Should Renton Schools Follow NRA's Suggestion for More Armed Campus Security?

Renton School District To Meet With Mayor, Chief To Discuss School Safety.

The National Rifle Association broke its weeklong silence following the horrific shooting of 26 people at a school in Newtown, CT and called for a surge of gun-carrying "good guys" around American schools at a news conference on Friday.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for a new kind of American domestic security revolving around armed civilians, arguing that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

"We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents," LaPierre said. "Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers. Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent, and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it, and exploit it."

LaPierre's speech was a call to supporters to mobilize around a new vision of American domestic security, at a time when voices for gun control are steadily rising. On Friday morning before the press conference, President Obama released a video (above) citing a petition by hundreds of Americans calling for swift action.

At the grassroots level, groups like Newtown United, a group of Newtown neighbors, are working to address major issues related to the tragedy, including gun control, violent media, mental health and legislation.

In stark contrast, LaPierre called for a great mobilization of gun-carrying "good guys," a term he used repeatedly but did not define, who could be more present and respond more quickly than police.

"If we truly cherish our kids, more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible," LaPierre said. "And that security is only available with properly trained, armed 'good guys'."

LaPierre, who was interrupted twice by protesters who held signs in front of TV cameras, made a direct call for local action.

"I call on every parent. I call on every teacher. I call on every school administrator, every law enforcement officer in this country, to join with us and help create a national schools shield safety program to protect our children with the only positive line of defense that’s tested and proven to work," he said.

In his speech, LaPierre also accused the media of selling "violence against its own people" through violent video games, music videos and "blood-soaked" films. He did not take questions from reporters, and did not acknowledge the protesters.

At Home:

The Renton School District will meet with Mayor Denis Law and Police Chief Kevin Milosevich in early January to re-visit the emergency procedures and safety plan at Renton’s schools.

In the meantime the current plan — three assigned School Resource Officers — will remain the same, said School District Spokesperson Randy Matheson.

The district has had no discussion of implementing an armed security guard program, similar to the one suggested by the NRA, he said.

The School Resource Officers are on campus at certain intervals during the day and whenever extra help is needed. They are commissioned Renton Police Officers and carry the same weapons and equipment as any officer in the Department.

”We have a great working relationship with the Renton Police Department,” Matheson said. “They assist us with emergency and non-emergency situations, such as traffic control.”

Ian Liddle December 21, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Hm. Pay for security to shoot "bad guys," rather than school counselors to prevent problems before they happen? I'm sorry, I don't remember buying tickets to security theater, can I get a refund? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_theater)
Bob December 22, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Some of what the NRA is saying made sense to me. Now before you go crazy on me, please read on. Do yourself and your child a favor. Don't just sit on your butt and complain, get some answers. Ask your school counselor, (who deals with our students every day), if "they" think today's video games or TV shows are a good or bad influence on your child's social development. Do "you" think they are? Then, if a teacher wants to be armed at school, "passes" a gun safety class and "passes" psychological testing and requirements laid out and approved by local law enforcement, let them. If a teacher has the opportunity to save ONE child from a bad person, and chooses to do so, isn't that one child worth it? Is your child worth it? Bad people have guns and new laws won't stop them anymore than the governments ability to stop drugs crossing our borders via bad people. In the meantime, lets give some good people the chance to help protect our children should they choose to do so.
rentonben December 22, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Most of these people that shoot up schools are current or previous students. Perhaps our Renton government-school system could do a better job of teaching philosophy, morality, and decency. Not to be a complete ass, but the behavior of the kids that spew out of Renton high-school doesn't exactly inspire confidence that those children are being educated into being good citizens.
MrMyke December 22, 2012 at 05:13 AM
I wonder if Mr. LaPierre is aware that a single shift full-time officer for each of the 90,000 elementary schools in the US would cost $5.4 billion annually (figuring a conservative cost for salary, benefits and overhead of $60k yearly)? Still, if I was a parent of a victim, I would call $5.4 billion a good deal. Except, the problem is -- and I wonder if Mr. LaPierre is aware of this -- there was in fact an armed officer on duty at the time of the Columbine massacre. He couldn't stop it. http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2000/columbine.cd/Pages/DEPUTIES_TEXT.htm And I wonder if Mr. LaPierre remembers the more recent history at the Aurora Colorado theater? The gunman was stopped, when he finally had to reload his oversize magazine, because he was rushed by unarmed patrons. I wonder if Mr. LaPierre was told these things whether he would change his mind, and maybe propose making it at least as difficult to get a permit for a gun solely designed to kill humans as it is to get a driver's license? Nah. Don't think he would.
Ian Liddle December 22, 2012 at 05:39 AM
I can see what you're getting at... So be the change--support (spread the word, contribute financially, get involved) programs that do exactly what you're proposing, like CryOut! (http://cryout.net)
Bob December 22, 2012 at 08:21 AM
You make some valid points. So did he. Try this ... read what he had to say again. This time, forget that it is Mr.LaPierre ... forget it is coming from the NRA. Simply look at the content. And trust me, it is far more difficult to get a conceal gun permit. And to buy a hand gun, you have to apply for and wait on a background check. Is it fool proof? No ... unfortunately, I don't know of anything that can stop every determined nut case from doing harm. How much do all the Congressmen, Senators, their staff, offices, transportation and other costs total? Senator Dianne Feinsteins basic costs came to well over 4 MILLION tax dollars this year alone. Maybe we could ask them to give something back to pay for the school protection. After all ... aren't they all saying we need to do this for the children? Other than "words" .... what are they giving up?
Nathan December 22, 2012 at 03:19 PM
No surprise there. When you have a hammer, everything is a nail. When you are a mouthpiece for the firearms industry, the answer is always more firearms.
Nathan December 22, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Bob, in 33 states there is no requirement for a background check for buying a handgun at a gun show of from a private individual.
Matthew Miner December 22, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I'm disappointed in whoever wrote this article. Lets give 70 year old retired cops guns and send them into our schools! What a CRAZY idea! Is it just me or has our country lost it! Giving LaPierre's comments any consideration is idiotic! He is psychotic as is anyone who thinks this is a solution. Lets work on poverty and crime will go down. Lets lower the pressure on our kids so they don't snap! Lets solve bullying, lets lower the work week back to 40 hours, you all get my point.
rentonben December 22, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Insisting poverty is linked to crime is not only not logical, but meand spritied. Poor people are just as honest as rich people, if not more so in most circumstances. That you think in this manor makes me discount the rest of your message.
rentonben December 22, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Nathan, food for thought - sates that have issue concealed permits freely as a whole are much safer to live in than states that don't. I don't know if there's a correlation, or if those citizens in those states are just more responsible in general and just happen to elect politicians who respect the bill of rights.
B December 22, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Why don't we just build locked wards with barbed wire, guard towers and fill them with snipers? Isn't that what we want after all? Fascism? Frankly, I'd rather see more money put into health care and mental health care access, licensing to become a parent and a ban on violent video games and programs on tv. Put an end to the apocalyptic pseudo-science psycho-babble tv melodrama and "reality" drivel that teaches inane behavior. Make parents responsible for raising their children with morals and values instead of handing them over to the tv to babysit them. Stop listening to the NRA and their fear mongering blather that calls people to love their guns. Teachers need to be teaching academics. Not toting guns. Our pathetic governors cut funding for schools, refuse to pay living salaries to many teachers, yet we all jump on the band wagon to put armed guards in schools. Give me a break.
stephen wahlstrom December 22, 2012 at 06:25 PM
First - the NRA has no credibility because they are nothing more than a gun sales lobbying organization. Second - we could ramp up to have armed guards in many public places like they do in 3rd world countries. Most of the world would think we are crazy - duh! But the real farce is that placing armed guards in schools will cost billions of dollars, which means one of two options (borrow and spend) or (more taxes). We know that NRA Board member Grover Norquest will pull out all the stops against new taxes - so where is the money coming from Mr. LaPierre - who happens to pull down a $1 million/year in salary to spew propaganda and save the gun industry by shifting sales away from hunting rifles and toward military style weapons used by mass murders. Like the demonstrators said at yesterday's press conference - the NRA has blood on its hands
rentonben December 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM
We used to have a licence to become a parent - it was called a marriage licence. We've watered it down so much over the last 100 years, it now just a bit of paper to express love and to receive benefits.
Bob December 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Maybe I missed something here. Perhaps someone can point it out for me. But I do not recall hearing or reading it anyplace. Where did the NRA state they were protecting the gun industry ... or tell folks to go buy more semi-automatic rifles? Anybody??? Whether we agree with the NRA or not, in the article above, I only seem to recall reading ... "suggestions" ... on ways to protect our children. What did you read? I've also read articles about using off duty or retired police officers. Since these are professionals trained to recognize certain behavior, I personally felt it was a positive suggestion. They might even slow down some of the drug problems that are hurting our youth at school. Yet, some of you can only criticize, complain and find reasons to disregard it. How about coming up with something more creative and viable instead. How about more trained councilors in schools to catch these problem kids before they become something worse.
Nathan December 22, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Hi Ben - I'm curious, do you have a source for that? I tried to find some info and, not finding anything so neatly packaged, did some research. I came up with 2011 state scores from the Brady Campaign (they support gun control, so a high score correlates to more gun regulation) ranging from 0 (Utah, Alaska, Arizona) to 81 (California) and a list of the most dangerous states in 2010 based on murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. The 10 most dangerous states and their Brady Campaign scores are: Nevada (5 points) New Mexico (4 points) Louisiana (2 points) South Carolina (8 points) Tennessee (8 points) Florida (3 points) Delaware (13 points) Maryland (45 points) Arizona (0 points) Arkansas (4 points) It's not the same as just CCW regulations, but it seems like having limited gun regulations is correlated to having higher crime. And after doing all that, I found another graph by the Law Center to Prevent Gun VIolence that grades state's gun laws with a letter grade and highlights the states with highest and lowest gun death rates. It seems the biggest outlier is Maine, which got an F grade but is in the lowest 10 in gun death rates. http://smartgunlaws.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/stateranking_FINAL.jpg http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/stateleg/scorecard/2011/2011_Brady_Campaign_State_Scorecard_Rankings.pdf http://www.infoplease.com/us/states/most-dangerous-states.html
Nathan December 23, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Bob, do you have a source for that? I could find no evidence that this is a state law. There are certainly some clubs that follow that procedure, but not all shows in WA are that way (http://wesknodelgunshows.com/pages/centralia.html - clearly states membership not required). I know that it is a federal law for a firearm dealer with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to do a background check when selling at a show, but according to the ATF, 25-50% of vendors don't have an FFL and don't fall under federal law. http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/treas/treas-gun-shows-brady-checks-and-crime-gun-traces.pdf
Nathan December 23, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Poverty and crime are certainly highly correlated. However, so are health, education, unemployment, family make up and environmental hazards, to name a few.
Nathan December 23, 2012 at 12:47 AM
A kid (or pregnancy) WAS the marriage license in many cases. Shotgun weddings have just fallen out of fashion.
Bob December 23, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Nathan, I do thank you for bringing that to my attention as it allows me to correct my error. The Club I belong to has those requirements. A neighbor, who is a Police Officer told me it was illegal ... I failed to check it out myself before making comment. Classic example of "assuming" what we're told is the truth. I offer my apologies.
Ruth Shilling December 23, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Arguments really take valuable time. Right now, we should not be blaming all the people who are not the ones who killed the children. Yes, we should reshape some of the gun ownership laws. For instance, people who apply for gun ownership, should have to be responsible if they have family members who are not background checked and can get their hands on the weapons. Many of these killers have gotten someone elses guns; mostly other family members. That said, it will take time to change any laws. Right now we need to protect our schools and sometimes other places that seem to be targets. Retired police officers might work at reduced salary rates as they already have benefits.. The school custodians should be background checked and the school bus drivers too so they can carry some sort of weapon. It is time we quit being shocked at arming our defenders. Our streets are full of the mentally ill that should be in hospitals for their own good as well as ours. I am a licensed gun owner and grew up in a home that had multiple guns for target shooting or hunting. Our kids today see that guns are for killing anything that moves for no other reason than it gives them a thrill to see the blood fly. They call these training sessions video 'games'. What is the matter with the parents anymore? RS
jdrabe December 23, 2012 at 02:11 AM
there are way too many lunatics running loose on our streets. they need to locked up
rentonben December 23, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Bryan, I think the proof is that the American cities with the most defenseless citizens have the worst crime rates: Chicago and Detroit for example.
rentonben December 23, 2012 at 11:14 PM
If crime and poverty are correlated - why do we see crime rates going down during this recession? If they were correlated, we would see crime rates going up, but we don't see that.
rentonben December 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Shhh.... you're making sense. You can't do that now days.


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