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Should Local Schools Follow NRA's Suggestion for Armed Campus Security?

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the NRA's Wayne LaPierre said.

In a Friday morning press conference in Washington DC, the National Rifle Association broke its weeklong silence following the horrific shooting of 26 people at a school in Newtown, Conn., and called for a surge of gun-carrying "good guys" around American schools.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for a new kind of American domestic security revolving around armed civilians, arguing that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

"We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents," LaPierre said. "Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers. Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent, and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it, and exploit it."

LaPierre's speech was a call to supporters to mobilize around a new vision of American domestic security, at a time when voices for gun control are steadily rising. On Friday morning before the press conference, President Obama released a video (above) citing a petition by hundreds of Americans calling for swift action.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), who represents Napa, Sonoma, Benicia and other areas in Congress, responded to LaPierre's speech by saying keeping kids safe "goes beyond just arming more people" with firearms.

“Closing holes in our mental health system, addressing our culture’s glorification of violence, improving background checks for everyone who buys firearms, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons and assault magazines all must be part of a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent gun violence.”

Thompson was recently elected to represent the newly redrawn California Fifth District.  The district includes all or parts of Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano and Contra Costa counties. On Dec. 19 it was announced Thompson will lead a task force to investigate new steps Congress can take now and in the future to reduce gun violence and prevent massacres like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, is not a member of the NRA, but according to his office, he is a gun owner, hunter and former chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. The website On The Issues shows that Thompson received a C+ rating from the NRA.

At the grassroots level, groups like Newtown United, a group of Newtown neighbors, are working to address major issues related to the tragedy, including gun control, violent media, mental health and legislation.

Newtown locals responded to the NRA press conference. Suzy DeYoung, a Newtown parent, coach and resident for nine years who has three children, said LaPierre's speech was playing to people’s fears.

“People are much smarter than this,” DeYoung said. “He is saying we need to be protected from guns by more guns. This lack of logic speaks for itself, and I truly believe the response you are abut to see from parents all around the world will offer better commentary than I ever could."

Joanna Zachos, a mother in Sandy Hook, CT said that while she supports an increase in gun control and personally does not believe in guns at all, that the larger problem goes "way beyond that."

"The problem we have is our immunity to violence as a society as a whole," she said. "Violent video games, violent movies, addiction to horror films. We've developed immunity to violence and violent images."

LaPierre also lamented violence in video games, music videos and "blood-soaked" films. But his central solution seemed to be a great mobilization of gun-carrying "good guys," a term he used repeatedly but did not define, who might be more present and respond more quickly than police.

"If we truly cherish our kids, more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible," LaPierre said. "And that security is only available with properly trained, armed 'good guys'."

LaPierre, who was interrupted twice by protesters who held signs in front of TV cameras, made a direct call for local action.

"I call on every parent. I call on every teacher. I call on every school administrator, every law enforcement officer in this country, to join with us and help create a national schools shield safety program to protect our children with the only positive line of defense that’s tested and proven to work," he said.

LaPierre did not take questions from reporters, and did not acknowledge the protesters.

This article has been reprinted from Benicia Patch.

What do you think of this idea? Tell us in the comments section below.

Joanne Gifford December 24, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Thanks, Nick, for asking that question. I was on my way over here to ask it myself...
Joanne Gifford December 24, 2012 at 09:25 PM
So, Lorie, how much "fire-power" do you think we need to place on each of the over 100,000 school campuses that exist in the U.S to keep our kids safe, exactly? Do you have any idea just how large and porous most of our school campuses are and just how many "armed guards" it would really take at each of those to make this work in any meaningful way, if it actually could? What do we do about recess, scheduled breaks from classes, and transition periods, where students -- by the hundreds, if not thousands -- are outside of the classroom and spread in clumps all over those campuses? Most campuses now are -- at best -- surrounded only by chainlink fencing. So do we surround them all with impenetrable walls now or just not let students go outside at all. Do we completely eliminate "open campuses," where students are permitted to stream off-site in large numbers during lunch breaks? And, of course, how does any of this keep innocent children safe at the movies, the mall, and at church, etc? Furthermore, there is enormous risk of innocent bystanders getting killed or wounded in "shoot-out" crossfire (as happened recently when THE POLICE exchanged fire with a gunman at the Empire State Building AND SHOT 9 BYSTANDERS IN THE PROCESS) with this kind of arrangement. (In real life, it really doesn't work like in the movies and on TV.) This is a very risky and expensive proposition that, as a practical matter, offers little promise as a means to resolve address gun violence.
Cindy Watter December 24, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Mark Mathews--That's Mrs. Watter to you. I already have a brother. I suppose you are referring to the riots after the very unjust Rodney King decision. The race issue is never far away when we discuss gun control. After reading a lot about the issue (allow me to recommend the book "American Rifle") I learned that gun ownership went up during the Civil Rights Movement because many whites feared a race war. In my reading I also learned that another political group besides the NRA ardently opposed gun control--the Black Panthers. Strange bedfellows, indeed. More than twenty years ago the very moderate American Medical Association referred to gun-related deaths as an American epidemic. FYI, I have family members who are members of the NRA and like many members of other organizations, they are less extreme than the leaders. I don't know how much longer they will remain members after the spectacularly tone-deaf performance by Mr. LaPierre. With babies being buried all week, his grievance was about the liberal media being so mean to the NRA. Unbelievable. The man needs a handler.
David December 24, 2012 at 11:40 PM
It amazes me time and time again that those on the "Right" go straight to name calling at the drop of a hat, instead of having an intelligent debate on an important issue. And people wonder why Washington is gridlocked...
Mark Mathews December 25, 2012 at 12:53 AM
David, it is not those on the right who have done this - it is you fabulously intolerant folks on the left, who themselves continue to ignore the question of the criminal use of a gun, yet go onto comment about the grammar of said poster. Your kind also get the moderators to shut folks like me down, when we get too close to the target of calling you what you are. DC is gridlocked because the sheep re-elected the problem.
Mark Mathews December 25, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Guys, unless you only go to CNN and MSNBC, who filter their stories with only those they decide are noteworthy to their likened sheep, you would know that this is perhaps the tenth instance of this occurring over the last two years, and would therefore already know what "mutts" are. I'd be less PC than RK and call them what they really and truly are, but I wouldn't want to offend the easily offended progressives here. They have enough on their plate, crucifying the NRA and its members...
Mark Mathews December 25, 2012 at 01:13 AM
"Workers of the World Unite?" Yea, that would be fun loving Communism, to which you would have to talk with Miz Nancy Pelosi's husband, who is very much in bed with the current junta of that country of slave labor; one of those 1% types many of those reading this keep whining about.
Christian Kallen December 25, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Let's slow down here on the name-calling. This has been a long lived and relatively open conversation, let's keep it that way, thanks. (Speaking as Napa Valley Patch guest editor...)
Joanne Gifford December 25, 2012 at 09:06 AM
Mark: "Arming teachers works in Israel, but would not work in the Lilly-liveried girlie man run school system of America, where they squeak when they see even a photo of a gun." "Lilly-liveried girlie man...?" How dare you make such a comment.? The fact that you are just completely wrong about Israeli teachers being armed notwithstanding, six school district employees, teachers and administrators alike, were brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice trying to save the lives of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School that day and many more that did not lose their lives have been hailed as heroes for their acts of bravery that day, as well.
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" December 25, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Sorry All I wil replace mutt with eager youth shoppers. Merry christmas everyone
Joanne Gifford December 25, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Let me, once again, be clear about this: I am not advocating for outlawing all guns here in the United States. That said, however, in response to the comments that you have posted here, please join me in a little "thought experiment." If we follow your line of reasoning here, how does one reconcile that part about the "well regulated Militia" that seeks to ensure "the security of a free State"with individual civilians, who do not now belong to such a "well regulated Militia," nor do they have any intention ever to do so, laying claim to having a constitutional right to own and carry guns in these United States? (As you yourself have said: "It says nothing about hunting, tactical, sporting or assault.") Shall I take that to mean that you do not believe that anyone who does not now, nor ever intends to, belong to a "well-regulated Militia," has a constitutionally protected right to bear arms? Interesting...
Lorie December 25, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Joanne, To answer your question, exactly, I believe you have answer it yourself. In addition, it would all depend on many very specific factors; particular demographics is one. Some schools already have metal detectors and more than one armed officer in campus (gang banger communities) and an effective (fool proof) lock down procedure should be a must. I would consult our military and beg for advise. Since your "Memo to the NRA" is based on your erroneous interpretation of what each one of the massacres that you cite as an example used as "Fire Power" (No "heavily armed SWAT Team" at Virginia Tech, and just ONE armed Community Resource Officer at Columbine) , your "memo" does nothing to strengthen your argument in favor of "MORE GUN LAWS" in order to control gun violence. Your attempt to ridicule NRA's "solution" to prevent future MASSACRES IN US SCHOOLS tells us more about your closed minded view on "the gun violence problem" our society has been facing. Perhaps your focus should be on lobbying for the ENFORCEMENT of ALREADY EXISTING GUN CONTROL LAWS, as well as implementing NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) by taking a closer look at Federal Privacy Laws regarding "special education/needs children" -anxiety disorders, and overall mental health issues which seem to be a common denominator of the shooters. Continue...
Lorie December 25, 2012 at 08:29 PM
... Once again, RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERS (enthusiasts, hunters or any average law abiding Joe and Jane) are not the problem here, it is the criminals and the mentally ill who do -and probably always will- get a hold of a weapon. Any weapon. We know that THE CRIMINALS get pretty creative: airplanes, box cutters, baseball bats, crow bars, homemade [human] bombs, grenades, and mostly, illegally obtained guns and ammo. Where does this [illegally obtained] "fire power" come from? And, how will you keep a CRIMINAL from illegally obtaining -or creating/manufacturing- a weapon for mass killing, EXACTLY? Renee Leap you hit the nail on the head, imvho, of course!
Joanne Gifford December 25, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Tim: Based on your earlier arguments that strongly imply that you believe the right to bear arms in these United States, as that is set forth in the 2nd Amendment, has as its singular purpose ensuring "the security of a free State," let's consider what that means as a practical matter. Just how would those arms be used to do that? The only way that I can think us is as weapons to kill or injure other human beings who might threaten that security. So, following that same line of reasoning, unlike cars and LPG, which -- while they can be dangerous, too -- also serve other very useful purposes in our day-to-day lives, the right of the People to own guns really exists only if they are to be used to kill and injure people. So we once again get to that "apples to oranges" comparison problem.
Joanne Gifford December 25, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Finally, the only reason that Adam Lanza was able to break all of the laws that you cite here is that his mother was able to legally obtain an assault weapon (among others), which she -- intentionally or not -- made available to him. We can suppose all we want about whether or not he would have sought these weapons elsewhere (as well as -- given how dysfunctional he apparently was -- whether he might or might not have been successful in doing so), were that not the case. We can also suppose all we want about whether or not he might have sought to use other dangerous materials to carry out such an attack, were those guns not available to him. But that is speculative. The only thing that we are certain of is what he actually DID do. And that was to use his mother's legally obtained assault weapon, among others, to kill her, then twenty-six more people, then himself.
Joanne Gifford December 25, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Lorie: This is a supposed to be a discussion about the NRA's proposal. Both Napa and Vintage High Schools, neither of which come even close to being the largest secondary school campuses here in the U.S., have seven minute transition periods between classes. Because the goal here is to minimize the amount of non-instructional time that occurs on any given day during which school is in session, only if one moves very quickly can one make it from one end of campus to another in that amount of time, if at all. And, of course, that is the case, even when one knows in advance exactly where they need to go and exactly when that needs to happen based on a consistent class/bell schedule. Long way around to saying this: once again, even if this were otherwise a good idea, it would take a whole lot more than one or two armed guards at most campuses to really create effective deterrents to these kinds of attacks. If we consider just the cost alone of putting just one armed guard, which -as you have acknowledged here -- will likely be insufficient to the proposed task, at each of the more than 100,000 schools in the United States, we are talking something in the neighborhood of $5 billion. Two guards per school, which might get us a little closer, would be twice that. How do you propose we fund that? And, once again, how does this begin to protect children (and all victims of the more than 30,000 gun-related fatalities that occur in the US every year) that occur elsewhere?
Joanne Gifford December 26, 2012 at 12:36 AM
And BTW, Lorie: There are more than 30,000 gun-related fatalities here in the United States every year. No other type of weapon comes even close to producing that number of fatalities, so -- even though you continue trying to make it -- it is a little hard to take that argument very seriously in this context. People in this country die in overwhelmingly larger numbers as a result of gun fire than they do as a result of the use of any other type of weapon. As to your suggestion that we seek advice from the military in this regard, I'm not sure that makes a whole lot of sense either, given the fact that it was not able to prevent something like the Ft. Hood massacre from occurring on one of its own "campuses." Furthermore, my not accepting the premises of your arguments does not indicate that I am "closed-minded." Rather, it is instead an indication that I find your arguments flawed and unpersuasive.
Joanne Gifford December 26, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Mark: Who said anything about the New York Times? I was talking here about the New York Post and the New York Daily News, both of which are broadly recognized to be right-leaning (conservative) publications.
Lorie December 27, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Joanne, The information available from The Bureau of Justice Statistics about "Gun Violence Deaths" states: - More than 50% of deaths by guns in the US are made up by suicides committed by older adults. - Suicides and drugs account for more than 2 out of 3 gun deaths in the US (I didn't know that suicide is consider a "violent gun death"). The number of lives saved, and rapes, assaults and robberies stopped by someone carrying a gun (civilian and/or law enforcement) would shock you. I'll spare you the pain. I am sure you are aware that convicted felons cannot be required to register their guns because that would force them to confess to the crime of illegally owning a gun. The Fifth Amendment makes it illegal to force people to incriminate themselves. And as much as I don't like this "loophole" I am not about to screech and have it "revised". Most likely it's our judicial system what needs some changes in order to keep criminals (and juveniles) locked up; and the Federal Privacy Laws so schools are allowed to report "mental illness issues" and advise other schools and communities of safe ways to handle such (similar to a "Sex Offender Registry", perhaps?). BTW, I'm not trying to "persuade" you, I'm just discussing your "flawed" arguments.
Lorie December 27, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Joanne, I would definitely beg the Military to advise on how to keep children safe while at school. I trust our Military, it's the ones they report to whom make me "feel unsafe"… The Fort Hood Massacre is now considered a TERRORIST ATTACK committed by Nidal Malik Hasan. Four years prior to this massacre, Army officers had discussed this man's tendencies toward radical islam and his connections to al-Qaeda's officers. In further investigations, the FBI's Terrorism Task Forces determined that Hasan was not a threat. Boy, were they wrong!...I DO trust our Military. There are already surveillance cameras in some of our schools. It wouldn't be impossible to have a school official monitoring those cameras, ideally 24/7 or at least during school hours, in addition to the already existing armed Resource Officer. I read somewhere that the school where BHO's kids attend has eleven ARMED guards…what's good for the goose it's good for the gander! [like...a lot!] Perfect the "lock down" and "fire/earthquake drills" with an "armed force" made up of school officials, parents and/or neighbors. At least in high schools, students are [unofficially] allowed to bring and use their smart phones. Every time there has been a "lock down" because there was a gun-man, fire or explosion I was notified by my kids of such events while it was happening. Maybe a direct number from students and schools to law enforcement and emergency response teams might be a start.
Joanne Gifford December 27, 2012 at 08:06 PM
1) Nice try, but I was talking about gun fatalities. (I, personally, consider any death that occurs as the result of the discharge of a firearm a violent one, but that's beside the point.) 2) I would love to be "shocked" by "[t]he number of lives saved, and rapes, assaults and robberies stopped by someone carrying a gun." Show me the evidence, please. 3) As to: "I am sure you are aware that convicted felons cannot be required to register their guns because that would force them to confess to the crime of illegally owning a gun. The Fifth Amendment makes it illegal to force people to incriminate themselves. And as much as I don't like this "loophole" I am not about to screech and have it 'revised'." I'm not even sure what point you are trying to make here... 4) Just what kinds of "mental illness issues" do you propose we include in this registry? Any and all of them? Including such things as temporary bouts of depression that occur following the death of a loved one? If not, which ones and why? And how will this not discourage people with "mental illness issues" from "outing" themselves by seeking treatment for those "issues?" 5) You have consistently accused me of being "closed minded" over the course of this conversation. I was simply responding to that accusation by trying to point out to you that that is a rather presumptuous (even arrogant) way for you to explain to yourself the fact that I do not accept many of your arguments as valid.
Joanne Gifford December 27, 2012 at 08:27 PM
1) No matter how you want to define the massacre at Ft. Hood, it does nothing to undermine the fact that the military was unable to stop a gunman from carrying that kind of attack out on one of its own bases (campuses). 2) You said: "There are already surveillance cameras in some of our schools. It wouldn't be impossible to have a school official monitoring those cameras, ideally 24/7 or at least during school hours, in addition to the already existing armed Resource Officer." To which I feel compelled to point out, once again, that -- even if such an idea was otherwise a good one -- a single armed guard is going to be woefully insufficient to this task at most secondary school campuses here in the U.S. And, of course, even if we limited each campus to just a single armed guard, adding another staff member whose sole responsibility it is to monitor surveillance cameras all day long would require the placement of AT LEAST TWO full time employees at each site for this purpose. So we are talking now about nearly $10 billion to "protect" the more than 100,000 school campuses here. Among other things, how are we going to fund this? 3) An "'armed force' made up of [insufficiently trained] school officials, parents and/or neighbors?" What could possibly go wrong? (cont'd...)
Joanne Gifford December 27, 2012 at 08:35 PM
4) Re: "I read somewhere that the school where BHO's kids attend has eleven ARMED guards…what's good for the goose it's good for the gander!" Huh? If true, we have long given all POTUSs and their families special protection that are not similarly provided to ordinary citizens. Are you trying to suggest here that we should now provide the same protections to "ordinary citizens" as we do our Presidents and their families? With all due respect, Lorie: you have got to be kidding me. 5) You said: "Every time there has been a "lock down" because there was a gun-man, fire or explosion I was notified by my kids of such events while it was happening." And your point here is? 6) You said: "Maybe a direct number from students and schools to law enforcement and emergency response teams might be a start." We already have such a system in place. It's called "911."
Mark Mathews December 28, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Joanne, glad to see you took a breath and are actually debating the issue and not slandering MY National Rifle Association or their law abiding gun owning citizens. How come Sidwell Friends school, where a list of progressive democrats who are at this time beating the anti gun crowd into yet one more frenzy of emotionalist tripe, employs armed guards, yet that appears to be an acceptable budgeted item. Why NOT at the schools to which we unwashed non politicians send OUR children? Of those supposed 30,000 gun related fatalities (please provide a link), how many are the criminal getting their just deserts by a good guy with a gun? How many of those are mis-categorized as children, when they should be classes as over 18 criminals? Let’s be clear on one thing; the current progressive democrat situation we find ourselves in is this; absolutely no guns on campus (except, of course, where progressives send THEIR children), NO Concealed Carry permits (unless you are “Miz” Diane Feinstein, the hypocrite about to submit yet more bad anti-gun law) and teachers (forced to be members of a union lick-spittle water carrying to those same progressive democrats) unarmed to defend their equally unarmed sheep against the evil of society. THIS is where they and their voting supporters have bought us. Our task at hand is to remedy their failure to address the criminal.
Mark Mathews December 28, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Lorie, I think it is their lack of faith in God, ergo their lack of understanding nor acceptance of Good vs. Evil; that there ARE evil people in the world, who care NOT for ANY laws we pass. They are unwittingly or otherwise, disarming those who desire not to be sheep, so that everyone will be without defense from the wolves, when they come.
Mark Mathews December 28, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Mike, Merry Christmas/Happy birthday Jesus Christ too you too, although I refuse to ever bow to the Political Correctness of fascist Progressivism; “MUTTS” they were, “MUTTS” they shall remain.
Ron December 28, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Joan we'll never agree on this issue but your logic is wrong to keep reporting that no mass shooting has ever been prevented. There have been shootings that were prevented from being worse because police or someone else stopped the shoote. There have been a large number of incidents where a concealed weapon holder have prevented crimes that could have turned into mass shootings but we'll nver know because there were stopped. Here are just a few:
Ron December 28, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero. – Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (I’m excluding the shooters’ deaths in these examples.) – Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three. – Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates — as well as the “trained campus supervisor”; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two. – Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997: After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school; assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieves a .45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunman’s head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: Two. – Edinboro, Pa., 1998: A student shoots up a junior high school dance being held at a restaurant; restaurant owner pulls out his shotgun and stops the gunman. Total dead: One.
Ron December 28, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Sorry about all the posts but I was getting too longwinded. No one is saying that every mass shooting can be stopped by others before it happens, that is wrong just as it's wrong to say that no mass shooting has been stopped or prevented. (or can it be if more people on the scene were armed. Also because you and your teacher friends are of one mind about guns and having one at school doesn't mean the rest of the country agrees. http://www.ksl.com/?sid=23533668&nid=148&title=teachers-provided-with-gun-training-at-west-valley-class&s_cid=featured-1
Christian Kallen December 28, 2012 at 03:09 AM
This has been an enlightening and informative discussion, and much else besides. As it seems to have begun a slide into personal attack and antagonism, I'll turn off the commenting feature. Thank you for your contributions.

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