I am by no means anti-gun, but every time the NRA does anything whatsoever, I feel myself sliding in that direction.
Take, for instance, the firearms lobby’s recently-released National School Shield Report, its purported solution to America’s epidemic of school shootings. As the nation seeks a way to prevent another atrocity like the Newtown massacre (or the numerous lower-profile school shootings that have occurred since), the NRA proposes an audacious, if unsurprising, strategy: arm and train teachers and administrators in public schools.
This is an alarmingly stupid idea for a number of reasons. First, arming schools won’t work as a deterrent, because many shooters have no intention of surviving once they reach the point of planning a shooting. So if armed teachers and administrators aren’t a deterrent, will they be able to intervene in an in-progress shooting? Probably not, if even trained police officers can cause massive collateral damage in a firefight.
But there’s a deeper question here as well. One’s environment shapes one’s imagination, and militarizing our public schools will doubtless impact students’ perceptions of danger and safety. Instead of addressing the roots of violence, we will be teaching American youth that timeless American principle: that the only means of safety is superior firepower. That lesson creates greater profits for the NRA and the arms manufacturers they represent, but it is a dire one for a society that already turns too quickly to force as the ultimate solution.