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Conflict & Tragedy

Arming our school guards and teachers: The answer or just adding to the gun madness?

After keeping eerily silent on the Sandy Hook school shootings, the National Rifle Association has spoken, but many do not like what they’re saying. In a statement Friday, the NRA’s answer to solving our gun-violence problem is, unbelievably, more guns. Speaking on behalf of the association, vice president Wayne LaPierre called for armed guards in every school in America. (Read about it here.)

The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster to slaughter children and faculty in rapid savagery. Is LaPierre suggesting we arm guards with semi-automatic weapons, because an ordinary pistol is no match for that mass killing machine? Then what happens when this shootout is taking place? Crazed gunman and guard duke it out with a backdrop of children in a classroom, playground, or hallway?

The gun-control debate that always flares up after a mass murder by guns is now running its course. Some are saying this one is different, that America is at a watershed moment, maybe because the victims this time were mostly helpless young children from quiet suburbia. The place where “this sort of thing doesn’t happen,” as one television announcer opined.

Maybe something will be done this time; only time will tell. But the gun juggernaut is on the offense, fighting to make sure the status quo is maintained and remains in their favor. After all, they have been extremely persuasive thus far. Everyone says how difficult it is to change the gun culture in America, waving around the Second Amendment and the NRA’s stranglehold on our policy makers in Washington.

But why is it so difficult to impose policies with sound, common-sense solutions? This is a democracy where the law of the land is fueled mostly by the people. If we the people want to protect our most precious resource and most vulnerable among us—our children, who are defenseless physically and politically—why don’t we just do it? Maybe it's because it's not just the NRA but our gun-addicted culture. Citizens across America love their guns, as is depicted in the above photos. (Read more at the Daily Mail.)

Children cannot vote, cannot decide where they want to live, go to school or shop, and have no control over what they eat or wear, so we are obligated to be their fiercest advocates. Yet our children get relegated to the background in politics, often forgotten as we adults pontificate.

Speaking of pontificating—is the NRA’s proposal of armed guards in schools the answer to the gun-massacre madness? LaPierre said in his statement, “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I guess they’re giving the “guns don't kill people, people kill people” phrase used most times in the gun control argument, a rest. Cleverly trying to change their strategy?

Some gun enthusiasts are also calling for teachers to be armed. (Read more here.) When will the madness end? Teachers are educators, not the army or the police. Ironically, these are the same folks who rail against big government and a police state. They are operating on the assumptions that all teachers will want to carry guns, or will be capable of using a gun efficiently in a crisis. What about accidents? What about teachers who may mishandle or, worse, fire that gun when they shouldn’t?

Incidentally, there were armed guards at Columbine High School but that didn't stop the 1999 massacre. There was an entire police department at Virginia Tech but the killer succeeded in mowing down innocent folks in his shooting rampage. Fort Hood is a military base and a crazed gunman still managed to kill many so clearly more guns isn't the answer.

Our children should be able to go to school and learn in a safe environment—and should never ever have to go through what the children of Sandy Hook Elementary went through. But arming teachers could go wrong, very fast. Guns and children make for a dangerous combination.

The NRA seems to be looking for every other conceivable solution to the problem, but not the glaring problem itself. Sounds insane, but as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said during the 2012 election, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over but expecting different results.” You are so right, Mitt. Please pass on that valuable message and lesson to your NRA buddies and campaign donors.

Resources:

N.R.A. Calls for Armed Guards at Schools - NYTimes.com

Teachers with guns is a crazy idea - CNN.com