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Editorial December 28, 2012  RSS feed

EDITORIAL

When the president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) called for armed guards in schools to protect children following the massacre of 26 souls in Newtown, Conn., both him and the idea was quickly labeled “crazy” by the media and many parents.

But when the sales of bulletproof backpacks and child-sized body armor increased by 500 percent overnight after the killing, parents had mixed reactions to the concept and the media is not saying much about the idea.

The idea of police officers or trained armed personnel in the schools is an idea that should be intelligently discussed and not treated as a crackpot idea. In fact, there are some troubled high schools in New York City in which armed police officers are stationed each day. Is that crazy?

The main objection to armed guards or police officers stationed in schools seems to evolve around the idea that children would be traumatized by the sight of military-type guards in the halls of learning.

However, these are the same children that parents bring to airports and subject them to being groped by security agents on the off-chance they may be harboring a bomb in their pants or shoes. Walk around major New York City transit hubs and you’ll see soldiers with menacing-looking guns prowling the area. But neither the airport checks nor machine gun-toting soldiers at transit hubs prevent parents and children from traveling.

There are those who think teachers and principals should be trained to use guns and carry them in school for protection. That’s like giving tellers in a bank a gun in case there is a robber on their line .

As you read this, if you’re saying to yourself that nothing about this situation seems to make any sense, you’re right. Ideally, we shouldn’t have to have armed guards in schools, invasive security agents at airports or heavily-armed soldiers at train stations.

But recent events involving the senseless death of innocent people move us to take basic action, and naturally, the last thing we expect to hear out of Washington is some sort of positive move to stop the violence. Let’s face it: these lawmakers have no clue how to govern a nation properly.

Gun control was a non-issue until something as horrible as the eruption of violence that destroyed lives in a grammar school in America happened. Legislators can’t even seem to agree on what an assault weapon is, no less ban them. There was once a 10-year ban against assault weapons, but like all things in Washington, the ban was allowed to expire after lawmakers were influenced by groups like the NRA to oppose an extension.

Meanwhile, in the past five years, there have been mass shootings in Louisiana, Tennessee, California, Illinois, Florida, Alabama, Ohio, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Oregon and now, Connecticut.

Opponents of the NRA claim the politicians do nothing because the NRA—like so many other special interest groups and unions—is flush with voting members and resources to support— or oppose—any candidate for any office.

Until we decide as a nation to curb the influence of major lobbying groups on our elected government, we aren’t going to properly solve anything—not a fiscal cliff, not a failing health care system, and, tragically, not gun violence. Until that time, any and all ideas to keep our children safe should be on the table.