My blogfriend Borepatch has an interesting post up regarding the NRA's call for action in response to the Sandy Hook shooting. He's against putting Cops in Schools for a number of reasons ranging from the expense, to the expansion of Statism, to the slippery slope. He has an interesting take, and one you should read.
"The world is full of soft targets. Someone motivated to shoot up a soft target has lots of choices. There's nothing that we can do to change that.
But it gets worse. If the proper reaction to the Connecticut school shooting is to put armed police in every school, then the obvious proper reaction when an evil nut job shoots up (say) a hospital is armed police in every hospital. Then when nut jobs turn their sights on libraries, we put police there. Then grocery stores, then Starbuck's, then gas stations."
Here's what I think:
I agree - except for one thing. There's a difference between all of those places listed (hospital, library, grocery stores, gas stations) and schools. Those places are largely populated by Adults who have the freedom of choice to travel about as Sheep if it pleases them. A school, on the other hand, is filled with kids who don't have the option not to be there. Don't have the option whether to carry a weapon for defense. Don't have a voice in local politics to effect change. Its apples and oranges. A school is a special case and having a Cop there is acceptable to me given its special nature. We put the kids there. Its our responsibility to keep them safe.
Having said that, its important that I stress this:
I do not favor a Federally Mandated approach. Period. I don't want Congress having anything to do with it what so ever. Period. Anything in regards to security in schools needs to happen at the local and State Level - PERIOD.
I've spent quite a lot of time railing against the over reach of Federal Authority. The reasons and justification for that apply here as well.
I would have preferred the NRA to have come out in favor of the volunteer/teacher program, offer to sponsor training programs for same, spend money on Ad campaigns to spread the concept, and otherwise spend their time fighting the upcoming Gun Control legislation.
Look, my first choice for addressing this problem is, and will always be, arming and training school staff and/or a doing the same with a volunteer program as suggested by friends like Six. Such a program will put Good Guys with Guns inside schools - which is the only rational way to confront the problem - and it will do it without being massively expensive or leading to Government excesses.
But I'm realistic enough to know that there are MANY places where having armed teachers, staff, or volunteers won't be accepted. The "Cops are the only ones that should have guns" mentality is extremely strong in lots of places. Hell, I live in Texas and it will be an uphill battle to get it to happen here. Imagine the fight in less gun-friendly places.
We talk amongst ourselves about stuff like this and we "Atta-boy" each other for talking the Conservative talk, but don't let that fool you in regards to how the population at large (in some areas) thinks about teachers with guns. These are people who think they are keeping their kids safe by buying the best surveillance camera money can buy.
A week ago I thought we were screwed in regards to the gun issue. Amid the horror and the sorrow over the event at Sandy Hook, there was a little voice in my head that said, "You are so fucked, you can't even see fucked from here." Now, I'm feeling a little more optimistic in regards to the discussions going on. People are speaking out against the knee-jerk liberal reaction that happens in response to such tragedies and people who I never imagined would consider putting a good guy with a gun in a school are actually considering it.
This is an educational opportunity to make some serious ground. That's assuming we don't screw it up by assuming that we will win the argument as a whole before getting to the finish line. Lots of people felt comfortable casting a "protest vote" during the last election because Romney was a shoe-in to win anyway*. How could he loose?...
Lets try not to paint ourselves into a corner as we try to sell our respective plans to the public at large. When they see us shred each other like we did during the primaries, they often walk away by the time we're done.
*No, I don't think Romney's response to Sandy Hook would have been markedly different from Obama's. I do think the "Fiscal Cliff" shenanigans would be starkly different, though.