Sunday, December 23, 2012

The NRA’s school safety plan - unfathomable

"[H]arness a vast reserve of “qualified active and retired police; active, reserve and retired military; security professionals; certified firefighters, … rescue personnel; and an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained qualified citizens” to be trained, armed and stationed on playgrounds and in classrooms across America." [The NRA’s school safety plan: Round up the sick and arm the children].

It is unlikely that I would respect the thinking ability of those who see this as a viable, reasonable and rational plan. It is not a civilized society where children are deemed in need of gun toting adults not just on school grounds but in the classrooms.

It will be necessary to remind too many that those chosen by the NRA are not necessarily the good guys. In the local Portland area a person with a concealed gun permit lost his gun in a movie theater while watching the Hobbit  The 7th grader that found it was taught (we are fortunate) not to pick it up. [License revoked for man who left gun in Tillamook theater].

Again in Portland a "[f]ormer Portland gang member, licensed to carry concealed weapon, sues police sergeant for seizing his handgun." The gun was 'concealed' in his car where an officer saw it and therein lies the lawsuit.

In Seattle,  a man "who had a history of mental and behavioral problems, was asked by a barista to leave a coffee shop before he stood up and opened fire. He fled and killed himself as police closed in hours later. The guns were purchased legally and Stawicki had a concealed weapons permit." [U.S. mass shootings in 2012].

The Washington Post's U.S. mass shootings in 2012 demonstrates that it is the availability of firearms that was the causal factor in these 2012 shootings.  In most of the incidents the guns had been purchased legally and some were stolen (apparently from legal owners).

One cannot deny that firearms of nearly every sort are easily obtainable. If one cannot obtain the weapons through legal channels there is the option of illegal channels (that used by ordinary criminals) or merely take the firearms from those who have purchased them legally (Adam Lanza).

Given that guns are in the hands of the wrong people - the homicide rate and the use of guns in commission of crimes tells us that - one must assume that the NRA sees their plan as a deterrence (or maybe a war pitting the 'good guys' against the 'bad guys') to those who might determine to shoot children.

What kind of future is envision by the gun toters - a vision promulgated by their unwillingness to put the days of the old west behind them and possibly save a life or two? Will a TSA fear based inspection of each and every child, teacher, parent, visitor be next? Can barbed wire fencing be coming soon to the school near you?

Of course one of the big mistakes is the failure to realize in the case of those who are characterized, only after the fact, as being mentally ill that there is no litmus paper test. The armed school guard is not going to be able to recognize the mentally ill person bent on shooting school children, as apparently was the Connecticut shooter.

There is no rational basis to assume that an armed guard at the Connecticut school would have done anything other than got himself shot as well as others. It is not reasonable to assume that a Connecticut shooter would think twice about the possibility of an armed guard. He had already shot his mother four times, once in the head, and came better prepared to do battle than any mythical armed guard.

Just how many guards are necessary and will they be armed sufficiently to counter a Connecticut shooter? A pistol would have been little use against a body armored Connecticut shooter.

There is a big mistake being made when there is an assumption that the 'bad guys' act as we might act. Thus, just how will the armed guard recognize and distinguish among those that are permitted to be on school grounds? Will the permitted wear badges?

Will the armed guards be badged or otherwise 'marked?' Will they be wearing body armor? Will parents be carrying guns to school to pick their children or attend school activities? Will the armed guard be able to shoot first? Or will he or she be the obvious target of someone bent on attacking a school?

The legal ramifications are immense. Even the police are highly restrained in their use of firearms. A wrongful shooting, a child or teacher killed or wounded in gun fire will subject the armed guard and school to expensive and time consuming lawsuits.

Prevention, prevention, . . . .