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The NRA’s Proposal to Vastly Expand Government

It took a while, but we finally figured out what bothered us most about the proposal by Wayne LaPierre.

As most people know, within days of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the National Rifle Association executive responded to fierce criticism of the abundance of unrestricted firearms in America with his solution: every school should have an armed guard.

What’s wrong with that scenario? Perhaps nothing—but likely plenty… to the very constituency the NRA represents.

It’s a matter of elementary math, and of considering how Americans feel about new bureaucracy and additional spending. It’s also about a host of practical obstacles and questions that would need to be addressed.

According to the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary and secondary schools already have approximately 29,740 guards at an average cost of $31,420. That’s a total of $934,430,800. According to recent numbers from the National Center for Educational Statistics, there are about 98,817 public schools in the United States. Assuming armed guards, requiring far greater skills and risks, cost a lot more, say, at least $50,000 a year including benefits, the price tag would be at least $4,940,850,000 to the U.S. school budget annually—and that doesn’t include the costs of the weapons, special garb and their upkeep. (The NRA, very generously, actually pegs the cost at closer to $8 billion.)

At a time of fiscal cliffs and other metaphors for disaster, this is unlikely to sit well with anyone.

Which begs the question, who is actually employing these guards? The states? The federal government?  Local school districts? Who would most people like to pay their taxes to and see implement this new bureaucracy?

Just to hire nearly 100,000 new (unionized?) government employees would require substantial expansion of some bureaucratic entities, but which ones:  the Department of Education,  the ATF, thousands of school boards across the country?

And who is screening and certifying that these guards are qualified to carry weapons around children?

That’s just for starters. What sort of guns are these guards going to have: police- type handguns or automatic weapons?

Where will the weapons be kept: in the school or in the possession of the guards? And who will pay for them?

Where exactly will these guards be stationed: at the front door with visible weapons greeting children as they enter the school? Prowling the school grounds?

Once the children are safely inside their classrooms, what do the guards do? Do they walk around all day or do schools create special guard boxes, like those outside embassies and consulates? And if the guard is stationed in such a box does he not then become the first target for any gunman? Would each guard then be equipped with a bullet-proof vest and other combat gear?

And the more protected he is, won’t that just increase young children’s own apprehension and enhance the not uncommon notion that school is “jail?” How will parents feel about sending their young ‘uns off to be guarded by Rambo?

So, to recap, if we do as Wayne LaPierre suggests, we would be creating the equivalent of a vast new government agency with authority to vet and oversee these guards and equip them with all sorts of expensive hardware for a job that will entitle those who survive long enough to gain a pension for the rest of their lives.

Somehow it doesn’t seem like this will go over well with conservatives in Congress (and state houses and city halls and town meetings) who have been calling for the abolition of the Department of Education and trying to de-legitimize public employee unions and the ATF, and cut budgets at all governmental levels to the bone…and then some.

The NRA had to come up with…something. People are tired of LaPierre and his cronies  just saying, every time some innocent American dies, that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” while ignoring the vast arsenal that has turned every classroom, every bowling alley, every bar and movie theatre in America into a potential gunfight at the OK Corral.

If the NRA really wants to be a force for positive change it will have to try harder.  LaPierre’s dubious scheme represents exactly the type of bureaucratic overreach that many gun owners say they fear most. On closer examination, it cannot possibly appeal to anyone on any side of the gun violence debate.

 

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GRAPHIC: http://bossip.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/armed-guard.jpg?w=635&h=482


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  • http://twitter.com/jaded41 Eddie H.

    Or the government could just do nothing and we can all understand that bad crap happens every now and then. But you still have better odds at being hit by lightning or eaten by a shark than being part of a school shooting. If people want to kill people, they will figure out how. You can’t ban or regulate enough things to control that. And if a tyrannical government were to come to power, the killing that would result from an unarmed public would be far greater than the sum of the gun tragedies we see each year. My heart does go out to those families impacted though.

    • http://twitter.com/mterry49er Mark Terry

      National Weather service reported 40 deaths by lightening last year, while there were 10,000+ gun deaths last year. nice try though

  • KGB

    Whilst I do agree the apparent contradiction is not doing him any favours, the reality is that additional (armed) LEO’s were just *one* option put forward; spending money is/was not mutually inclusive of the idea because it has also been/is being proposed that retired or off-duty officers/military be encouraged to *volunteer* their time. (The numbers are interesting but hardly persuasive proof-of-intent so to speak – the COPS program in 2009 received grant requests to the tune of $8 billion, awarding $1 billion to hire just 5,000 officers for a 3yr period (http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=35), the FedGov would be more than happy to ‘spend’ that money to in-dept a State.)

    As an extension to the voluntary aspect of the idea, a more favorable option being put forward by supporters is to train teachers and civilians to CCW, foregoing much of the expense associated with FedGov grants and influence – it’s been widely reported (but not by corporate media) that many local gun stores, weapons trainers, ranges et-al have offered/are more than willing to provide their services freely for this.

    It’s also been said that any decision to do either/or, or indeed not do it at all, should be left to the States, Councils and Cities to decide, not the Federal Government (not withstanding the receipt of FedGov grants to sway the decision making process).

    In practice, it’s likely the ‘feet on the beat’ would actually be TSA not LEO’s.

    Interesting article nonetheless as it highlights the contradictions ‘playing politics’ has.

  • Uncle Albert

    A naked ad hominem attack is a sure indicator that the author agrees with the proposal, but doesn’t like it. When a journalist does this it’s a statement that he believes that his audience is ignorant, as otherwise he never take the ad hominem path. It’s of course perfectly reasonable that kids be protected from murders and psychos. Of course guns do scare people, but that’s an indicator of their cowardice, not any intrinsic quality of guns.

    • Russ

      ugh. Not sure what you’re talking about, but you have an awful way of saying whatever it is…

    • Lenny Daine

      We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert, but the kettle’s on the boil and we’re so easily called away…

  • Suze O

    The one thing I didn’t like about having good guys with guns around to stop bad guys with guns is that everyone WITH a gun thinks they’re a GOOD guy! That can include these crazies we all condemn. They have a cause, a perception, an emotion, or an ideology – as crazy as it may seem to everyone else – that makes sense to THEM. Abortion doctor killers are among them. The reason the Right Wing finds this arm-everyone “solution” so appealing is that they tend to have authoritarian personalities anyway. Such people feel very comfortable with being judge, jury, and executioner. Historically, allowing authoritarians to have free reign to administer what they believe to be justice has gotten us into a lot of trouble. Do we have to learn this lesson all over again?

    • Russ

      Very good points. Thanks.

    • KGB

      In any given group or collection of people a certain percentage will have an ‘authoritarian’ personality, be considered ‘crazy’ (metaphorically or clinically) or have one or more of a myriad different ‘traits’. That really goes without saying, and all of which precludes the use of weapons – it’s asinine to suggest otherwise.

      Different perspectives on “authoritarians”

      1) If the Americans (terrorists) of the time didn’t put up an armed resistance against the British Government (authoritarians), where would America be right now (singing God save the Queen no doubt)?

      2) The woman who shot a burglar the other day after he broke into her house and found her in the upstairs bedroom hiding in a closet with her young children. Where would she and the children be (the police were “on their way”)?

      3) In India, there is a ‘rush’ of women taking up firearms after the recent brutal gang-rape and death of another (and countless others elsewhere) on a bus in public. Would she still be alive if she was armed?

    • CQ
  • Mark

    Everyone has a right to protect themselves with a firearm, including felons and people with a history of mental problems, and if they use their firearms to hurt someone you kill them!! The only time I had a firearm pointed at me was from a coworker at a tow company who had a Dislike for me and a concealed carry permit,

  • http://twitter.com/mterry49er Mark Terry

    Reporter: “So Mr. NRA Republican, you want to have an armed guard at every school in the country? That sounds really f*ckin expensive, surely you will have to agreed to a large tax increase and an expansion of government to pay for all of that, correct?”

    NRA Republican: “No, were just saying that because it sounds like something the American public would buy until all the hysteria dies down and they eventually forget.”

    Reporter: “You do know that there was an armed guard at Columbine? how’d that workout?”

    NRA Republican: Um….Errrrr…

    • KGB

      NRA Republican: we’re advocating *INSIDE* where it matters, not sitting in a car outside patrolling the grounds.

  • Mr. M

    Sure, let’s outlaw guns. Let’s do it in a democratic way – starting with the Pentagon. Then secret service detail, and so forth…

  • Jimmy

    If New York or other states want to have stricter gun laws that’s fine. Or if the state decides they want armed guards fine. As long as they don’t try and impose it on other states. It should be a state issue, not federal.

  • http://twitter.com/pws4 pws

    I do think there is a certain amount of interest in Washington, DC in creating new policing agencies, since those can be used for repression. Rather than preventing the next Adam Lanza, the armed guards will be useful in suppressing all sorts of political protests, which is far more important to our elites.

  • http://twitter.com/polfilmblog Political Film Blog

    I’ve been around schools with police officers present, and it is a normal part of life there. In that respect, it doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary or strange. Better to have the cops protecting kids than doing a lot of the other things they are known for. It’s not a simple question, and doesn’t deserve simple-minded responses. When violence erupts, anywhere, the first response of everyone is to call the cops. So, having them there as a regular part of logistics is not at all that odd of a suggestion.

    Guns could be outlawed tomorrow, and you’d still need to protect people. The role of police should exactly be to protect and serve. Mocking is not a substitute for rationality.

    The Democrats are shown as useless on this question, because they won’t even call for any real solutions. Banning assault weapons? So what? The next one will use a handgun. A shotgun. A rifle. They don’t even pretend to have a solution, just mealy-mouthed half-measures that we are supposed to pretend are real and effective.

    This issue is anything but simple, and it withstands simplistic gibberish. A basic need for self-defense is real and cannot be guaranteed by the state. Police cannot assist you before violence occurs; that is just reality. You are on your own. Would that it wasn’t a dangerous world, but it is. There are too many factors to count, but there you are.

    • https://sites.google.com/site/themattprather Matt Prather

      “The role of police should exactly be to protect and serve.”

      The Devil is ever in the details.

      And who cuts the police their paychecks and gives them “liquidity” in cash and other non-material assets…? Is it the students on campus?

      Whom do the police choose to serve in their day-to-day lives?

      • https://sites.google.com/site/themattprather Matt Prather

        who controls the electricity and the food is more important than who controls the guys anyway

        Like I’ve said, the guns-on-US-soil debate is a non-debate in the scope of true power.