Vail Daily letter: Arming up won’t help
Ryan Summerlin January 2, 2013
In my entire life (69 years) I have never heard anything as absurd, senseless and useless, than employing armed guards in every grade school and high school in the United States. PoliticusUSA, Dec. 24: “According to a report on NPR, the cost to taxpayers for each armed guard will cost about $80,000 annually. There are over 69,000 primary and secondary schools in America. Taxpayers will have to come up with over $5.5 billion to put one so called protector in every school. The only people-entity that will benefit are the NRA and the gun industry. It is a double benefit for the NRA and the gun industry … because not only does it mean 69,000 extra guns (at least) in public schools, millions of young impressionable minds will be indoctrinated into the gun culture as part of their daily education putting them on par with Afghan and Iraqi children brought up with a healthy respect for the power of an AK47 or RPG.”
I have done additional research, and the 69,000 K-12 schools figure is not correct. According to the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Clearing House for Educational Facilities, there are approximately 98,817 K-12 schools. In a New York Times column Dec. 26, Maureen Dowd used the same number.
In the Vail Daily Dec. 26 Linda R Lebid-Bumpas said, “I think the only solution families have across America is to have an armed security guard in every school. This should be mandatory.”
This is ridiculous. No individual armed guard can be everywhere at once in any school. Even Superman could not be everywhere at once. Maybe every school should also have cameras in every classroom, every hallway and every lavatory. Who would pay for this, the NRA?
NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s “National School Shield” program proposal is absolutely horrifying. It is nothing more than an effort to put fear into citizens who are not gun nuts as a means for the NRA and the gun industry to sell more guns, arguing that the public needs more guns to prevent incidents like this.
The idea that a so-called armed guard can protect everyone or anyone in primary and secondary schools is so absurd it is beyond reality. A single armed guard will never be where the armed killer is in time to prevent any harm. Anyone making this claim such as La Pierre and his gun nut followers belong in a mental institution. They are the danger we should be concerned about.
In his recent speech, LaPierre said, “Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws, and fill the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking then only delay meaningful action, and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away.”
“America’s problem with gun violence and mass shootings is guns, and not the lack thereof, but the NRA has the gun industry to protect and their 28 lobbyists who spent $2,205,000 in 2012 to promote more guns on America’s streets.” (PoliticusUSA.)
“Of the world’s 23 “rich” countries, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is almost 20 times that of the other 22. With almost one privately owned firearm per person, America’s ownership rate is the highest in the world; tribal-conflict-torn Yemen is ranked second, with a rate about half of America’s. But what about the country at the other end of the spectrum? What is the role of guns in Japan, the developed world’s least firearm-filled nation and perhaps its strictest controller? In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.” (Max Fisher, The Atlantic, July 23, 2012.)
Between 2000 and the Dec. 14 shooting in Connecticut, there have been 22 gun attacks in schools, four of which were in universities-colleges. One security guard at a Minnesota school in 2005 was killed. In 2010 and 2011, there were no shootings at all. (Wikipedia.)
If one accepts this lunacy, then we should also have armed guards in all shopping centers; all movie theaters; all universities-colleges; all sporting events, such as baseball and football stadiums, etc.; all restaurants and bars (e.g., Richard “Rossi Moreau); and any public event where numerous people gather. Very few of these places ever search anyone who comes in, so anyone can sneak an AK-47 or a similar weapon or a handgun into any of these locations and shoot dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent people.
Let’s say that the Sandy Hook school had an armed guard. Unless he was standing at the entrance to the school with his gun drawn and unless Adam Lanza came into the school with a gun that was visible, what could the guard possibly do? Absolutely nothing.
When Lanza went into a classroom, where would this guard be? In the cafeteria, in the bathroom, walking up and down the halls, in another classroom? The existence of a guard does not matter one wit because even if he heard the shooting, he would have been too late. How would he know exactly where to go? If Lanza was standing next to the entry door to the classroom, the guard would not see Lanza. If he burst into the room with his gun drawn, Lanza would have seen the guard before the guard saw Lanza, and he would have killed the guard instantly.
If a shooting was on a college campus, which covers substantially more ground and has more than one building as do most public schools, how could the guard prevent any shooting? It would be impossible. James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, was wearing some form of bullet-proof clothing. If 10 people had guns in the theater, maybe they may have killed Holmes eventually by shooting him in the head if they were good enough shooters. But it would have been after the fact and most likely, in the panic of the event, it would have resulted in the 10 armed people in the panic of the situation, shooting other innocent people. To believe otherwise would be incomprehensible to any reasonable person.
“Last August, two NYPD officers opened fire on a suspected shooter, killing him and wounding nine other innocent bystanders in a ‘good guy’ versus ‘bad guy’ confrontation in front of the Empire State Building in New York City. One shudders at the thought of an armed guard overreacting and opening fire in a high school hallway between classes, but that would be a constant fear parents, teachers, and students would face with armed vigilantes roaming our public schools with a license to kill.” (PoliticusUSA.) These two policemen were trained officers, including how and when to fire a gun. Does anyone think that the 98,817 armed guards in the primary and secondary schools would have equal training?
I am sure that most Vail Daily readers remember Richard “Rossi” Moreau who on Nov. 7, 2009, went on a shooting rampage through the Sandbar in West Vail in which he killed Dr. Gary Kitching and wounded others. Dr. Kitching had stopped in the bar, while his wife was waiting in their car, to check the score of a sporting event.
If LaPierre had his way and everyone in the country was armed, this shooting would have been prevented, which is, of course, pure garbage. Further, the panic in the Sand Bar would obviously be extreme, as everyone would be trying to find a means to get out of the line of fire.
In every event described above, along of thousands of similar events, not one would have been prevented by any bystander possessing a loaded gun or an armed guard. The reason should be obvious to anyone but a fool: The shootings occur first, before anyone (such as a school guard) would or could get their firearm out and arrive at the scene to prevent anything that had occurred.
Maybe someone can tell me when anyone in Eagle Country or even in Colorado successfully used his or her gun in defense of being attacked by another person with a gun.
Given the sick nature of this country, as evidenced by the LaPierre’s of this country, I know that the following could never occur: Japan’s common sense policy of gun control should become the model for the U.S.