Now that the gun industry’s response to Parkland has been effectively communicated to all relevant noisemakers from Trump on down, maybe it’s time for the gun violence prevention (GVP) movement to evaluate what they are saying in a calm and dispassionate way. Because like it or not, the chances of getting rid of assault rifles are slim to none, but I can see the Republican leadership jumping around gleefully imagining how a program to put armed guards in every school might play out in the upcoming elections on November 8, 2018.
Nobody takes That Schmuck in the White House (TSWH) seriously when he suggested that one out of every five school teachers should be armed. But what if the GOP decided to add a few more billions to the deficit by coming up with the money that would allow every school district to hire some more cops? You wouldn’t get an argument from the police unions, that’s for sure.
A week after the Sandy Hook massacre, Wayne-o gave a belligerent press conference in which he denounced any talk about new gun regulations and unveiled the NRA’s new school security program, National School Shield, which if implemented, would keep killers away from schools. The program was a hodgepodge of the usual security stuff, first an assessment of school security needs, then a conference with a security professional, then a plan to do this and that, then everyone’s secure.
The program went nowhere, of course, because the NRA was too busy promoting its concealed-carry agenda, including an insurance program for folks who get arrested because they shot some guy coming through the front door even though this ‘street thug’ was the UPS driver delivering a pair of those LL Bean winter boots. But at today’s CPAC conference, where Wayne-o spent most of his talking time reminding the audience that the Democratic Party was now completely under the control of ‘European-style, socialist elites,’ he also pulled out the School Shield program again and no doubt will try to make a deal with Trump, trading a ban on bump stocks for armed guards in every school.
This list may be somewhat incomplete, but the data appears to support the idea that there have been 12 mass shootings at educational sites since the Columbine massacre in 1999, resulting in 167 deaths. Of this total, only 4 occurred in primary or secondary schools, although three of the four worst massacres took place at Columbine, Parkland and Sandy Hook. These horrific events should not blind us to the fact, however, that primary and secondary schools remain locations where little fatal injuries take place. For the 2013 – 2014 school year, according to the Department of Education, there were 26 homicides in 98,000 primary and secondary public schools with a total enrollment of 98 million kids. That’s pretty safe.
Putting a police resource officer in every school sounds like a great idea, but if any police department were to ask for additional monies to hire more cops, the first question which would be asked was whether the particular jurisdiction was experiencing more crime. And if the DOE mean anything at all, putting a cop or armed guard in every school would be like using the elephant to swat the fly.
The real problem that TSWH and the NRA have is that for the very first time, they aren’t dealing with a reaction to gun violence which is led by the usual suspects – Schumer, Feinstein, et. al. Even Rush went out of his way yesterday to assure his audience that his comments about how the ‘Left’ always politicizes mass shootings was not meant, in any way, to disparage the Parkland kids.
I hate to say it, but it may have taken a senseless slaughter of some high school students to invigorate the GVP movement with a new kind of leadership whose motives and credibility are beyond reproach. We’ll soon see if the playing-field for dealing with gun violence continues to tilt their way.