Reading, 'Riting and Reloading

Carla Hanson

Letting the light of day shine on a lousy argument will reveal it's warts. Nothing like real life to illuminate the ludicrous. But especially in this short-span-of-attention day and age, even the highlighted needs more spotlights.

Friday morning 3 cops were shot in New Jersey... at a police station. An arrestee managed to grab one of the officer's weapons and pump off a few rounds, hitting and injuring 3 officers before he was shot to death by the cops. 2 days after the Sandy Hook massacre, 2 cops were gunned down as they investigated a report of drug dealing in a Topeka, KS parking lot. In late 2009 four Lakewood, WA police officers were killed in a local coffee shop by a lone assailant. 2 officers were already dead before the 3rd was able to get a shot off, injuring the assailant. The murderer was able to complete his horrific mission and escape; he was caught and killed 2 days later.

What these situations illustrate is that anywhere, anytime, the element of surprise will catch even the well trained police officer off guard. But the NRA wants the public to believe the solution to gun violence in schools is putting guns into the hands of folks that are trained in the art of constructing lesson plans.

For decades, the NRA and its minions have held serve, and the few advances made with smart gun legislation have either been watered down, ignored or sunset-ted. Terrified of the third rail and the power of the OZ-like NRA, most legislators have been loathe to have a discussion about guns in America, let alone advance any legislation. Pro-gun theories advanced by the gun lobby - mostly composed of slogans and flag-waving righteousness - have never been fully scrutinized. Their perceived power of the purse has kept the debate quiet, and the gaping holes in their arguments remained in the shadows.

That generation is over, and the arguments and "solutions" to gun violence proposed by the NRA are out there & bare as a baby's behind. So, let's really address what the gun lobby wants us to swallow - especially the current theme that's driving NRA-dom as they attempt to drown out logic, thoughtful review and reality.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" On Friday, 12/21/12, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said this as he advanced his "answer" to fending off school violence: put an armed officer in every school - EVERY school - in the USA by January. (Yes, he said January, 2013). A version of this thought has been presented also by OR State Rep. Dennis Richardson as he, too, advocates for armed personnel in schools, and has pondered weaponizing educators. LaPierre made a second appearance on Meet the Press 2 days later, doubling down on his assertions. To host David Gregory's credit, he took on the NRA boss. LaPierre, unaccustomed to being challenged, ranted about the proliferation of bad guys and the "cracked" mental health care system, even stating, "We gotta get to the real problems, the real causes...." Gregory simply posed this to LaPierre:

Gregory: "You are into the art of the possible because your standard is anything that has a chance of working we ought to try except when it has to do with guns or ammunition. People see that as a complete dodge."

It IS a dodge, and the NRA is masterful in executing media and political dodges.

Since the LaPierre interview, the NRA has sent a cast of characters forward who, in ditto-head like symmetry, promote armed guards in all of the country's 100,000 schools, encourage gun-toting by teachers & school support staff and deftly ignore ANY query about other options that could mitigate potential gun violence. And there are people - from Oregon legislators to Utah teachers - who are buying this crap. In Utah, a 6 hour Holiday gun seminar was held 2 days after Christmas for over 200 teachers in the Salt Lake area. The Gun 101 course, offered by the Utah Sports Shooting Council, now has about 200 men and women thinking they can play Chucky Norris. Following the seminar, special education teacher Kasey Hansen (yeah, I know) said:

"'If we should ever face a shooter like the one in Connecticut, I'm fully prepared to respond with my firearm,' ... adding that she planned to buy a weapon soon and take it to work."

Oh, freakin' great. She has NO clue, and now mama's gonna get a gun. And if the worse-case scenario does come to fruition in the hallways outside her classroom, Kasey will be more focused on yanking that gun out of it's safe than on taking care of her special needs students.

Utah and Oregon are among only a few states that allow guns in schools in some form, but a number of Midwestern and southern states are considering policies along the lines of NRA theory. Oregon's law allows guns under concealed carry restrictions only if the school district allows guns. In Keizer, parent Christopher Carter has started an online petition, wanting the State of Oregon to train and arm principals and school teachers. Salem-Keizer School District prohibits weapons of any type whether carried by faculty, staff, students or visitors.

The crescendo of "Arm the good guys!" must be muted. The national and local noise advancing these BS solutions is foolish and dangerous subterfuge. The NRA and its pals are not only promoting armed idiocy but attempting to stifle and drown the public outcry for real sensible gun legislation. The NRA is deft in its political strategies; if it and it's sycophants can capture the attention of the nightly news, the media focus on the real need for arms and munitions restrictions will blur and fade. Without the media attention, the NRA hopes that the outcry for sensible gun laws will fade, as well.

Are YOU losing focus? I hope not.

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