A National Database of the Mentally Ill »« Robert Bork, scariest almost Supreme Court Justice, dead at 85

NRA Press Conference — More Guns in Schools!

The NRA has finally spoken on the tragedy last week in Connecticut and how I wish they hadn’t.  Not because it isn’t telling to hear how crazy they are, but because it is depressing to know how much they hold sway over the people in the government.  The amount of money they have to push their agenda is obscene.  As is the agenda itself.  As is their unwillingness to take questions after their press conference.  But I digress.

There has been a big push in response to the shootings to tighten gun laws, but the NRA, unsurprisingly, doesn’t think guns are the problem.  In fact, they think guns are the solution.

I have spent much of the last week trying to find good, solid information on gun policy in the US, but I’ve had a lot of difficulty.  Everything has been done by a special interest group or just written in political blogs and forums.  There appear to be no studies of the efficacy of things like the Gun Free School Zones, just arguments that mass shootings happen in Gun Free Zones.

To use a cliché here, the plural of anecdote is not data.  Yes, a lot of public shootings have happened in Gun Free Zones, but that’s partially because so many public places are Gun Free Zones.  Statistically, it’s not surprising.  But if we’re using anecdotes to make points, let’s look at a couple of things that don’t survive the bad things don’t happen if someone armed is in the audience, people don’t shoot there — just from the last few years.

2009 Fort Hood Shooting

If there’s any argument against the idea that trained people with weapons have the ability to stop this sort of thing, it’s the Fort Hood Shooting.  One gunman killed 13 people and wounded another 29 on a military base. Almost everyone he shot was a trained member of the military or police force.  He had a shoot out with police, which he won, and continued to shoot more people.

2011 Tuscon Shooting

Gabby Giffords was shot at a public event in a gun-friendly state and one of the men who helped subdue Loughner was carrying a gun.  You know how they stopped the shooter?  He had to reload, at which point there was an opening for people to tackle him.  He was not shot, he was tackled and held down by several people in the crowd.  If that’s not an argument for smaller clips, I don’t know what is.  And it certainly doesn’t support the evil people hear “gun free zone” as a smorgasbord opportunity.

2012 Empire State Building Shooting

11 people were shot — one by the gunman, one was the gunman himself, and 9 people who were shot by the police trying to get the gunman.  Yes, more guns are clearly the answer to keeping people from being hurt.

And, of course, the mother in the most recent shooting was well-armed and well-trained and she didn’t managed to stop her son from killing her and the kindergarteners.  This is not victim blaming, it’s the reality of the power-differences between someone who is crazy and wants to shoot people and even the most well-trained person who finds themselves suddenly faced with insanity in the middle of their routine day.

And then there are all the other incredibly wrong-headed things that the NRA said, I’ll just put them here for you, but feel free to read the whole thing yourself.

A dozen more killers? A hundred? More? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?

Yes, I think every person who ever took a Xanax should be in a registry to stigmatize them and make them seem like killers despite the fact that this would be such a huge registry that it would be useless and it would only serve to make sure people who needed mental health care would avoid seeking it out to avoid being on the registry.  GREAT IDEA.

 And the fact is, that wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger and more lethal criminal class: Killers, robbers, rapists and drug gang members who have spread like cancer in every community in this country. Meanwhile, federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40% — to the lowest levels in a decade.

You know what else is at the lowest levels?  Crime.

With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget, we can’t afford to put a police officer in every school?

The average police officer makes $50,406, there are 138,925 schools in the US, which makes the budget of doing this just over $7 billion, without including the extra budget of training and oversight or the fact that most schools would probably need more than one officer.  I’m not saying it’s not worth the money to send to education, but is it the best use of the money and is there any way, in this fiscal cliff landscape, that it’s possible to approve an increase in spending of that magnitude?  It’s certainly not such a small number that you can ignore the cost as thought it’s negligible.

There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action.We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work.

But what is the point of acting before we have any reasonable expectation that it will work?  I don’t understand why they expect us to understand why their legislation will work?  Or why they think questioning that is a bad thing?  Can we lose precious time implementing a program that is expensive and completely ineffective?.

And then there’s the question that the NRA didn’t address, one that is an important one — why are people who aren’t well-trained public servants allowed to get their hands on these weapons when we know even the well-trained people don’t always do a good job with them?

Comments

  1. johnwoodford says

    The average police officer makes $50,406, there are 138,925 schools in the US, which makes the budget of doing this just over $7 billion, without including the extra budget of training and oversight or the fact that most schools would probably need more than one officer.

    It’s worse than that; benefits are probably on the order of half that salary, so the budget is more like $10B+. Granted, there are a fair number of schools with full-time police officers assigned to them (my son’s, for example), but even so…that’s a sizable chunk of money to come out of local municipal budgets.

  2. Anthony K says

    This is actually in the release:

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

    Welp, I’m off to stop bad drunk drivers by driving drunk, but as a good guy.

    I got a white cowboy hat.

  3. CGM3 says

    michaeld @1:

    So…. national database for the mentally ill: okay
    national database for firearms: not okay.

    Glad I got that straight v.v

    Well, of course. After all, the former surely would not include (or inconvenience) gun owners (who we all know are paragons of mental stability, moral rectitude, and self-restraint — just ask the NRA), so it’s all good.

  4. parasiteboy says

    The average police officer makes $50,406, there are 138,925 schools in the US, which makes the budget of doing this just over $7 billion, without including the extra budget of training and oversight or the fact that most schools would probably need more than one officer.

    According to their statement they want to implement this with volunteers (see below).

    I think it would be nearly impossible to find enough volunteers to cover every school every day of the week. And as pointed out you would probably need more than 1 volunteer per school.

    Even if it was implemented, what if there are children between the volunteers and the attacker(s)? Would we be OK with children dying from “friendly” fire?

    The second point I want to make is that this will be a program that
    doesn’t depend on massive funding from local authorities or the
    federal government. Instead, it’ll make use of local volunteers serving
    in their own communities.

    In my home state of Arkansas, my son was a volunteer with a local
    group called “Watchdog Dads,” who volunteer their time at schools to
    patrol playgrounds and provide a measure of added security.

    Whether they’re retired police, retired military or rescue personnel,
    I think there are people in every community in this country, who would
    be happy to serve, if only someone asked them and gave them the
    training and certification to do so.

  5. Nepenthe says

    I read the idea of the registry to my dad. His response: “Well, we might as well just tattoo them on the forehead, a bar code or something.”

    Sometimes I think my parents are awesome.

  6. machintelligence says

    I suppose a rational response from the NRA was asking too much. It is essentially impossible to predict when or why these sorts of attacks are going to occur, so the best tactic would be to reduce their lethality. Reducing the rate of fire for weapons is a cost effective way to start. When the head of the NRA says

    The media call semi-automatic firearms “machine guns” — they claim these civilian semi-automatic firearms are used by the military, and they tell us that the .223 round is one of the most powerful rifle calibers … when all of these claims are factually untrue. They don’t know what they’re talking about!

    he is being factually true but disingenuous. The semi-automatic weapons in this caliber, with 30 round and higher capacity magazines have no legitimate civilian use. The only reasonable uses for the .223 cartridge are target and Varmint shooting, both of which are done with heavy barreled bolt-action rifles or the occasional single shot target pistol.

    You are also spot on when it comes to the cost and effectiveness of the armed guard proposal. There were typically less than 40 homicides in public schools (K-12) annually and not all of those were students. Even if having guards at every school could reduce the number to zero (wishful thinking) are we ready to spend over 200 million dollars per life saved? I doubt that the fiscally conservative would agree that we are.

  7. Leslie Lane says

    I find the armed guard proposal reasonable provided that gun owners pay for the guards. A tax of roughly $50-75/yr for each gun should cover the cost.

  8. Ed says

    Fort Hood was a gun free zone. Guns are not allowed to be carried on base. Thank you Clinton Administration.

  9. gworroll says

    Well, it’s a better proposal than “arm all the teachers”, at least these are people that have training and might actually be useful in a firefight and stand a chance of not just making things worse. So it’s certainly not the craziest idea I’ve heard on how to fix this, in fact, it might actually help. I was hoping the NRA might take a saner approach to gun regulation, or even “we have enough laws, just enforce them properly” with a few examples of incomplete enforcement to back up their point. Still, it’s definitely one of the better ideas to come from the gun lobby. I’m not sure if that more speaks good of the NRA in this, or bad of everyone else.

    Still… who is going to pay for this? This is a lot of money, and doesn’t seem to account for training, equipment, time of superior officers doing oversight. This money has to come from somewhere, expecting the districts to pay for it HAHAHAHA I want what you’re smoking. Some states might be able to shoulder some of the cost, but I don’t see that working in a huge cash strapped state like California.

    This program would only work with massive federal subsidies. No one else can possibly spare enough money to implement this program nationwide. How many of the NRAs buddies on the right would be willing to go for that?

    My cynical side makes me wonder if that’s the point. Present a slightly saner version of their normal crap to make themselves look better in the eyes of the public without losing much if any support from the right wing, but put out something that the political will does not exist to actually implement. They get good PR, nothing they care about changes.

  10. prestonstafford says

    I’m a former paramedic. This is personal experience and not the result of study.

    Every single ped gunshot victim I treated was within 100′ of their home. The majority of them were inside the home.

    So… armed guards… stupid.

  11. johan says

    Just wait for a shooting at an NRA meeting.
    All members feeling save and just one of them loses his temper.
    A law obiding citizen getting out of control. No one could forsee this but it is likely to happen.
    And guards at schools ? Let the NRA offer volunteers and pay them too, funds enough and volunteers ?
    Maybe a school shooter will be a student again and willingly to kill such a guard.
    No weapon can protect anyone, but the NRA keeps saying stupid things.
    If the NRA is no longer financed by the firearms business, where would they stand ?

  12. Sudo Me says

    Tax gun sales and gun owners to pay for the guards to protect kids from gun owners.

    I’ve mentioned that to a few gun nuts today. Man, it really upsets them.

  13. Matt Penfold says

    Still… who is going to pay for this? This is a lot of money, and doesn’t seem to account for training, equipment, time of superior officers doing oversight. This money has to come from somewhere, expecting the districts to pay for it HAHAHAHA I want what you’re smoking. Some states might be able to shoulder some of the cost, but I don’t see that working in a huge cash strapped state like California.

    Surely it should be funded on the polluter pays principal, so it should be funded by a tax on gun ownership. I doubt the NRA has that in mind as a source of funding though.

  14. stephanie says

    It’s gonna be very expensive indeed. But on the other hand I think leaving teachers and other staff members completely unarmed is simply irresponsible. This is the issue that concerns all of us and those in power should do all they can to prevent the same kind of massacre from happening again. I have two children and I can’t even imagine being in a similar situation. When I heard the news about the massacre I was thinking about the safety regulations in my own country. A few days ago I read an article on my native Vancouver which is often presented as one of the most liveable cities with the safest neighborhoods in the world but only now I realize that you are never truly protected anywhere. And the risks your children are exposed to every day are omnipresent.

  15. cactuswren says

    It wouldn’t be at all difficult to fund the placing of armed guards in schools. Simply levy a 100%-of-retail tax on every sale of firearms or ammunition.

  16. says

    Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea|

  17. says

    I seriously love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my very own website and would like to find out where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thank you!|

  18. Kate says

    To drive a Car you need a license and are punished for doing it with out one. Same should be for gun users. If you aren’t trained and licensed you should be punished if you do it. Taking guns away will only make the mental cases find another route.

  19. Kate says

    Why should the general public pay for your kids to go to school and be safe when not all people have kids or kids of school age. parents with school age kids should pay for their own safe places to have kids learn. Public schools may not be the safest place to send them. Maybe you should home school them and quit making the general public pay your for your child’s education. You wouldn’t send them out on the freeway to play.

  20. says

    He was born in New York.The show is supposed to be goodGo right back to the beginning.Today it is common that women and girls make up in public.Don’t keep me waiting long.Were there any exciting incidents during your journey? What shall we do tonight? Great efforts ensure the success of our work.I’m in a hurry!It’s not as cold hot as it was yesterday

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>