The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. — NRA President Wayne LaPierre
There’s no denying the appeal of LaPierre’s statement. Last week, wouldn’t we all have rather read headlines about the death of attempted mass murderer Adam Lanza instead of how he brutally cut down over two dozen people, including 20 children? And this week, rather than watching footage of grieving families at funerals, wouldn’t we rather be watching an awards ceremony where President Obama pins a medal of honor onto the noble security guard who stopped the shooter? Of course we would. So why does LaPierre’s statement still give me the chills?
LaPierre says the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But if you think about it, the only place a bad guy can get a gun, is from a good guy. You know, good NRA-supporting guys like Colt, Winchester, Remington, Sturm-Ruger, Smith & Wesson, O. F. Mossberg and Sons, Bushmaster Firearms International, FMK Firearms–the list goes on. Bad guys don’t make guns. Only good guys make guns. Bad guys buy guns both legally and illegally. They also steal guns. Sometimes from good guys (as Adam Lanza did), and sometimes from other bad guys. But no matter how you look at it, guns come from good guys. So it seems to me that the fewer guns good guys make, the fewer guns bad guys will have.
Instead, LaPierre wants to engage in an arms race with the bad guys. Put armed guards in schools, he says. There’s just one problem: The only thing that can stop a good guy with a gun is a bad guy with an even bigger gun. Or more guns. Or body armor. Or a fricking tank. So how big should the good guy’s guns be? And how many guns should they have? And what caliber of weapon should school walls and windows be built to withstand?
And why stop with armed guards? Most schools are already locked down while classes are in session. In many schools, you have to pass through a metal detector prior to entering. And some schools don’t even allow students to have lockers for fear of what they might stash in them. So I don’t think anyone would complain if we put up fences around schools and topped them with razor wire. Guard towers would also help. So would searchlights and armed patrols. How about dogs? And checking vehicles going in and out of the property would also be an effective deterrent. All in the name of protecting our children, of course.
But even with all of these defenses in place, how are we going to tell the good guys from the bad guys? Background checks are a good place to start. So is finger-printing, facial recognition software, racial profiling and the like. Keeping an eye on suspected bad guys and the people with whom they associate also helps. So does the occasional interrogation. And if someone is being particularly difficult, a bit of creative “persuasion” never hurts.
This all may sound a little crazy, I know. But the only alternative is to give up guns. And if we did that, how on earth could we protect our freedom?