Dear Commons Community,
The National Rifle Association had a press conference yesterday in response to the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Delivered by its vice president and spokesperson, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA announced Friday that it wants to arm security officers at every school in the country. He pointed the finger at violent video games, the news media and lax law enforcement — not guns — as culprits in the recent rash of mass shootings. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The press conference was interrupted by protesters. One held up a banner saying, “NRA Killing Our Kids.”
Government officials and the media were quick to counter the NRA’s proposal.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the National Rifle Association’s call for armed guards in schools represents a paranoid vision of America. Bloomberg has long called for stricter gun control laws. He said Friday’s press conference by the nation’s largest gun lobby group was “a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country.”
The NRA said posting armed police officers in every school could stop the next killer “waiting in the wings.” Bloomberg said the NRA blames “everyone but themselves” for the crisis of gun violence. He asked for America to rise above and demand Congress and President Barack Obama to work on reasonable gun restrictions.
A New York Times editorial this morning was just as critical.
“Mr. LaPierre looked wild-eyed at times as he said the killing was the fault of the media, songwriters and singers and the people who listen to them, movie and TV scriptwriters and the people who watch their work, advocates of gun control, video game makers and video game players.
The NRA, which devotes itself to destroying compromise on guns, is blameless. So are unscrupulous and unlicensed dealers who sell guns to criminals, and gun makers who bankroll Mr. LaPierre so he can help them peddle ever-more-lethal, ever-more-efficient products, and politicians who kill even modest controls over guns.
His solution to the proliferation of guns, including semiautomatic rifles designed to kill people as quickly as possible, is to put more guns in more places. Mr. LaPierre would put a police officer in every school and compel teachers and principals to become armed guards.
He wants volunteer and professional firefighters, who already risk their lives every day, to be charged with thwarting an assault by a deranged murderer. The same applies to paramedics, security guards, veterans, retired police officers.
We cannot imagine trying to turn the principals and teachers who care for our children every day into an armed mob. And let’s be clear, civilians bristling with guns to prevent the “next Newtown” are an armed mob even with training offered up by Mr. LaPierre. Any town officials or school principals who take up the NRA on that offer should be fired.”
What is scariest to me is the number of elected officials in both parties who are beholding to LaPierre and the NRA including at least two candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann. Rick Perry offered up a proposal very similar to LaPierre earlier this week. Michelle Bachmann went further. She gave an interview commenting on the merits of the AK-15 (the weapon that was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School) and why “she loves” that gun.
God save us and our children from these maniacs.