When human beings have a conscience and nominal ethics, they feel guilt when they believe in their heart they violated a moral standard. Conversely, when people are without a conscience and lack a moral compass, instead of feeling guilt for their bad behavior, their first inclination is to blame others with fraudulent accusations to create negative perceptions and portray themselves in a positive light. On Friday when NRA leader Wayne La Pierre held a press conference to defend his organization’s thirty year crusade to put an armory in every home in America, he failed to acknowledge that the proliferation of military weapons in the population had an integral part in the massacre of 20 children and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
It is crucial for the pro-gun crowd to admit that if Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy, did not have enough weapons for a two-man assault team easily accessible to her mentally imbalanced son, most Americans would have never heard of Sandy Hook, or Newtown Connecticut. As the leader of the gun crowd, La Pierre blamed “blood-soaked films,” “vicious, violent video games,” lawmakers behind gun-free school zones, and the “national media machine” for putting the nation’s children at risk. Apparently, if Adam Lanza never played video games, watched movies, or read a newspaper, his twisted mind would not have led him to grab his mother’s guns and go on a murderous rampage. La Pierre’s solution to mentally disturbed young men with an arsenal at their disposal was eliminating “gun-free zones” because as he said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” and by La Pierre’s standards, there can never be enough good guys with guns. One can assume that good guys are trained to shoot firearms, do not have a criminal record, and use legally purchased assault weapons; like Adam Lanza.
La Pierre’s “National School Shield” program proposal is preposterous on its face and another ploy by the NRA to sell the public on the need for more guns as the only solution to more guns. However, the idea that a good guy can stop a bad guy is not borne out by reality. Law enforcement officers and military personnel go through extensive firearm training, and yet they do not always stop bad guys with guns from wreaking havoc and killing innocent human beings. In Pennsylvania on Saturday, a gunman killed three people and injured three state troopers in a gun battle before being killed by law enforcement. The point is, it took three trained “good guys” to stop one bad guy and La Pierre’s intention of Congress enacting a law placing armed guards in schools leads one to wonder if he meant an armed guard in every classroom or an assault team in every school. Whatever his intent, it is a costly proposition and the beneficiaries are the gun industry.
According to a report on NPR, the cost to taxpayers for each armed good guy is about $80,000 annually, and with over 69,000 primary and secondary schools in America, taxpayers will have to come up with over $5.5 billion to put one good guy in every school. It is a double benefit for the NRA and gun industry because not only does it mean 69,000 extra guns (at least) in public schools, millions of young impressionable minds will be indoctrinated into the gun culture as part of their daily education putting them on par with Afghan and Iraqi children brought up with a healthy respect for the power of an AK47 or RPG.
As troubling as the NRA’s suggestion is to education, it portends armed assault teams in every bar, mall, church, theatre, and public venue that has been marred by mass shootings and gun violence. La Pierre’s assertion that there is no public place worthy of the “gun free zone” designation, and his organization’s push to arm every citizen, will eventually lead to martial law with roving armed good guys looking for equally armed bad guys. What La Pierre is suggesting is the beginning of the police state and militarization of our society, or returning to the Wild West and re-emergence of Wyatt Earps and gunfights in public places. Last August, two NYPD officers opened fire on a suspected shooter killing him and wounding nine other innocent bystanders in a “good guy” versus “bad guy” confrontation in front of the Empire State Building in New York City. One shudders at the thought of an armed guard overreacting and opening fire in a high school hallway between classes, but that would be a constant fear parents, teachers, and students would face with armed vigilantes roaming our public schools with a license to kill.
The NRA and La Pierre’s response to the Sandy Hook massacre follows their typical response to mass shootings which is “Lie low at first, then slow-roll any legislative push for a response,” and up until La Pierre’s push for armed guards, it appeared they would be content to obstruct any gun control legislation in the wake of another mass shooting, and make no mistake, in La Pierre’s mind, all gun control is bad. In 2008, he proclaimed, “There is no element in the poisonous alchemy of the globalist gun ban crowd more dangerous to American freedom than the twin evils of gun-owner licensing and firearm registration.” Nevertheless, by 2011, Americans had registered 457,000 machine guns and 2.3 million other dangerous weapons including mines, bombs, missiles and grenades with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). The BATF is the NRA’s No. 1 government “bad guy” after President Obama and the “national media machine” putting children at risk.
America’s problem with gun violence and mass shootings is guns, and not the lack thereof, but the NRA has the gun industry to protect and their 28 lobbyists who spent $2,205,000 in 2012 to promote more guns on America’s streets. After La Pierre’s statement the NRA was going to push to place armed guards in every school, they will be spending much more in 2013 to squash any reasonable gun control and to convince Republicans to enact their National School Shield Program at a cost of $5.5 billion they can hardly afford to appropriate for hiring or retaining teachers, or to repair schools, but it is likely they will line up behind the NRA’s effort to sell more guns. One expected La Pierre to shift the blame to everything except the proliferation of guns in America, but his proposal belied his earlier comment that the NRA was “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” There was nothing meaningful in La Pierre’s proposal and the only thing it will contribute to is more guns in close proximity to children.
Education is difficult enough without teachers, administrators, and students seeing armed guards roaming the halls or checking in on every classroom. Following La Pierre’s logic, every public venue whether a church, theatre, or sporting event will be gun free zones replete with armed attendees exercising their 2nd Amendment right to stand their ground, and armed security teams standing at the ready to confront overzealous gun owners. It is a recipe for disaster and a return to the Wild West that may work well for Neanderthal gun nuts, but not in a 21st century civilized country. However, America is hardly civilized when one of the largest and most powerful lobbies in the nation fights ferociously to put an armory in every home and if they have their way, every school in America. It will put America on par with such advanced tribal cultures as Afghanistan and Uzbekistan where school safety, and the measure of a man, is determined by the AK47 or rocket-propelled grenade launcher they carry and something the NRA is desperate to mimic.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.