Okay, so nobody wants to come out and say it, but what National Rifle Association chief executive officer, and spokesperson Wayne LaPierre said today about having an armed police officer in every school along with an armed volunteer force to protect children from future nightmares like the one we all lived through one week ago today at Sandy Hook Elementary School was flat out stupid.
Yes, stupid, that's right.
As the LA Times reports, Mr. LaPierre said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." http://www.latimes.com/news/la-nra-calls-for-armed-police-officer-in-every-school-20121221,0,6328031.story
The big wig of the national gun cabal even has a congressman lined up, ready to shoot the ball through the loop, and lobby for federal funds to implement his idea. Rep. Hutchison will reportedly head a program to help develop a paradigm for LaPierre's brainy notion.
What next? Approaching Speaker of the House John Boehner with a Plan C in which deficit reduction includes cutting Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid, and unemployment while simultaneously leaving in place defense contracts, and adding a gun friendly program whereby law enforcement, as if they don't have enough on their hands manning our city streets, buses, and subways, will now be deployed to our nation's schools.
Apart from the obvious problem, namely that the states don't have enough federal funding to be able to keep regular law enforcement on the streets, witness cutbacks in the Oakland police force, there is another issue that gets precious little media scrutiny which is the problem of the use of deadly force.
Obviously, Mr. LaPierre has yet to hear about how law enforcement departments nationwide are trying to deal with deadly force. Either that, or he doesn't want to deal with it.
True, incidents of poor judgment, or the use of deadly force when other measures could have been more effective don't happen all that often, but we saw what happened in a city, Oakland, when a youngster named Oscar Grant was gunned down by transit police. The officer's attorneys argued that the Bart policeman momentarily confused his taser gun with his firearm. Do we really want to take that kind of chance in our nation's schools?
The answer, of course, is no, but let's not write off the undeniable need for heightened security in places where people are especially vulnerable like classrooms. This is a complex issue, and I'm not going to profess to have an answer for it. The massacre at Columbine took place despite the presence of school security.
Importantly, too, Mr. LaPierre no longer speaks for three-quarters of the NRA who, as a result of the mass murder of children on December 14, are open to measures that call for more firearm regulations. Again, nearly 75% of National Rifle Association members now approve of some new legislation to address the problem of out of control firearms in this country in the wake of Sandy Hook massacre.
Quite simply, the organization now has in its leadership a fellow, Wayne LaPierre, who is out of step with the wishes of his own organization, so maybe people ought to stop demonizing an organization of four million members, and call for them to elect leadership that's more representative. Any leadership that contradicts the expressed wishes of its membership must step aside.
At this point, all of us, those who own guns and those who oppose firearm ownership, realize it could have been any of our children that Friday in Newton, Connecticut.
Most importantly, the line of thinking that the way to put out the fire is by introducing more fire is not only delusional, it is dangerously delusional. No sane society depends upon firearms for its protection. It depends upon laws. More often than not, legislation must bend and change to accommodate changes in technology, and social climate.
Clearly, our laws must be flexible enough to acknowledge not merely the tragedy, but the outrage we all feel when we think about how one troubled youngster in suburban Connecticut was able to get his hands, and legally, on enough ammunition to take out 26 people in a matter of minutes. We must all work together to figure out a realistic, and effective way to stop that from happening again.