I was pretty disheartened to learn firsthand that Bill Cunningham was not a real conservative. My history with Cunningham goes back for several years, all the way back to 1996 when I had paid Cunningham to be the spokesman for our “Take An Axe to Our Tax” t-shirts that we were using to promote tax cuts during the Bob Dole campaign that year. I was supposed to come on WLW to talk about the promotion, but my segment got bumped because Willie decided to do a strip show that night, where he brought in live strippers to dance nude during the show. The producer offered me to do my segment during that mess, and I had to decline because it just wasn’t something I could be a part of. Later I learned that Bill Cunningham plays a conservative on his radio show, but he wasn’t very conservative. He was the Stephen Cobert of radio, playing a conservative in media, without really being one. I learned around this time that Sheriff Jones, who was frequently on with Cunningham, was much the same way. He played a conservative in public, but he has many big government ideas in private. He’s great if we are talking about law enforcement. But when it comes to social issues, he shows himself to be very liberal, which is why he and Bill Cunningham have always gotten along so well. I understood the show business aspect of the radio work, but I thought of these people as the real deal until I learned firsthand that they weren’t. 

Sheriff Jones Attacks Thomas Hall For Petty Reasons

In 2013 Sheriff Jones and Cunningham came out in favor of the Lakota Levy, which raised our taxes in monstrous ways. It caused so much trouble in our community that we haven’t had a levy since because we never needed it. We didn’t need it then, but Jones worked with the Democrat Kathy Wyenandt to pass the tax increase. We didn’t speak for about five years when finally we broke a little bread together in the middle of the Trump administration. I thought he had been doing an excellent job for Butler County and representing us to the Trump administration. But I wasn’t too shocked to hear him revert to the kind of liberalism that he uttered again with Bill Cunningham using Lakota as a kind of launching point for his resistance to arming teachers in the classroom and for disparaging the very conservative Thomas Hall personally for his position of empowering teachers to add another layer of protection. For Jones, he wants school resource officers or prohibitive training that would make it so difficult for anybody who wishes to even to carry a gun in a classroom that it might as well not even be a law. But Thomas’ bill empowered school boards to set the maximum limits themselves, depending on their need, and Jones felt he needed to sabotage the bill through the public airwaves and the political career of the young representative himself. 

My argument in favor of a more private-sector solution, as opposed to a unionized employee, is due to people like Jones himself. When it comes to the cosmetic stuff, Jones is a great Republican. But when it comes to legislation, he’s a big government guy that’s always talking about compromise with the other side that wants to bury us all. I think it’s an age thing, he and Cunningham are from the same generation, and they thought the big Democrat politics from the early 60s were going to work, and they never really changed their point of view. We have seen times where school resource officers like Thomas’ dad run off shooters while under fire. But we have also seen some who panic, as the resource officer in Florida did, never engaging the shooter and allowing lots of carnage in the meantime. People panic, and cops, even with their many hours of training, panic too. Sometimes they get so much training that they can’t adapt to a unique situation. Sometimes they lock up. They passed the test on paper but can’t apply it to reality. I like the idea of cops in schools. But I want a teacher armed with a gun to be the first responder. And I like the idea of a teacher being so comfortable with a gun that they accept it as part of their lifestyle, practicing every week for the rest of their lives. Not just some bureaucratic training period that may or may not be enough. 

I always wanted to believe in Bill Cunningham as a conservative, just as I always wanted to believe in Sheriff Jones. But with them, most of their public persona is a show. And that is the same with police in general. Having a cop in the hallways of our schools may look nice. It might scare away some potential shooters. But if a shooting actually happens, I don’t believe any public employees are full proof and will behave appropriately under pressure. I prefer mitigation to their service if they get scared or misstep themselves when danger presents itself. Sheriff Jones, the big government guy from Butler County, believes absolutely in public service. He has been a public servant all his life and always will be. I still think he’s generally good for our community so long as it’s mostly a show we are putting on, and things aren’t getting too real. Yet, after the way he treated Thomas Hall on WLW, where he turned to the show to attempt to destroy a person he endorsed just a year earlier, I would never trust an employee like him in a school without some extra measure of mitigation, a teacher comfortable with a gun, to protect kids when they are under an assault from bad people. That is, If we ever fully get back to school because all these lazy union employees don’t want to go to work using Covid as a cover for staying home.   And what will we do in the future when the school resource officer, unionized and terrified of Covid, calls off work the day there is a school shooting? If we rely too heavily on them, we are bound to get burnt by the general laziness of all government employees. 

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business

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