Eight months after National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre was excoriated in the media for proposing armed security officers in public schools as a response to the Sandy Hook shooting, the Spokane Spokesman-Review revealed Wednesday that schools in that city could have armed staff by January.
The newspaper said 13 district employees who are already commissioned peace officers, could be on patrol in the schools, carrying sidearms. According to the story, armed school “resource officers” is one of several proposals okayed by the school district following the Newtown massacre.
But does this announcement suggest an exercise in hypocrisy is underway regarding LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, and the idea that was ridiculed almost universally by liberal media pundits and gun prohibitionists?
LaPierre was demonized for suggesting that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Yet the RT Network reported yesterday that gun permit applications from Newtown residents have nearly doubled since the tragedy.
Many in the gun rights community might forcefully argue that this week’s Metro bus shooting in downtown Seattle settled the debate over LaPierre’s position when gunman Martin Anwar Duckworth was stopped by good guys with guns when he tried to commandeer a second bus minutes after shooting Metro driver DeLoy DuPuis and fleeing the scene. How many others might Duckworth have shot had he not been stopped by Seattle police bullets?
According to the Spokesman-Review, the Spokane School District is also planning other safety measures. The newspaper quoted Jason Conley, the school district’s safety, security and transportation director, who said, “It’s those outside threats that are driving us to this next level of safety. In a criminal’s mind, a school resource officer would be the first target to eliminate to get into the school.”
Those who argue that unarmed school security officers would suffice in an emergency either forget or ignore the Red Lake High School shooting on the Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota in 2005. Sixteen-year-old Jeffrey Weise murdered his grandfather, who happened to be a tribal policeman, then took his gun and gear to the school. The first person he killed there was the school's unarmed security officer.
Weise killed himself after a brief gun battle with responding police.
The newspaper also quoted Police Chief Frank Straub, who said he welcomes the training of district safety officers with firearms. He told the newspaper, “I support them being armed, if that’s the wishes of the superintendent and the school board.”
LaPierre might reasonably wonder why the newspapers aren’t beating up on the Spokane schools and that city’s police chief. After all, they are doing almost exactly what the NRA recommended eight months ago to prevent another school tragedy.
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