More guns: the illogical response
OK. You’re crazy.
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice-president of the Nation Rifle Association, dared the public to call him crazy after his group suggested posting armed citizens in every U.S. school in response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre.
The NRA wants a “good guy with a gun” at the more than 125,000 schools in the U.S. to protect the children, according to its proposal made last week.
“If it’s crazy to call for putting (armed personnel) in and securing our schools to protect your children, then call me crazy,” LaPierre said on Sunday. “I think the American people think it’s crazy not to do it.”
President Barack Obama disagrees. In an unprecedented move, Obama has dared to take on the pro-firearms movements with the suggestion of new gun control laws.
“We will have to change,” he said, flagging gun law reforms while attending a Newtown, Conn., vigil for the 20 children, all aged six or seven, and the six adults murdered on Dec. 14 at the Sandy Hook primary school.
Obama pledged he would use “whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
The president continued “What choice do we have?
We can’t accept events like this as routine. We’re not doing enough. And we have to change.”
Armed with a .223-calibre Bushmaster assault rifle — a civilian version of the U.S. military’s M4 — Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into the school. In less than five minutes, he emptied three 30-bullet magazines. Some of the children were struck 11 times. Police showed parents school photos of some of the victims for identification purposes to spare them the unimaginable horror of seeing their children’s bullet-riddled bodies at the morgue.
The NRA proposes to develop a school emergency response program, drawing volunteers from it’s 4.3-million members to guard the schools. Former congressman Asa Hutchinson, an Arkansas Republican, has already been named director of the program.
Schools would be given the choice to participate, but Hutchinson said “I believe that protecting our children with an armed guard who is trained is an important part of the equation.”
The proposal is nothing short of lunacy.
Despite controversy in Canada over gun control, we can take comfort in the fact that we’re not facing the same dilemma the U.S. must now confront. America’s loosely worded Second Amendment, establishing the right to bear arms, has created a monster.
Guns, guns and more guns are being scooped up with almost as much ease as buying a quart of milk at the corner store. Worse yet, assault weapons, the likes of the one used in the Newtown massacre, are sold daily under slack laws.
The NRA is an extremely powerful lobbying group. It can make or break senators depending on their gun stance. And so U.S. politicians are bowing to its pressure.
But some sensible lawmakers have described the NRA’s stand as “tone deaf.”
Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, for example, says the NRA blames everything but guns for the series of mass shootings in recent years in the U.S.
“Trying to prevent shootings in schools without talking about guns is like trying to prevent lung cancer without talking about cigarettes,” said Schumer.
All too often, gun lobby groups steadfastly maintain “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
But a lunatic armed with a baseball bat or knife can’t cause nearly as much bloodshed as a person armed with an assault rifle in less than five minutes. And that person could be stopped far more easily.
Obama is on the right track, but he is on a road no other president has been willing to follow. The pro-gun movement in the U.S. is a force to be reckoned with.
It will take all his skill and determination to silence the guns.
Rick Zemanek is a former Advocate editor.