Last week, the nation (strike that, the world) was left heartbroken after the senseless massacre that happened in Newtown, Connecticut – an act that left 28 people dead; most of them children. Within minutes after the news hit, an outraged and saddened population began howling for some real form of gun control to be enacted. This was nothing new, as there have exited a vocal majority asking, and sometimes yelling, for true gun law reforms to protect children and the general population. Usually their voices become louder once some horrific incident like this captures the public’s attention, but then things die down once citizens and legislators realize that the gun lobby is far more powerful than ever thought. And the main face of that lobby comes in the form of the National Rifle Association (NRA) an organization dedicated to protecting the 2nd amendment rights of gun owners.
Now, after a week of pregnant silence, the NRA has come forward with their official reaction and statement…and it is not so pretty. The gist of it is to appoint armed guards at every school as the best means to protect a vulnerable student population. Instead of reading the tealeaves and seeing this as a watershed event to diminish the number of firearms out there, the NRA has interpreted this as a call to arms. Wayne LaPierre, the group’s executive vice president, placed the blame on everything from violent video games to the mentally ill, but maintained that having a suitably armed populace as an effective means to curb violence. Gun-free school zones identified by signs, he said, “tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to effect maximum mayhem with minimum risk.” LaPierre went on to say, referring to bringing more armed protection into schools, that “It’s not just our duty to protect them, it’s our right to protect them.”
Maybe it is the NRA’s attempt to alienate everyone except the truly, bat-shirt crazy, but I can’t help but feel this assessment goes beyond tone deaf. It is immeasurably, and intolerably, offensive. Are more guns in our schools really the way to go? Would armed guards really deter someone who is at a psychological breaking point and armed to the teeth? Thoughts?