On Armed Guards at Schools

I’m puzzled about why the National Rifle Association’s President has been lampooned for suggesting that there should be armed guards in schools.  I’m not saying that I agree with the NRA’s entire agenda, but what’s wrong with schools having armed security-people?   

In the debate about whether or not teachers should be armed, the “pro” side appeals to examples in which a person with a gun prevented a mass shooting.  The “con” side then retorts that the person with the gun who saved the day was usually someone who was trained in the use of firearms—-a police officer, for example.  Okay, so is the “con” side open to people who have been trained in the use of firearms being at schools to prevent mass shootings?  Isn’t that what the President of the NRA was proposing?

An argument that I have heard against having armed guards at schools is that there have been schools that had such guards, yet shootings occurred at them.  Yeah, and there have been schools that did not have these guards, too, and shootings occurred at them.  Why should we focus on the former, while ignoring the latter?

Please feel free to comment, but I won’t publish any comments that call me or anyone else stupid.  Plus, I probably won’t debate, but I’ll read the comments that people leave.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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2 Responses to On Armed Guards at Schools

  1. A few issues in attempt to answer your q.’s, James:

    I’m on the “con” side just in relation to the NRA president’s OVERALL thrust (heard lengthy excerpts of the speech and the whole interview he did with Gregory on NBC on Sun.) — mainly because he is pushing only ONE aspect of possible solutions while completely refusing to be honest and direct re. others (esp. whether he/the NRA would support ANY kind of additional restrictions on any aspect of gun or ammo–such as large capacity magazines–ownership and such).

    My clear impression is that he MAY believe armed guards would help, but it’s mainly a strategy of “best defense is a strong offense” — push that to deflect any examination of gun proliferation and misuse overall.

    Anyway, personally, I’m not against trying to find and fund such guards (and it WOULD be expensive). So I don’t oppose him re. that but still think he was/is WAAAY out of touch with the depth and breadth of the problem. The proposal, if implemented, will do little other than perhaps give some sense of relief or security to parents (statistically, it probably will matter little, in that schools already are safer than most places by far).

    His blithe comments about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill (I don’t recall them exactly) is no help whatever… We don’t have and never could, without massive violations of privacy and complex bureaucracy, any way of defining who could be labeled mentally ill. Current legal definitions of prior institutionalization or being declared “mentally defective” or “incompetent” (by a court) would pertain to a minuscule percentage, and have rarely been our mass killers.

    Given that, and other things I won’t go into, arming even more people (beyond guards), which may not be an NRA suggestion (but it is suggested by some), could have some deterrent or “stopping them” effect. However, that is more than cancelled by the high risk of allowing even more incidents, as the law of averages on who will become mentally unstable will necessarily include more gun owners. The more guns around, the more they will get into the wrong hands, whether kids, the unstable, etc. (criminals largely aside, as THEY will find them one way or another).


  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    I agree with a lot of what you say there, Howard. You’re right that the NRA President was suggesting armed guards within a larger context—-arguing that we should have armed guards instead of certain gun control laws. That said, his overall argument was problematic.

    But I still don’t see why the suggestion for armed guards itself is a dumb idea—-not that you said it was, but it’s certainly been treated as such on a number of liberal sites I visit. As you said, there are limits in terms of trying to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. I’m not even sure if new gun control laws would address the guns that people already possess—-or if they even can address them. Consequently, while I don’t oppose gun control, I think there are limits to gun control. That’s why I’d say that schools should have some armed security.

    In terms of the monetary cost, I don’t know how to respond to that. It’s certainly a valid concern. But then, as I reread your comment, it seems you’re open to funding guards, anyway, even with the cost.


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