NOTE: I am moderating all comments to the blog today in response to some of the stuff I was seeing in an earlier post today. Your comment will not appear until I read and approve it.
After its low profile following the Newtown shooting, the NRA today called for armed officers in every school.
“The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?” said NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre at a news conference interrupted by a protester holding the sign “NRA is killing our kids.”
He continued: “How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame — from a national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave — while provoking others to try to make their mark?”
LaPierre’s comments brought immediate rebuke: “He envisions a world in which the only way to stop a school shooting is to welcome school shootouts,” opined the New York Daily News.
I suspect the NRA response will also have its advocates, including a reader who sent me a one-word response: “Bravo.”
Here is an excerpt from the AP report on today’s NRA news conference:
The group’s top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference that “the next Adam Lanza,” the man responsible for last week’s mayhem, is planning an attack on another school.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said.
He blamed video games, movies and music videos for exposing children to a violent culture day in and day out.
“In a race to the bottom, many conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society, by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes,” LaPierre said.
LaPierre announced that former Rep. Asa Hutchison, R-Ark., will lead an NRA program that will develop a model security plan for schools that relies on armed volunteers.
Since the slayings, President Barack Obama has demanded “real action, right now” against U.S. gun violence and called on the NRA to join the effort. Moving quickly after several congressional gun-rights supporters said they would consider new legislation to control firearms, the president said this week he wants proposals to reduce gun violence that he can take to Congress by January.
Obama has already asked Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and pass legislation that would stop people from purchasing firearms from private sellers without a background check. Obama also has indicated he wants Congress to pursue the possibility of limiting high-capacity magazines.
Earlier this week, the National Association of School Resource Officers sent out this information
MO CANADY, NASRO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: “A well-trained, armed SRO is one of the best defenses against an active shooter. We provide training to school-based police officers on sound tactics that save lives during a shooting attack.
“While an SRO is essential, school safety requires collaboration between multiple agencies and parties. No single group or person, including an SRO, can effectively improve safety alone. We urge involvement by parents, cafeteria staff, janitorial staff, counselors, nurses and even students, as appropriate.”
Are SROs trained to deal with armed assailants?
Yes. NASRO provides specialized training to SROs on how to properly respond to an active shooter in a sound way. And while NASRO designed the training for SROs, the organization offers it to all law enforcement officers. The tactics that NASRO teaches would also be effective with armed assailants in other settings, such as shopping centers, offices, etc.
How many schools have SROs? Do elementary schools have them?
SROs are not that common in elementary schools. NASRO has 5,000 members who are SROs and there are many more SROs across the nation. We estimate that there are approximately 10,000 school-based police officers across the country.
Can parents get involved in school security?
NASRO recommends that every school have a security team that includes school administrators, teachers, cafeteria staff, janitorial staff, counselors, nurses, students and parents. Here are some ways parents can be involved:
•Ask for a town-hall style meeting on security. Such meetings allow interested parties to voice concerns, get questions answered, examine new issues, etc. These meetings should occur on a regular basis, not just in response to recent tragedies.
•Gain an understanding of the security policies at your school. Find out if parents were involved in designing the policy.
•Consider serving as a parent member of the security team to help with policies.
•Get to know your school’s SRO, if the school has one.
•If you don’t have an SRO, work with your school’s administrators on ways to get funding for an SRO.
Will the Connecticut school shooting be a catalyst for change, in the same way school security changed after the campus rampages that occurred between 1993-1999?
NASRO hopes so. School security procedures have limitations. Not every school can implement every option that is available. Schools must be safe havens, not prisons, so each school must find the right balance. But we must protect every school from violence in all of its forms. This includes children who bring weapons to school, violent attacks from outsiders, theft, drugs, bullying, etc.
There were 33 school-associated violent deaths during the 2009-2010 school year. In 2010, among students ages 12 to18, there were approximately 828,000 nonfatal victimizations at schools, including 359,000 victims of violence.
In 2009-2010, 74 percent of public schools recorded one or more violent incidents.
In 2009, 5.6 percent of children nationwide carried a weapon onto school property on at least one day in the 30 days prior to the survey.
Nationwide, 17.5 percent of students had carried a weapon (e.g., a gun, knife, or club) on at least one day during the 30 days before the survey.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog