I got through reading a transcript of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) press release [PDF]. Everything thing I said in my previous post, which was based on a live blog of the event, still stands. I also have a few additional things I’d like to note. First there was this comment:
A dozen more killers? A hundred? More? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?
There is a great deal of irony in the NRA discussing the lack of a federal database in a negative light. A federal database for mentally ill individuals would be a disaster. Consider the stigma mental illness has in this country. Many people will not seek help when they are suffering a mental illness because doing so carries a great deal of social consequences. People who received psychiatric help are often seen as crazy. People in the United States also hold a general attitude that a mental illness is forever. How many people suffered from depression, post traumatic stress syndrom, and other temporary mental illnesses only to make a full recovery and lead normal lives? Do we really want these people to be listed in a federal database? Federal databases are already used by employers to weed out potential employees. Creating a mental illness database would likely lead to people in that database being unable to find meaningful employment. Federal databases aren’t a solution for violence and they aren’t a solution for mental illness.
Also consider the ramifications of a mental illness database. Who here could be diagnosed with a mental illness? Most Internet denizens could be diagnosed with some form of autism. If an adult version of oppositional defiant disorder is ever created I’ll be diagnosed with it. I suffer a severe case of psychological reactance (Does it show?), which could easily be labeled as a mental illness. Do we want to base the right to keep and bear arms on a mental illness database? Do we want our gun rights in the hand psychologists who determine what qualifies as a mental illness? What the NRA suggested is a dangerous path, one I don’t want to see this country travel down. We need to help those who need help. This means encouraging those who suffering from mental illness to get help. Considering the social stigma that mental illness carries in this country I don’t think creating a mental illness database is going to do anything but discourage those needing help from seeking it.
Is the press and political class here in Washington so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and America’s gun owners that you’re willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life to shield the children in her care? No one — regardless of personal political prejudice — has the right to impose that sacrifice
This was a good point. The primary issue at hand is that violent criminals know the cost of performing violence in schools is relatively low because there are no armed personnel there. With that said, the NRA’s approach to correcting this issue leaves something to be desired:
Now, the National Rifle Association knows that there are millions of qualified active and retired police; active, reserve and retired military; security professionals; certified firefighters and rescue personnel; and an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every school. We can deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make America’s schools safer — relying on the brave men and women of America’s police force.
The budget of our local police departments are strained and resources are limited, but their dedication and courage are second to none and they can be deployed right now.
In my opinion expanding the police state into public schools isn’t a good approach. I favor repealing laws that establish gun-free zones so that armed individuals can enter school property without first having to disarm. That solution raises the cost of performing violence in schools by removing the practical guarantee that no armed individuals are within. Having costume-clad guys with badges will further reinforce the police state on children. Furthermore I don’t feel comfortable having children guarded by individuals whose primary job description involves extorting wealth from people. A majority of police time is spent enforcing state decrees against nonviolent individuals who have harmed nobody. Do we want individuals guarding children when their job consists of kicking down doors in the hopes of finding other individuals in possession of a plant?
Putting bureaucracies in charge of protecting children is bound to fail. At the very least repealing laws that establish gun-free zones would allow local communities to develop more appropriate solutions to deal with school shootings. Ultimately though I think Jeffrey Tucker nailed it:
So armed guards it is, at least according to the NRA. Instead of letting school handle their own security and getting out from under the government’s central plan (see my article on this), the NRA is living up to the caricature and proposing that more weapons in anyone’s hands as the solution. The real solution is to deal more broadly with the issue of security itself.
Contrary to left and right, the solution is not more guns in the hands of the cops and other state officials, much less gun-totting teachers (or disarmed teachers and administrators, for that matter). The solution is to have schools deal with security in the same way that jewelry stores, banks, and private home owners deal with security issues.
One of the biggest problems regarding school security is that public schools don’t have any incentive to provide security. Children are practically mandated to attend schools that are either run or heavily regulated by the state. No consequences befall a school when something bad happens. Will anybody be prosecuted for failing to provide proper security to those children in Connecticut? No, because the state was tasked with that job and the state has a monopoly on determining who can and can’t be sued. Furthermore suing the state accomplishes nothing because it gets its money through extortion. If the state allow you to sue it and it grants you monetary compensation you merely motivated it to extort more money. The primary reason schools fail to provide security to students is because they are state managed institutions, meaning there are no failure conditions.
If you want to protect your children remove them from state managed schools. Homeschooling, unschooling, and agorist education solutions will allow you to regain control over your children’s education and safety. Why rely on the state? It has a proven track record of failing in the task of providing education and safety.