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Filler: Do we really need guns in schools? Wayne LaPierre and the NRA think so

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre calls on Congress to pass a law putting armed police officers in every school in America during a news conference at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC. (Dec. 21, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

So the problem isn’t real guns killing real people. The problem is video games and movies, fake guns killing fake people.

That and, of course, the media, who by publicizing slaughter give shooters a path to notoriety.

So says Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, who cited mainstream shooting videogames like “Call of Duty,” as well as ones few have ever heard of, like “Kindergarten Killers,” to make his point. LaPierre was twice interrupted by extremely effective protesters carrying signs decrying the NRA and shouting that the organization is causing or adding to the violence in our nation.

But first, LaPierre made the point that so many things in the world we value, from money in banks to airport security to President Barack Obama, we protect with armed security.

And there it is, the assertion that mass violence in our nation is due to too few guns, or the lack of guns in certain places, rather than a surfeit of firepower.

It’s not an assertion to be dismissed out of hand. If I picture my child’s schools, or the schools I attended, I’m pretty sure there’s no one and nothing there to stop a massacre. But at the same time, I don’t think an armed guard can do it either, if our shooter is willing to kill that guard as an appetizer to the main course of mowing down children.

Let me say some painfully honest things here: It is extremely unlikely that Newtown is the last school massacre. It is almost impossible to imagine a series of societal changes that would keep every one of these young men from wanting to kill, and keep those that do go down that path from achieving their goals.

But we need, incrementally, to become a better nation. We need to do this by making it harder for lunatics to get their hands on guns, and by making it easier to get potential lunatics treatment, or see them locked away. We need to make good decisions about allowing our children to be exposed to violent media, whether it be video games or movies or music. We must teach our children about the sanctity and beauty of every human life, every day. We need to make absolutely certain that no one can buy a gun without a background check, not even at a guns show or in a back alley.

Do we need, or could we use, or should we tolerate, armed guards at schools?

I think not, although I’m pretty open-minded on it and willing to listen. In truth, schools don’t have enough money to teach reading and violin, and adding armed guards would cost quite a bit. If we can’t find money to save millions of kids from illiteracy, how are we going to find money to save a few from random shooters?

In truth, it’s hard to conduct background checks, particularly ones that nab people who’ve never been caught doing anything wrong. We’ve gotten used to stories about teachers sleeping with and abusing students, having child pornography on their computers and doing other horrible things, though these transgressions are still fairly rare.

For a psycho who has never been caught, an armed guard in an elementary school is pretty much the perfect job.

Do we need armed guards at schools? I think what we need to do most is change the United States of America into a place where schools don’t need armed guards. And I worry that placing that kind of security in schools would actually have the opposite effect, normalizing the idea that we are a violent nation where guns are a regular part of daily life.