Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Extra: Armed guards are not the answer...

First of all, I would like to congratulate Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive Vice-President of the National Rifle Association, for proving today that he is even more tone-deaf, both politically and socially speaking, than former Republican presidential candadite Mitt Romney, who I thought was the most tone-deaf individual in the world. I'm not sure what century Mr. LaPierre is living in, but it isn't the 21st century.

I'm not going to address everything in his speech today. That would take more space than I have here and more time than I'm willing to give him. However, I have a couple of things to say about his proposal that every school in the US be staffed with armed guards in the wake of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School a week ago today.

First of all, I cannot believe that he managed to take a horrible event like the Sandy Hook shootings and turn them into an opportunity to lobby for US firearms manufacturers. That is, effectively, what he did in his speech, since I'm fairly sure he did not intend that his organization donate all the firearms that would be necessary to carry out his plan, nor that the manufacturers donate them. More armed guards would mean more firearms purchases.

I'm not sure what Mr. LaPierre thinks having an armed officer on premises on all campuses would do to prevent gun violence. I say this having had some experience regarding the issue.

In my senior year of high school, the school I attended had an armed officer on campus at all times. He was mainly a drug officer (who was not-so-affectionately known as "The Narc" on campus), but he did carry every day. Wore his gun on his belt, so everyone knew he was armed.

Did this prevent bad things from happening on campus? Absolutely not.

It did not prevent an individual running from being caught after commiting a robbery from coming onto the school grounds one morning while my gym class was out on the field where he entered the premises. Fortunately, he was not armed, and just as fortunately, the police who were following him did not feel the need to pull out their weapons and shoot at him. Fortunate, because my class would have been right in the line of fire.

Among other events, having an armed officer on campus also did not prevent a full-scale riot one afternoon, complete with Sheriff's deputies swarming the campus and the Sherrif's Department helicopter circling overhead. It also didn't stop a deputy from getting shot in the knee by an armed student. It was pure luck that there were no other serious injuries.

So, don't tell me that armed guards on campuses are the answer to school shootings. Not unless they plan to ring every school with them.

But I shouldn't say that, I guess. It'll just give the NRA...and Mr. LaPierre...ideas.

Honestly, turning school campuses into armed camps would only mean that the bad guys have won.

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