In our MSW macro class, Professor Hymowitz was always clear about the first steps in starting a new organization; what is you mission and what is your vision? These are the sort of critical questions that have a bearing on all aspects of life, micro and macro. I was reminded of this as the circus that is American policy brought the NRA’s executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, into the center ring. He called for a “nation school shield safety program” in every school in America. This has set of a firestorm of criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
I find it disturbing that Mr. LaPierre thinks American schools, and their students, should be treated in the same way that America handled Russia during the Cold War Era; nothing solves American problems better then a good ole` arms race. Let me say that again, his solution is an arms race with children and young adults. Mr. Pierre choose to ignore the ease by which a semi-automatic weapon, designed for combat in war, was taken into a quiet school. In fact, he ignored the discussion of guns in general, except by default in his brilliant arms race idea.
Safety is not the only issue with gun control, yet the discussion always seems to revolve around it. In our obsessive need to control our environment, and the danger therein, we have forgotten to ask, is this what we want for our lives and society? Back to my original question, what exactly is our mission and vision in America. We already lock up more citizens, by far, than any other nations, do we truly want to turn our schools into prisons as well. Mr. Pierre vision a is society where an undercurrent of confrontation is always in the air.
I have no problem with gun control, and I have no problems with the rights to bear arms, but conceptualizing the issue as all or nothing is a clear sign of a national mental illness. This might sound ridiculous, but perhaps we should weigh causes and conditions when we make decisions, and maybe sometimes those choices will change depending on circumstances. Are we a nation of borderline personalities left without the ability to use discourse and reasons to chart a middle course?
The choice is simple, we can continue to allow semi-automatic weapons to be left in the hands of those who disregard human life, and we will continue to get the same results. However, this is one of this times in the course of history where withholding ones voice is akin to passively supporting the undesirable outcome; there are no innocents on this issue. The more voices we have, the more likely that the outcome will be fair and reasonable. The less voices we have, the more likely a “Gun Nut”, as the New York Post aptly published on their front page, will make those decisions for you. As President Obama said during his speech at the school, the nation’s children are all our responsibility, if one more child dies like this, we must all be held accountable.
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Umm— sadly, folks don’t realize armed security in schools has been occuring for decades. Baltimore City schools have a fully sworn, armed police force with guns and cuffs and cruisers- JUST for the school system. As well as metal detectors. Baltimore County schools have an armed cop in each middle school and high school- since at least the 90s. This is nothing new– even Columbine had an armed gaurd, who did cut the spree short by wounding one of the shooters. That’s believed to be a reason they decided to suicide earlier than intended, and not set off their explosive devices.
NRA has a valid point- but everyone is reacting with emotion, and does not want to hear it.
I have to say– it amazing how armed gaurds in schools only become a problem when suburban white people need them. Urban and poor black and white kids have had them for decades.
See that was not really my point, its the conclusion that the only rational course is more guns that bothers me, not from a gun control standpoint but from a policy standpoint. When i said we can do better I was including those non-white school you are talking about, but that is part of a larger agenda. This is more a social commentary about the how guns are always are the first solutions
On another note did you get mah email?
The issue is not guns and I have said this many times since the horrific event of the Newtown, CT. This is about an individual who had issues, my guess would be emotional as well as social. Guns appear to have been part of his upbringing along with gun ranges/target practice and they were freely in the home environment as well.
I get that guns are used in hunting, for one who is part of a law enforcement agency…..if one wants a gun, they will find a way to obtain one.
To me, this is about a kid who ‘fell through the cracks’ and perhaps growing up was not ‘odd’ enough or noticed enough by appropriate staff and professionals that there were clearly issues there.
This to me is what needs to be improved. Smaller class sizes, IEP’s for those students that need extra assistance, EQ taught and used in schools on a regular basis to teach and model the skills of empathy, compassion, identifying feelings……this is where students have lost out, but this is easily changed. Depression as well as anxiety need to be discussed and shown that every person at some point in their lives has felt sad, nervous, low, without being diagnosed as severe depression or anxiety. It is normal to feel sad and anxious.
Guns is a separate issue…it is the mind behind the weapon…..
No – I didn’t get the e-mail!
“What is your mission, and what is your vision?”
Good question, especially considering the NRA. As an organization, the NRA was founded by civil war veterans who saw the need for a skilled and able populace who was able to effectively use firearms proficiently. In the beginning, the organization was all about marksmanship and fire-arm safety.
It wasn’t until the 1970’s, when the organization was taken over by (dare I say it) extremists, that it became what we commonly know today. Matt, Professor Hymowitz had a good point, and here’s to hoping that groups can hold onto and keep their original mission and vision.
Not exactly what you were going for, I understand, but we should know where this diatribe is coming from.
No, but your comments make perfect sense in the spirit of the article. I don’t know much about the history of the NRA. Thanks for sharing. Your points are valid and need to be addressed as much as national opinions on guns.