by David Mendez
The National Rifle Association held their press conference in response to last week's shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary school today, where NRA vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre voiced his organization's desire to put guns in every school in the country.
I won't touch on about his complaints about movies and video games (mostly because that's the subject of next week's "Weekly Wide Web,") so let's focus on this sticky matter of arming every school campus in our great, big ol' country.
First, from Mr. LaPierre's speech, with emphasis added:
Now, the National Rifle Association knows there are millions of qualified and active retired police, active, Reserve, and retired military, security professionals, certified firefighters, security professionals, rescue personnel, an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained, qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every single school.
We could deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make America’s schools safer, relying on the brave men and women in America’s police forces. The budgets — and you all know this, everyone in the country knows this — of our local police departments are strained, and the resources are severely limited, but their dedication and courage is second to none. And, they can be deployed right now.
I call on Congress today, to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. And, to do it now to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in January.
Are you kidding? These are people who can't figure out how to keep our country from "falling off" of a terrible metaphor for austerity measures—people unwilling to compromise on tax reform for citizens who earn more than $1 million a year. You want them to pass sweeping legislation that would impose an armed guard on every single school campus in the nation, when the federal government (as many on the right like to point out) constitutionally delegated education-related issues to the states? Sure, why not?
Where are you going to get the money to pay these people? Dedicated and courageous they may be, but you've got to pay security guards—which is, in all honesty, just what these people will be.
His suggestion for paying for it comes from the supposed cash-cow that is the foreign aid budget, because screw foreigners, right? But when it comes down to it, foreign aid spending is a drop in the bucket (just over 1 percent of our federal budget) compared to defense spending (which accounts for more than 15% of our federal budget). Why not reallocate part of the money dedicated to national defense to, uh, defend citizens?
There's a fine line here. Government, whether it's federal, state, or municipal, will want to be involved in these services that will, by some estimates, cost $5.5 billion to implement nationally. That money will have to come from somewhere—not all of these guards will want to volunteer. After all, few things are more patriotic in this country than fighting for adequate compensation.
So, there we are. The NRA wants us to have people with guns in every school (or at least to tear down the signs that read "gun-free zone") to protect our kids; wants legislators to quickly pass a law to put guards on campuses across the country; and is volunteering to pay for training (but not for the guards).
That's all well and good. Just don't forget that even having an armed guard on campus didn't prevent the Columbine massacre.