Shooting Fallout — Don’t race to do wrong thing
December 26, 2012 12:00 AM | 1476 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The senseless massacre of 20 children and six educators in Connecticut has spawned another chapter of the national debate on gun control, with the nation’s biggest gun lobby calling for putting armed police officers and other armed guards in schools.

Wayne LaPierre, who has spent 21 years turning the National Rifle Association into a formidable foe of gun control, blamed the Connecticut tragedy on a culture of violence and called for more guns.

The United States has 89 guns for every 100 civilians, according to the Small Arms Survey, and LaPierre said Friday, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

In what he called a “meaningful” response to “monsters” who kill, LaPierre said the NRA is developing a model security plan for schools that would involve the NRA training qualified volunteers to patrol schools and redesigning school buildings to stop the next murderer “waiting in the wings.”

Numerous obvious questions arise in response to his proposal.

Who would pay the salaries for police officers in every school?

Who would assume liability if an armed officer mistakenly killed an unarmed student? Highly trained New York City police officers chasing an armed man have shot innocent bystanders.

There is even a debate now about arming teachers. This trend is spreading from Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry says he’s happy to lead a state where some school districts permit staff to carry concealed weapons. Legislators in such disparate states as Minnesota, Florida, Oregon, South Dakota and Oklahoma are either considering legislation to permit teachers to carry guns or have already introduced such bills.

Yet what is there to prevent an armed teacher (or NRA-type armed guard) who is deeply upset or psychologically unstable from turning that gun on his students, fellow teachers or administrators?

There is a danger that the nation’s agony over the heartbreaking Connecticut carnage will fade and nothing will happen.

But better that whatever steps are taken are not taken after emotions have cooled and that those steps are thoroughly thought-through before they are implemented.

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