Even supporters of the president’s gun control package all but concede that universal background checks wouldn’t have seriously inconvenienced accused killer Adam Lanza. California Deomocratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s dead‐in‐the‐water assault weapons ban would have deprived him of the Bushmaster rifle he used but not the Glock and SIG Sauer handguns he also had.
On Thursday, Obama warned of “powerful voices on the other side that are interested in running [out the] clock,” hoping “people will just forget about it.”
Was the president referring to the National Rifle Association? Has he listened to Wayne LaPierre lately? The NRA head opposes new gun laws, but he’s otherwise been the president’s partner in panic, breathlessly demanding an “armed good guy” in every school — a federally funded expansion of “America’s police force.”
Actually, America doesn’t have a police force, though LaPierre seems willing to abandon the 10th Amendment to save the Second. If you wanted to spend more than $5 billion to hire 100,000 new cops, it would be silly to put them in schools, where only about 2 percent of youth homicides occur.
Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., had the properly conservative reaction to LaPierre’s idea: “You don’t want to make [school] an armed camp for kids.”
As the Educational Researcher study notes, public fear in the wake of Columbine and other school shootings in the 1990s gave us “active shooter” drills and a proposal for “Kevlar‐coated textbooks” that kids could use as shields.
The authors warn that “exaggerated perceptions of risk” spur “ineffective policies such as zero tolerance that do little to create a sustainably safe and secure learning environment.”
Stories from around the country indicate that many schools are again needlessly frightening students by making them rehearse responses to mass murder, and zero tolerance is on the rise again.
A Colorado second‐grader was recently suspended for “throwing” an imaginary hand grenade, and a Maryland 6‐year‐old got tossed for pointing his finger like a gun.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D‐Calif., seems bent on making the problem worse with a bill for federal funding of “surveillance equipment, secured entrances and other important safety measures” at schools and another bill that would encourage governors to call out the National Guard to protect schools.
“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten” the victims of Newtown, the president intoned Thursday. Fair enough — but shame on us as well if we allow Newtown to spur a legislative panic that leaves us no safer and considerably less free.