Saturday, December 22, 2012

What a Great Idea!

The National Rifle Association scored a bulls eye (pun intended) with its delayed pronouncement regarding the slaughter at Newtown, CT. The NRA plan is to post an armed guard in every U.S. school while we wait to understand and deal with the mentality of deranged killers, something humans have tried and failed to do for a few thousand years or so. 

The NRA’s inelegant spokesman Wayne LaPierre no doubt considered all the advantages of the plan he espoused. We have 132,183 first through twelfth grade schools in the U.S. One new job at each school thus would improve the national unemployment situation a trifle. That trifle would, of course, cost the federal government or local governments and school districts bundles they don't have, but the generous LaPierre has offered to have the NRA fund development of a training plan for the new hires to defray part of the cost.

More guns would save lives!
We, of course, would want our school guards to be well-equipped. Only the latest weaponry would do. The NRA plan thus would result in adding 132,183 gun sales or more to augment the 300 million weapons how in circulation in the U.S.

Adding the new guns would provide a mini-stimulus to our still-recovering economy and some welcome additional cash for gun manufacturers. We assume guns manufactured outside the U.S. would be banned under the plan, but maybe not. That would be “gun control,” and the NRA generally does not welcome any of that sort of nonsense.

The number of Americans continues to grow as our resource base declines, so LaPierre’s proposal would help a little with population control. One more death would be added to the toll in each new school massacre. The shooter would kill the guard before firing at teachers and children.

Perhaps we could solve this problem by expanding the plan to arm every teacher and child. Then shooters might be killed before much additional damage was done, although gun battles are notorious for generating random shots that frequently injure or kill nonparticipants. This conventional wisdom could be wrong, because NRA experts constantly tell us that guns don't kill people. It follows that stray bullets don't kill people, either.

In addition to streamlining the population, LaPierre would improve the Constitution by making it more compact. His rather vague statements that we should censor undesirable media in preference to improving gun safety controls would require us to delete the part of the first amendment that guarantees the right of free speech. Perhaps his plan is to do away with the first amendment altogether, thus elevating his sacred second amendment to the top of the list.

Carried to its extreme, the NRA plan also would add to pleasant childhood memories for all Americans. Getting an education in concentration camps surely would be more delightful than attending traditional schools. 

There is much to be said for the NRA plan, but none of it smacks of intelligence.


schmidleysscribblins, said...

My son, who teaches middle school tells me that teachers carry concealted weapons in Texas, and in the Commonwealth of Virginia, armed guards are posted in many middle and high schools.

Until last week, most folks did not think the gun problem would erupt at an elementary school. Of couse a nut case could obtain a weapon anywhere. What will stop the black market in guns?

The problem for me is that if you rid the US of weapons that fire multiple bullets per second, what will stop mad bombers like the fellow who tried to blow up Times Sqare, or the bombs that exploded in Spain not so long ago.

And who stopped the IRA?

A nut can find a recipe for bomb making on the Internet. My goodness did anti-gun legislation stop the Okalahoma city bomber? I don't think so.

Ban weapons (if you dare) but it won't stop the flow of guns into the wrong hands to say nothing of being unconstitutional.

Restricting the purchase of ammunition as California proposes looks somewhat promising.


PiedType said...

Perhaps NRA members would volunteer to stand guard at our schools. That would save the financially strapped school systems or government a lot of money, give the member a chance to proudly display his or her weapon every day, and be a source of great civic pride and satisfaction to the member. And since so many members have multiple guns, they could take them all to school and distribute them each morning to the teachers and staff. More great service to the community!

@Dianne -- A nut can buy guns and ammunition on the Internet too, so I don't get your point about that. I lived in OKC when the bomb went off. It was hidden in a truck left at the scene. Guns wouldn't have stopped it. A bomb squad might have, if they'd known it was there. Guns rarely stop bombs. Good police work and bomb squads do.

As for ridding the US of weapons, I've not heard any plans that suggest the police and military not be armed.

And guns in school? There were armed guards on duty at Columbine.

Steve said...

No end of government offices are protected by armed guards.

Are the lives of schoolchildren worth less than that of judges, court officials, government officials & elected representatives?

Kid are just as entitled to armed guards as are any of the others.

Or are they not?

Christina said...

It is incredible that so many bad things need to happen before policy makers act. It also is incredible that a person in the United States can get guns so easily. I cannot understand at all what you need them for. If nobody had guns, no one would be afraid!

Now that rampages are a big issue, the children in our (German) school are afraid. However, the probability of it happening is minimal, because virtually no one has guns.

In the United States my knees would be shaking continuously.

Dick Klade said...

Steve: I worked in federal government buildings for 26 years. For the first two decades there was no security at all, and no problem at all.

After the Oklahoma City bombing, the federal building where I worked installed metal detectors, locked us in and the public out, and and posted armed guards 24/7. That was the end of the good feeling that citizens could freely enter their government buildings and proceed to do their business without a hassle.

I would hate to see something similar happen in our schools. It is impractical to protect our students with guards, unless we want to eliminate recesses and sporting events or create fortresses to accommodate them.

After our federal building was "protected," one crazy tried to drive a vehicle through the front door because IRS had an office in the building. I guess we should have installed an antitank weapon in an attempt to ensure that wouldn't happen again.

Evil doers will never be eliminated completely. Because we do value our children and everyone else, it seems sensible to minimize the potential damage by limiting the weapons available to the perpetrators of mass shootings. That would seem more useful than posting armed guards everywhere. Do we want to live in a total police state?

Bill Hamilton said...

Your blog for today was perfectly aligned with my opinions of the NRA. That organization caused the first serious rift between my father and his eldest son when I was but a youth.

I was never happy owning a 22 rifle when I was still in junior high school, but Dad insisted his guy kids learn to shoot and kill several species of animals. The lid blew off when my Dad was discharged from the Army in 1943. He gave my brother and me a membership in the NRA, which also featured a subscription to the NRA magazine. I did not acknowledge either part of the gift, and the old man never forgave me. My brother was a year younger and fell all over himself because Dad had "honored" him so.

They were both furious with me for giving the rifle to a friend when we moved from Wyoming to Virginia in 1962!

Dick Klade said...

Dianne: I have never advocated banning all guns in the U.S. I think responsible hunting, target shooting,and home defense are legitimate uses of appropriate firearms.

I do favor more stringent background checks on all gun purchasers, banning all automatic and assault weapons, and prohibiting sales of multi-round clips.

JHawk23 said...

My brother-in-law, a dedicated NRA member who nonetheless stores his guns safely and uses them only for hunting, also raised the question - if government buildings have security, why not schools? Indeed, why not? If that's what's needed, maybe we should do it. Kids say it might be a good thing! (See:

But to my mind, there are two reasons guards in schools are not ideal:
The strain on the budgets of strapped local governments (and existing funds for education being diverted to hire security guards);

It's not known how such security would reflect on the education process but I suspect it would become a distraction at first, and as it inevitably grows, would also become an overweening factor in which security considerations become paramount, education second. That's what we found in embassies overseas as security grew tighter and tighter after a few bad incidents; the tail wags the dog.

Tom Sightings said...

Dick, I agree with you about guns -- let hunters and sportspeople keep their guns; but no one needs automatic weapons. But further gun regulation is not the whole answer. More security at schools might help (college campuses, for example, typically have security staff); altho' I doubt we'd want to go so far as armed encampment (I like Jhawk's thinking). And there 's no reason we can't as a society put some pressure on the media to tone down the violence in films and games. It's not a back or white issue of censorship vs. free for all. There's also the matter of taste and civic responsibility.

Kay said...

The 2nd amendment was written over 200 years ago before automatic weapons making mass murders easily accomplished without reloading available. I don't understand the mentality of people feeling we need to continue to allow anyone to own such horrible weapons.

Dick Klade said...

As usual, Tom, you've advanced a reasonable view. We surely can improve the safety situation through promoting better parental controls, media ethics, and improved security measures where they are warranted.

However, LaPierre and I are talking about massacres. It seems logical to try to control the arms we know are used by mass shooters, and that means taking away the opportunity to acquire fast-firing weapons.

My beef with the NRA is they threw up a smokescreen when they could have been constructive participants in finding real solutions to the massacre problem. LaPierre absolutely refused to accept the fact that weapons of mass destruction allow those who want to do great harm to perform mass destruction. I found his statement ill-conceived and his attitude reprehensible. Most NRA members are good and reasonable people, and they also should take some responsibility here to rise up against their leadership and reform the organization.

Terry Tynan said...

A very well-crafted piece, Dick. You still have what it takes. Merry Christmas.

joared said...

The NRA spokesperson is pathetic. If I was a member of that organization I'd certainly withdraw my membership in protest over his comments, or I'd be actively seeking his removal from his position.

During my teenage/high school years I was taught the care and safe use of several types of guns -- not automatics. Those people I knew who used guns did so only for hunting or protecting family-owned animals, but not pleasure hunting and killing.

The times are different now and it's ridiculous that so many people even own guns. I'm sure the gun manufacturers and their lobbyists are not lax in marketing their product -- follow the money.
Limiting the sale of only the large multi-clip magazines is inadequate as I heard a professional law enforcement gun authority explain. A shooter can quickly change even those short clips so rapidly that any anticipated deterrent that doesn't include them is of little value.

Many of these shooters have had identified mental health problems. We would be well-advised to dedicate more attention, funds, professional help for people with mental health issues if we want to minimize mass shootings. This is not the only answer to such a multi-faceted problem, but one of several needed solutions.

Kay Dennison said...

Your last line really sums it up!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why law enforcement departments bother having SWATs if a single, hand-gun armed mercenary guard can assure that a lone gunman with a semi-automatic weapon cannot complete a killing spree. Surely makes me think that we tax payers have been bilked for these years of SWATs.

Nothing we can expect to do will make atrocities impossible to commit; but, a lack of readily-available weaponry could certainly cut down the number of incidents.
Cop Car

Lloyd Bishop said...

I don't think most gun owners have any problem with gun licensing/registration, limitations on access to assault type rifles and large size ammo clips, a ban on "cop killer" bullets, and a requirement that "gun shows" be required to do background checks and document/register sales..

As someone said, "I had a harder time adopting a dog from the pound than I did buying a gun." Common sense has to prevail with gun control so hunters and sports-shooters can enjoy their activities, but nut-jobs and "Rambos" access to high-powered automatic weapons is curtailed.

I had a doctor's appointment last week and I arrived at it just after listening on the radio to NRA's chief, Wayne LaPierre, give his speech about the Newton shootings causes,blame and solution. When the nurse took my blood pressure it was 189/120! Usually it's around 123/68. What an A-hole that guy is! I can't believe he represents the view of most gun owners and hunters. All LaPieere is is a shill for the gun industry. NRA stands for No Rational Antelligence (they can't spell either).

Bruce Snook said...

Well said, Dick. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this issue.