Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association (NRA), explained his delay in responding to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in Friday’s press conference that “Out of respect for those grieving families, and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment. While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectfully silent.”
LaPierre then said:
Now, we must speak … for the safety of our nation’s children. Because for all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, no one — nobody — has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?
The primary blame for what happened in Newtown the previous Friday belongs to politicians, according to LaPierre, for passing laws that mandate “gun-free” school zones. They are proud of these laws, said LaPierre: “They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them.” But all they do is tell monsters like the Newtown shooter that schools are safe places for them to main and kill innocents:
They tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk…
When it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it.
LaPierre also blamed the national media for directing attention away from those laws and restrictions that invite havoc and instead call for more restrictions on gun ownership by law-abiding citizens:
Too many in our national media … their corporate owners … and their stockholders … act as silent enablers, if not complicit co- conspirators. Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws and fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only [one] news cycle away…
They perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban — or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people — will protect us where 20,000 others have failed!
The media also fails to address another potential causative agent that may be involved in such shootings, said LaPierre – violent video games:
Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years.
How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?
LaPierre also blamed a culture that is now so saturated with such violence that it is birthing unknown numbers of deranged monsters just waiting to inflict their violence on other unsuspecting innocents in their attempt to gain momentary notoriety:
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?
A dozen more killers? A hundred? More?…
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?
The answer to such violence, and potential future violence, said LaPierre, lies with the parents of those innocents:
As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It is now time for us to assume responsibility for their safety at school. The only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection.
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun…
They’re our kids. They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them — it’s our right to protect them.
Then LaPierre posed some rhetorical questions: what if someone with a gun had confronted the Newtown shooter? How many lives would have been saved? He asked:
What if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security? Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared?…
Is the press and political class here in Washington so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and America’s gun owners that you’re willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life to shield the children in her care?
And then LaPierre began to outline his plan to protect the lives of students. It would necessarily be based on rescinding the laws mandating gun-free zones, so that qualified individuals would be able to respond instantly to threats. LaPierre said:
The National Rifle Association knows that there are millions of qualified active and retired police; active, reserve and retired military; security professionals; certified firefighters and rescue personnel; and an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every school. We can deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make America’s schools safer…
And then LaPierre took a left turn and exposed what Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America has long suspected about the NRA: that by trying to work within the system it is effectively giving away the Second Amendment one piece at a time. In an interview with Anthony Wile at The Daily Bell in 2010, Pratt was asked what he thought of the NRA:
Wile: Is [the NRA] a helpful organization [in the freedom fight]?
Pratt: The National Rifle Association approaches politics and the government as a given. That leads to working within the system rather than saying we see the system is a problem, that the system represents a number of threats to our liberty and that the system needs to be brought under control…[that] the system [itself] needs to corrected and changed.
Wile: Some critics have charged that the NRA is set up as part of a Hegelian dialectic intended to move gun control toward gun confiscation. What do you think?
Pratt: Well, as I was saying earlier, they have this view that they can somehow get along in the system…
It is hard for people to come to grips with the idea that your government is not really working for your best interest. If you are able to come to that realization, you will take hopefully appropriate action.
The NRA hasn’t come to that realization and so they are comfortable working within a system which is essentially leading us into bondage…
Wile: Why does the NRA so often compromise with Congress – thus allowing legislation which has whittled away Second Amendment rights?
Pratt: Theirs…is the view that they want to work within the system.
This is what LaPierre proposed as the foundation stone of a new program that would “protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works”:
I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever [funds are] necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.
Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work — and by that I mean armed security.
There must be a plan, said LaPierre, to protect the kids which, not surprisingly, involves working closely with the National Rifle Association:
And the National Rifle Association, as America’s preeminent trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50 years, is ready, willing and uniquely qualified to help.
Our training programs are the most advanced in the world. That expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and our children now. We did it for the nation’s defense industries and military installations during World War II, and we’ll do it for our schools today.
LaPierre doesn’t say anything in his press conference about the Second Amendment or the right to keep and bear arms in defense of freedom. Nary a word. Instead, he prefers to, as Pratt pointed out, “work within the system” that is costing Americans their freedom. Said LaPierre:
The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields.
He has just the man for the job: a former government bureaucrat who was the director of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchinson.
Hutchinson has big plans, thanks to funding by the NRA. Following LaPierre’s remarks, Hutchinson said:
The National Rifle Association is the natural, obvious choice to sponsor this program. Their gun safety, marksmanship and hunter education programs have set the standard for well over a century. Over the past 25 years, their Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program has taught over 26 million kids that real guns aren’t toys and, today, child gun accidents are at the lowest levels ever recorded.
School safety is a complex issue with no simple, single solution. But I believe trained, qualified, armed security is one key component among many that can provide the first line of deterrence as well as the last line of defense. And I welcome the opportunity to serve in this vital, potentially lifesaving effort.
Rather than declare that politically mandated gun free zones ought to be abolished and let each school decide for itself how best to protect its students from random crazed attacks by mentally unbalanced killers influenced by violent video games and a desire for posthumous notoriety, LaPierre and the NRA want to “work within the system” and bring federal expertise, along with federal government funding for federally funded police officers, to bear on every school in the country.