The mass school shooting that took place in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14 has transformed this once tranquil community into the epicenter of a nationwide gun control debate.
One week later, Wayne LaPierre -- the National Rifle Association's Executive Vice President -- announced live on TV that his organization wants to "call on Congress to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January."
LaPierre's full speech can be found here: http://home.nra.org/#
When read in its entirety, LaPierre's speech makes perfect sense to me. The NRA is made up of approximately 4 million members; men and women who are not extremists or gun fanatics but Americans who hold an unwavering belief in the protection and preservation of our country's form of government, specifically, our second Amendment right to bear arms.
What I fail to understand is the reaction to LaPierre's speech, particularly from Newtown residents.
In that article, a resident commented that more guns in schools is "encouraging more fear." Others from Newtown were also quoted as disagreeing with LaPierre and the general consensus seemed to be that LaPierre's speech was "insensitive" and that his plan to place armed security personnel in all schools is "foolish."
Why is the reaction to the NRA speech so negative? In light of the Newtown massacre and the nearly one dozen similar school shootings that, sadly, have occurred in recent years, isn't it time for us to, at the very least, consider LaPierre's idea? Isn't it possible that his solution to the potential violence facing every school-aged child in the Nation is long overdue?
Part of what LaPierre said sold me on his plan: "The only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away ... or a minute away?"
The implementation of armed security in every school in the Nation is a sound idea. On the other hand, the opinions of those who oppose the NRA plan are not without merit either. For example, in an article on a state law which allows Indiana teachers to carry guns, Chuck Hibbert, a former Indiana state trooper is quoted in the article as saying that "arming teachers could have serious consequences. For example,...where would a teacher keep a gun — in his or her desk or in a holster? What if the teacher had to break up a fight? A student might be able to take the gun away. And if a gun is fired, where should the teacher aim to avoid a stray bullet hitting someone?"
Hibbert's concerns are valid but keep in mind that the NRA's goal is not to hand out guns to every teacher in the country in a frantic attempt to keep children safe. Only those who are properly trained in the use of firearms -- and preferably those in specialized fields -- are advocated by the NRA as the individuals who should become armed school security personnel.
LaPierre's speech towards the end clarifies this point: "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. We can deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make America's schools safer — relying on the brave men and women of America's police force."
Isn't it time to stop attacking the millions of NRA members who want nothing more than to protect all of us, including our children? Hasn't the time come to take action now before the tragedy in Newtown repeats itself somewhere else?