It was in counterpoint to the crazy idea that we should arm every teacher in every class room, with a PPK or assault rifle, and have a cop in every school – but not every classroom.
Nor should we overlook the “other” substitute initiative for gun reform, that this nation should take a closer look at those who are mentally ill. Unfortunately, we’re talking detection and discrimination, scapegoating really, not about acceptance or treatment.
Consider the fact that Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disorder, suffered by our latest horrific shooter, Adam Lanza, is not a disorder associated with violence.
The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, undeterred by Lanza’s mental state, railed against the nation’s mental health: “The truth is, that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters. People that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons, that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them.”
Is LaPierre suggesting a policy that every gun owner must undergo a mental examination at the time of a weapon’s purchase or transfer? Hardly!
LaPierre calculated he had to divert the nation from any discussion of true gun reform, with forehead slapping distractions. He also sought to instruct the Republican T-party members in Congress that this stratagem was how to defend gun reforms against those who rebel against the notion that the gunfight at the OK Corral should be the law enforcement model we emulate.
LaPierre railed at the media for its coverage (even as he manipulated the media to cover him), refusing to answer any questions.
The run up to LaPierre’s statement was orchestrated with NRA-endorsed elected officials calling for pistol-packing teachers in the classroom. This was a stratagem to make the cop in every school sound almost reasonable by comparison, ignoring the fact that there were armed guards at Columbine and Virginia Tech and other killing fields, that made no difference.
Anyone who has fairly studied the current system involving “School Resource Officers (SROs),” knows it really should be called “Cops in Schools,” and that, instead of protecting our children from violence, it has criminalized our students, turning the school corridors into court anterooms.
Critics call the “Cops in Schools” initiative a “school to prison” pipeline. For example, in Spotsylvania County, in Virginia, a freshman honor student shot spit balls at another kid in class. For this, he was suspended for a year and charged with three criminal misdemeanor assault charges.
In a class action lawsuit in New York, students complained they were arrested for minor, non-criminal activities, handcuffed and locked away without teacher or parental consent, and then taken to hospitals for psychiatric evaluations.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), a former federal prosecutor, gets it. Christie has rightly opposed this “cop in a school” initiative, saying, “You don’t want to make [schools] an armed camp for kids.” Nor a place to ruin their lives with trumped up criminal charges.
If we really thought a cop in every school was necessary – because this time the mayhem was at a school, by logical extension, we should have cops at all the other places where guns mowed down innocents – in churches, movie houses, shopping centers, and more.
Instead of cops, the answer is we need to control who gets what weapons instead. While it may not make much sense to put a teacher in every gun store to instruct on the values of evolving civilizations, it really might be a good idea to put cops in gun stores instead – and at gun shows – and also at gun manufacturing plants, for at its origin, where the manufacture, supply and distribution of guns occur, that’s where we have our problem.
We should also have a public debate about demanding reparations and damages for victims from these carefree and reckless gun manufacturers, dealers and traders, and impose taxes on guns while dedicating the proceeds to the victims and their families.
Or we can ignore all this, do what we’ve done since Columbine (where there were armed guards), since Virginia Tech (where there were armed guards), look the other way until, of course, the next innocent is killed – but then we might have to admit, after so many deaths, how we have failed these victims, our friends and neighbors, by acting not at all.