David Cay Johnston, one of the most lucid reporters on economic issues in the country has the lowdown on what the NRA’s bait and switch proposal to arm schools would cost. Just in case you were thinking, “well, sure we could do that” or “yeah, why not, as part of…”
None of the 13 (NRA) committee members named in the 225-page is an educator. However, all of them have a financial interest in security training.
From the NRA’s standpoint it’s a money grab. From ours it’s pure delusional folly.
In a time when schools are struggling for funding, teachers, teacher’s aides and administrators have been laid off, towns, counties and states are pinching pennies, usually at the expense of schools, this wouldn’t make any sense even if it made sense.
1. Protecting schools is a slight of hand meant to draw attention away from actual firepower control. It does nothing to get guns off the streets, nothing to limit the firepower available to crazed gunmen, nothing to stop said crazed gunman from getting weapons of mass destruction. People trying to kill children specifically is not a thing. Guarding schools doesn’t help shopping malls, churches, etc.
America had almost 99,000 public schools, another 33,000 private schools and close to 7,000 colleges in 2010.
And say you do put up perimeter fences, have trained armed guards, security cameras, etc. what will the gunman’s response be? Probably aim their sites on off campus targets.
2. In the real world, in which the NRA refuses to live, stats show that it is the proximity of guns that we should be afraid of. The fact of a gun in the presence of a child makes that child less safe. Do you really want your 5 year old to have to walk by armed guards every morning?
How long would it be before some student pulling a black cellphone from his pocket was shot dead by an armed school officer who mistook it for a gun? On the streets, it happens.
… The understandably scared school guard who kills just one child would mean more money on lawyers and settlements, not to mention the awfulness of death-by-protector.
Or what happens the first time an irresponsible guard puts his gun down or leaves it in the rest room and a kid gets it?
3. Even if you ignored items 1 and 2, the cost will be astronomical and reminds me of the boondoggle that Homeland Security became after 9/11. Nineteen guys with box cutters pull off an unthinkable disaster and we immediately open the purse strings to spend billions in security and military overreaction. Likewise, this would be a windfall for whatever contractors get the deals to provide the guards and a further bleeding of tax payer moneys, while achieving next to nothing.
Using the median pay of police, assigning two officers to each school for 50 hours a week would cost $16.3 billion annually just for salaries. Of course we would need many more guards because many are, like the school I attended long ago, open.
… The cost, so far, comes to $34.6 billion per year for consultants, pay, fringe benefits and overhead. That’s almost $450 per student per year.
4. Armed guards are no guaranty they would even be a deterrent or an effective stop to a mass killing. Columbine had armed guards. They were clear on the other side of the campus. Many schools are on large sprawling properties with multiple buildings. But even my old high school in New York was just one building, but with four floors each the size of a city block. If the guard is on the wrong floor, or even on the wrong side of the floor, with the high power guns with high capacity clips available to an Adam Lanza the carnage would be unspeakable before the guard can even enter the picture.
In reconstructions of police shootings, it is common to find that the vast majority of bullets not only missed their target — they went wild. That happens in real life when the adrenaline is pumping, adding to the fog of conflict.
In short, the NRA is trolling us and our pols are falling for it. Sick, sick, sick!!!