If you didn't bear witness to the most disastrous press conference in recent history today, courtesy of NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, here is the gist of the NRA's response to last week's Sandy Hook massacre: the NRA wants to put a volunteer force of armed guards in every school in America. They call this plan the "National School Shield," and they believe it will prevent more school shootings from happening. "The only way—the only way—to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved," said LaPierre, "and the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun."
You can call the press stunt the NRA pulled today a lot of things—insensitive, amateurish, stupid—but one term will suffice: It was pathetic bullshit, and the NRA should be ashamed of itself.
Let's pretend that American gun culture isn't already a travesty of tremendous proportions, and that American guns don't kill more than 80 people per day, on average. Let's pretend that the NRA's entire raison d'être isn't to allow as many people as possible to own as many guns as possible. Let's pretend that the Second Amendment wasn't created at a time when a militia seemed like a viable plan for national safety and not a laughable, paltry joke. Let's pretend that studies don't show time and again that where there are more guns there are more killings. Even if all that were true, might the NRA's assertion that putting a gun in every school would go a long way toward stopping school shootings? Absolutely fucking not, and it is dumb to say so.
Disregarding the fact that armed guards are people themselves, and thus fallible and susceptible to the kinds of brain disorders that might cause someone to shoot up a school of children, here's a fun fact: Columbine High School, the site of one of the most infamous school shootings in American history, employed an armed guard, Neil Gardner, at the time of the slaughter. And how did that work out? CNN has the report:
Gardner, seeing [Eric] Harris working with his gun, leaned over the top of the car and fired four shots. He was 60 yards from the gunman. Harris spun hard to the right and Gardner momentarily thought he had hit him. Seconds later, Harris began shooting again at the deputy.
After the exchange of gunfire, Harris ran back into the building. Gardner was able to get on the police radio and called for assistance from other Sheriff's units. "Shots in the building. I need someone in the south lot with me."
It was 11:26 a.m. Only five minutes had passed since Jefferson County Sheriff's dispatch center had announced a bomb explosion and subsequent fire on South Wadsworth Boulevard.
Wouldn't you know it: it turns out crazed school shooters have no qualms about shooting at armed guards, who, it also turns out, aren't necessarily effective at stopping gun-crazy madmen. After shooting at the guard, Harris and his partner, Dylan Klebold, stormed the school and were able to kill 13 people. After that, they killed themselves, effectively disproving the notion that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun." Columbine had a good guy with a gun, and the bad guys with the guns killed a bunch of kids and then stopped themselves.