I'm gonna go out on a limb here.
I'm a 'liberal' by most definitions. But I'd like to consider myself a pragmatist as well. I just listened to the National Rifle Association (NRA) press conference. They spewed their right-wing scare tactics as usual. No question there. But they certainly raised some legitimate points. The bottom line is that (largely due to the NRA) the United States of America is totally saturated with guns of every kind. It's big business and a big part of a lot Americans 'culture.' Bad guys and good guys alike have 'em.
I agree that the film and video game industries are just as responsible for spreading the gun culture that literally have a stranglehold on America. However, it wasn't until now that I heard the NRA being so offended by ultra violent video games or movies. There is no doubt, however, that our children are in immediate danger - in schools, movie theatres or elsewhere.
I think its important to separate responsible gun owners from the NRA. I don't like being thrown into the same generalized heap so I won't do it to them either. I have said before that I respect that the second amendment grants the right for Americans to bear arms. I may not agree with it, but I respect it. I think that its interpretation is often abused and misunderstood to a good degree but that's another discussion for another time. I also agree that a large percentage of gun owners are responsible. Let's be frank, though. I don't like the NRA or its politics. I don't like guns. I will never own one. But America will never be gun free. It is a nation that is armed to the teeth.
The NRA cleverly pointed out that the president of the United States is protected by armed secret service. Football stadiums are guarded by armed guards. Courthouses. The rich and famous. Nuclear power plants. Banks. All guarded with guns. Hey, it's the American way, right? So I don't find it completely unreasonable for them to say 'we need armed guards in our schools.' For most outside of America that seems like a fucked-up and warped way of thinking. I couldn't agree with you more. For many of us from the states - it's just a sad, sad reality of how free we actually are. Free enough that we need an army of armed citizens to protect us from the hordes of maniacs, criminals and mass murders that we as a collective have created. What happened to our society? I really don't know. I have a few thoughts on that (as you might have suspected) but that too should be left for another conversation.
I went to a high school where armed sheriff's were present at the school every day. It didn't seem that odd at the time. He wasn't in a bunker with his gun drawn. He interacted with us and we knew him by his first name. So an armed officer in the school isn't the end of the world. I repeat - it's a pitiful and sad reality for us as a nation....but it's not the end of the world nor is it an entirely unreasonable train of thought.
I don't for a second believe that the NRA is primarily interested in our safety or about people's constitutional rights. Let's get that straight. They are a lobby for a very large, powerful, influential and profitable industry. Period. As sad as I am to admit it, I would accept their plan for armed guards in schools. BUT - in my not-so-humble opinion they own no moral high ground to be the organization to implement, influence or operate this process. This plan is obviously only a band-aid on a gaping wound. But first aid is as important as rehabilitation. We need healing. And that entails dealing with our movie industry, the video games our children obsessively watch, and the mentally ill that we so inexcusably ignore as well.
Guns ARE still a problem, though. Assault rifles on our streets are an abomination. If people want to protect themselves or hunt, I don't think its unreasonable to assume that a handgun or a rifle would suffice. Not to mention when the second amendment was written when we had just finished a long and brutal war with colonist Britain. We didn't have an army, navy, air force or marines. We didn't have state, city, and county police. We didn't have the national guard, the CIA, or the FBI either. Assault weapons need to go. More thorough and restrictive gun laws need to be put in place. The NRA does not deserve to be the designated guardians of our children.
I hate to admit it, but pro-gun people are right - the sad reality (that I myself have been in denial about) is that there is no fail-safe way to get guns off the streets of America. We are a nation at war. I came to Bosnia as a pacifist. I had never, and still haven't, fired a gun. I have no intention of ever doing so. However, after experiencing war up close and personal I cannot honestly say I am a pacifist. I am lying to myself if say that i would never take up arms to protect my child or my family. I would. If I had a choice between my son and someone pointing a gun at him - there is obviously no dilemma.
I in no way, shape or form agree that gun violence should be countered by more guns. I would ban them if I could. But I can't. And I don't believe for a second that America will ever shake its addiction. My childhood friend Michael recently posted on the thought of armed guards in schools 'is that the world people want to live in?' My answer is simple. No, Michael. It's not. It's not at all. But in many ways that is our world already.