In the wake of the Connecticut elementary school massacre, the normally voluble National Rifle Association went quiet for at least a few days. With the country mourning the dead, and even NRA-backed Congressmembers calling for meaningful gun control, many Second Amendment zealots apparently decided it was not the time to voice their views (although, finally, the NRA scheduled a press conference for Friday) .
Alan Gottlieb took a different tack. On Friday, the head of Bellevue's Second Amendment Foundation issued a statement that placed the blame for the massacre on the lack of guns at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Posted on the Facebook page of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a sister organization of the Second Amendment Foundation, the statement says:
"How many more tragedies does it take before we do something? How many more children have to die before this country realizes that No Gun Zones create perfect locations for violence? You can not stop criminals and mad men with laws, you can only stop violence with the fear of armed victims."
Could he really be arguing that we should stock elementary school with guns? Would we hand them out to 6- and 7-year-olds to make sure that they're "armed victims?"
"You got to understand something," says Dave Workman, a spokesperson for the Gottlieb-headed groups. "We've been talking about this over here, BSing." And this is the self-defense scenario he says they've come up with: "A person, a volunteer, an adviser or a teacher, they've got some training and they keep a gun locked up somewhere, away from the kids, that would only be used in an emergency...It would be like having a fire extinguisher."
That idea at least seems a little less crazy that Gottlieb's quote first sounds. Workman also cites the example of Joel Myrick, a Mississippi assistant principal who in 1997 grabbed a pistol he kept in his car to stop a teenager then on a rampage.
But how could you be sure that a gun kept at a school would stay locked? Couldn't a mentally unbalanced teacher, volunteer or student possibly get hold of the key, with tragic results? Like many criminals, Adam Lanza took someone else's gun, in his case apparently his mother's, to carry out his massacre at Sandy Hook.
And that danger seems exponentially magnified given the circumstances of another example Workman references: the tiny Harrold Independent School District in Texas. Harrold superintendent David Thweatt, who appeared on BBC Radio with Workman yesterday, isn't just going with the fire extinguisher model. He encourages teachers throughout the district to arm themselves. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said on Monday that legislators might want to facilitate that model across the state.
That would mean a lot of schools with a lot of guns. You've just got to hope that, in this political climate, that idea is dead on arrival.