Even more challenging, as much as the tragedies in Columbine and Newtown grab our hearts, and the media spotlight, most children in America who are killed with guns are murdered on the street or in their homes, not school. The NRA's plan to put armed personnel in every school doesn't even begin to address the problem.
Regardless of what you think about the NRA's proposal to arm schools, the logic that Mr. Wayne LaPierre used to arrive at that conclusion is flimsy at best. Let's just pull out a few statements:
1. "The National Rifle Association's 4 million mothers, fathers, sons and daughters..."Stop right there, the first line in his "press conference" (BTW, I though a press conference included Q&A, silly me). You forgot to mention, Wayne, that the NRA also represents Smith & Wesson, Bushmaster, Remington, Winchester, and other gun and ammo manufacturers. Some of my relatives belong to the NRA, and I grew up in a hunting culture. Wayne, you do not represent these "fathers, sons" when you lobby against the ban on armor-piercing cop-killer bullets or background checks for the purchase of assault weapons. Just sayin'.
2. "[N]o one—nobody—has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?"What the fuck are you talking about? Nobody has addresses school safety? Pull your head out of your ass for a second, Bub, and you'll read, see, and hear about lots of scholars, activists, and organizations addressing that very issues. I've worked in and with schools at all levels for 40 years, and I can't think of a school that doesn't have a security policy. Shit, I grew up during the days of "duck and cover" and you may remember, LaPierre, this little thing called 9/11, which mandated all schools to create security measures.
3. "Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk."Oh, for fuck's sake! Schools also put up signs that say they're drug-free or smoke-free zones, so does that attract dealers because they know the kids don't have any dope? The signs are there for a reason. Here in Arizona, where only months after the Tucson shooting the legislature proclaimed an "Official Weapon" (nice touch), anyone can open-carry a holstered pistol without a permit, anyone! No background checks, no registration required. Anyone over 21 can carry a concealed weapon—again, without a permit. The signs tell these people to keep their weapons away from our children! Are you telling me that a madman like Adam Lanza bent on murdering innocent kids would think twice if a "gun-free zone" sign wasn't there? Get serious.
4."Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards."No, you think about it, Wayne. As Lawrence O'Donnell pointed out, we do not "protect our banks with armed guards." When did you last see an armed guard in a bank? No, the banks knew they could not stop robberies with more guns, so they did the easy and smart stuff first: more video cameras, timed vaults, traceable cash. To address gun violence, we should also do the easy and commonsense stuff: background checks, close gun show loopholes, ban large magazines. Bank guards with guns didn't stop robberies, they just ended up getting shot.
5. "We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents."This guy's "logic" is going off the deep end. We protect the president, Wayne, because he gets something like 30 friggin' death threats a day! Probably some of them are from your gun-lovin' members who think Obama is coming for their guns. Now why would they think that when the President has actually loosened gun laws? Could it be that you've been feeding them that lie since 2008?
6. "How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame—from a national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave—while provoking others to try to make their mark?How many more copycats followed the 1996 massacre in Port Arthur, Australia, which killed 35 people? None, because after the country enacted stricter gun laws it was very hard for crazy people to get their hands on an assault weapon. Unlike my state, where anyone—anyone!—can go to the Phoenix Gun Show down the street and buy any fucking weapon they want, no questions asked, no background check, no registration. Any "copycat" can easily find what they want.
7. "[V]iolent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years! Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you've got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization."So ... violent crime has increased since the ban on assault weapons was lifted in 2004. You've made my case, Wayne. And now we need guns to protect ourselves from hurricanes, not just bad men? This dude's world is filled with threats and the only solution is a gun.
8. "There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people."It's called the NRA, but I don't think that's where LaPierre is headed.
9. "Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here's one: it's called Kindergarten Killers. It's been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn't or didn't want anyone to know you had found it?"And I played Risk as a kid but it didn't make me go out and take over nations. My nephews play these video games; they're good kids. LaPierre blames everything but the main problem. Maybe we didn't know about Kindergarten Killers, Wayne, but thanks for letting every nutcase who loves his guns know.
10. "Then there's the blood-soaked slasher films like 'American Psycho' and 'Natural Born Killers' that are aired like propaganda loops on 'Splatterdays' and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it 'entertainment.' "Save me here, folks; I'm drowning in the stupid. So now we're using movies that are nearly 20 years old to prove how blood-soaked American culture is? Seems to me, those same movies are seen by people in Japan, Germany, Canada, and Britain, where the gun homicide rate is a fraction of ours. I liked "Natural Born Killers," "Pulp Fiction" and "Fargo" too, but I didn't have a sudden urge to buy a wood chipper.
11. "In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes—every minute of every day of every month of every year."Screw yourself. Whenever there's a national tragedy, whether its causes are human or natural, like Hurricane Sandy, it's often the entertainment industry that steps up, not the NRA.
12. "A child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18."So does a child in Japan, where 7 people were murdered by guns in 2009. That was no anomaly: In 2007 and 2008, it was 21 and 10, respectively.
13. "Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners..."Where?
14. "The media call semi-automatic firearms 'machine guns'—they claim these civilian semi-automatic firearms are used by the military, and they tell us that the .223 round is one of the most powerful rifle calibers ... when all of these claims are factually untrue. They don't know what they're talking about!"Oh, so sorry that we called the weapon that tore apart 20 children in Connecticut the wrong name! How stupid of us. I guess if the press had used the correct name the carnage would have been less.
15. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."No, there are lots of things that'll stop a bad guy with a gun. How 'bout a tank at every school? Or, let's say we put one of Reagan's missile defense shields over every school? A moat with alligators? Better yet, the one thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is to take away the gun.
16. "But since when did the word 'gun' automatically become a bad word?"It's not, you're projecting. My relatives still hunt, they like it, I get it, guns aren't bad. The M-16 came in handy for me in Nam (I noticed, Wayne, we're about the same age but you never felt compelled to put your love of guns to the ultimate test). The media didn't make "gun" a bad word. You did when you linked hunters and sportsmen/women to your absolutist bullshit, like blocking the ban on cop-killer bullets.
17. "So why is the idea of a gun good when it's used to protect our President or our country or our police, but bad when it's used to protect our children in their schools?"I think we covered this. The President receives dozens of death threats every day. Not many first-graders do. Is that really the first thing you want 5-year-olds to see every morning? A SWAT-like guy in full armor? (Well, actually Wayne probably does. He wants people to grow up thinking the world is a scary place and only guns can save them.)
18. "You know, five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy."
Maybe the media was onto something, because there were armed personnel at Virginia Tech, just like at Columbine. So I guess there weren't enough, right? So how many would you suggest? One for every classroom? Where the fuck does your argument end?
19. "Ladies and gentlemen, there is no national, one-size-fits-all solution to protecting our children."But you seem to think there is—"more guns!"—because you haven't suggested another solution. Not in this press conference or ever.
20. "With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget, we can't afford to put a police officer in every school?"No, actually we can't, unless you want to raise taxes to generate the billions it would require. But of course your own board members, like Grover Norquist, would not be too keen on that.
21. "Now, the National Rifle Association knows that there are millions of qualified active and retired police; active, reserve and retired military; security professionals; certified firefighters and rescue personnel; and an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every school."George Zimmerman, 'nuff said.
22. "I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school..."In other words, I want American taxpayers to buy more of the weapons that are manufactured by the people who sit on my board of directors.
23. "Every school in America needs to immediately identify, dedicate and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place right now."Yeah, forget about books and shit.
24. "Our training programs are the most advanced in the world. That expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and our children now."And we'll give schools a discount rate on our training programs if they sign up right now! Our board member Oliver North will design the trainings. A new market has been created, I'm sure Blackwater will bid on the contracts, too.
25. "We can't wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act."I agree, pass the assault weapons ban now!
26. "I call on every parent, every teacher, every school administrator and every law enforcement officer in this country to join us in the National School Shield Program and protect our children with the only line of positive defense that's tested and proven to work."Where does he get this "only line of positive defense" bullshit? Look at other countries; they've come up with many other "lines of defense" that don't include taxpayers buying more guns.
This presser was a new low for the NRA, and that's saying a mouthful. I expected them to propose something like more guns in schools, but I also thought, silly me, that they might take a step, even a tiny one, toward reducing the number of assault weapons on the street, whether that means background checks or closing the gun show loophole, which most of the "fathers, sons" who are NRA members support. But it's clear he does not speak for them anymore, if he ever did.