People have been waiting for a week to hear what the National Rifle Association (NRA) think about the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the company, finally broke his silence. He stated that the solution to the problem of mass shootings is to arm good people with guns so that they can defend themselves against people like Adam Lanza.
Specifically, he thinks Congress should give schools enough money that they can afford to hire armed security guards. LaPierre hypothesizes a scenario where the good guy has to be armed to defend the good people against the bad guy. Conspiracy theorists suggest that the bad guy might be the government someday, who will seek to impose martial law. According to these people, the population will need to be armed in order to defend themselves. But how many children need to die before this hypothetical future battle takes place?
LaPierre pointed to the influence of video games. He cited an example: Kindergarten Killers, where schoolchildren are the target of killers. It is sick that such games are allowed in the marketplace.
I think that there are a few things wrong with the stance taken by LaPierre, although I definitely agree with him about the video games. It’s going to be prohibitively expensive to have all of these armed guards. I don’t know how many such schools there are in the United States, but surely the country cannot afford to pay $40,000 a year or however much guards get for each school that exists there.
Another potential problem is that if there is only one armed guard, that guard is going to be fairly visible. All a potential shooter has to do is case the school and see where the guard is stationed. Surely there will be another entrance. They surely cannot afford a guard at every entrance.
Also, this is going to be very traumatic for the children. They are going to have an intuitive fear of going to school if adults feel school is so dangerous that armed guards need to be present. What is this teaching the children about American culture? That it is so violent that people need to bear arms constantly. If there are armed guards at school, maybe the children will be afraid if there are not armed guards at home at all times. Having more guards and more guns seems to be the lazy way out. What really should be done is addressing the mental health issue that underlies these mass shootings.
It is hard to know what to do in any case. Everytime someone comes up with a solution, it is obvious that a shooter intent to do harm can find a way around the safeguard. If someone wants to perpetrate a mass shooting, unfortunately there is not a lot that people can do to stop them. In a general way, we can make guns harder to access, but this is only a method to have less damage suffered, not to get rid of any damage at all. More guns, however, does not seem to be the solution.