Sunday, December 16, 2012

Conservative answers for shootings

By Frank Moraes 

On Friday, I reported on the obsession of Wall Street Journal reporters Tamer El-Ghobashy and Devlin Barrett regarding how the shooter got through the security system at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was otherwise a good and informative article, but really: how did he get in? As I wrote, "This is a typically American approach to a problem: look everywhere but not at what is right in front of you."

Now we have the answer: he forced his way into the school. Before I heard that, I was pretty sure that was going to be the answer and I thought that would settle the issue. What an idiot I am! Of course it doesn't settle the issue. It puts the issue into sharp focus for conservatives: the answer is to put armed cops in every school. Check out the Fox News clip at the end of this segment on Up with Chris Hayes:

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Let's look at this proposal on its merits. At best, a cop at this school would have reduced the number of causalities, and it could have increased them. But this is a "last chance" sort of approach the problem. It is the last line of defense to protect our children. But apparently, it is also the first line of defense. Just like after 9/11, these people don't really want to solve a problem, so much as appear to solve a problem. Because they just don't want to even consider other lines of defense because some of them might lead to even the smallest limits on gun rights. 

What's more, this "cop on the beat" idea will only work in small spaces. The Clackamas Town Center shooting would not have benefited from a cop -- it is just too large a space. But I think this gets to the heart of conservative thinking in this matter. They can only deal with details. This is all about stopping the shooting at schools just like this one. The fact that there have been mass shootings at movie theaters and shopping malls and parking lots doesn't matter. That is yesterday's news. 

Check out the whole Up with Chris Hayes show. Lots of good information and some positive policy ideas. 

(Cross-poted at Frankly Curious.)

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  • Another blowhard appeared on CNN this morning (I believe on Candy Crowley's show) promoting a similar idea, just that we should arm teachers in the classroom.

    This type of argument of responding to guns in schools by bringing more guns into schools is fallacious on many levels.

    First, if a gunman enters a grounds where there is another armed gunman, then it all comes down to who is quickest to the draw. In this case, it is anything but assured that the school personnel will be quickest, whether they are a police officer or a teacher. If they are not successful in eliminating the gunman, what then?

    Second, especially for those who think arming teachers is a good idea, I think they are seriously underestimating just what it takes to use a gun on another human being. Lots of armchair quarterbacking going on here. There is a reason why the military extensively trains it's personnel on killing people: it is inherently unnatural. The military even uses human shaped targets for shooting practice in order to desensitize servicemen and get them accustomed to shooting at other human beings. Now you tell me that little sweet old Mrs. Smith the first grade teacher is gonna have what it takes to draw her firearm at a moment's notice and use it effectively to eliminate any potential threat. That's assuming her back isn't turned towards the door because she's writing on the blackboard right at the moment the gunman walks in unexpectedly. (She's in the middle of a spelling lesson afterall. Cause you see, she's a teacher...)

    Third, conservatives also see a deterrent effect of armed schools (or armed anything). Their thinking is that if someone knows they're gonna get shot they ain't gonna shoot. Problem is: look at the outcomes of the majority of the recent mass shootings. The shooter(s) almost always ended up committing suicide at the end. That is because they are suicidal, obviously. They aren't afraid to die. In fact, they welcome it. That is perhaps the main reason why they are committing these crimes anyway, they simply want to die, albeit in the most destructive manner possible. Now I'd like to see one of these pundits explain how the prospect of dying is gonna convince a suicidal killer to not act on their plans.

    By Anonymous Mark, at 5:26 PM  

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