But yesterday, in the car line waiting to pick up my girls from school - where an armed police officer has been standing guard all week - that sadness turned to outrage.
The turning point came at the end of a Fresh Air segment called Assault-Style Weapons In The Civilian Market. Terry Gross interviewed Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, which conducts gun-related research and advocates for ways to reduce gun violence.
Diaz made a lot of sense.
I liked to say that the NRA is, it becomes a kind of laundering machine for the gun industry. And I'll explain what I mean. The gun industry would really appear to be too crass perhaps, and shocking to say, you know what, you need to buy our Bushmaster so that you can resist the government and kill bad people if you have to. So they don't say that. The NRA on the other hand has no problem kind of euphemizing this very same message and saying, we need our guns, we need to protect ourselves from tyrannical governments, the way they phrase it. And some of their material is really quite provocative and quite shocking. So they've taken one of the messages of the industry and transformed it into a more or less socially acceptable way of saying it. And that brings us to the question of, as a society, are we going to break the code that the NRA constantly promulgates and say wait a minute, you guys have had enough with this business, that's not our society and are we going to stop it?Read that a couple times. Now read it again. It really gets to heart of what's happened so far in the wake of the Newtown shooting.
At the end of the segment, Gross explained that she tried to present both sides of the argument, but no gun rights advocates would talk to her.
From the transcript:
We called the NRA to invite a spokesperson on our show in the wake of the Newtown massacre. In response, we were sent a press release saying that out of respect for the families they're giving time for mourning, prayer, and a full investigation before commenting. The group will hold a news conference tomorrow and says it's prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.
We also offered an invitation to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. They sent us a release saying out of respect to the families, the community, and the ongoing police investigation it would be inappropriate for the organization to participate in media requests at this time.
We called the Freedom Group, the gun and ammunition manufacturer that owns several brands, including Remington and Bushmaster, which made the gun Adam Lanza used in Newtown. We never heard back from them.
And we contacted the gun manufacturer FNH U.S.A. which was referred to in our interview. They told us they were unable to accommodate our interview request on such short notice. Coming up, our linguist Geoff Nunberg chooses the word of the year. This is FRESH AIR. (emphasis mine)
And that was all it took. I was livid. I was shocked by the cowardice displayed by the organizations that are entirely to blame for assault weapons like the one used in the massacre being accessible to damaged souls like Adam Lanza. I was disgusted that they were unwilling to engage in dialogue or discussion. I was incensed by their insincere, canned, or non responses, almost a week after the tragedy.
As mad as I was, I have to admit, when they said they were "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again," I thought they may have turned some moral corner.
Silly me. Today they made good on the news conference they promised; here's what the bastards actually meant.
The N.R.A.'s main answer to school violence was a model program it unveiled called National School Shield, which would train and arm security guards at schools in those local districts that want to use it.
The group said it would pay for a task force to develop details for the model, and named Asa Hutchinson, a former Arkansas congressman and a strong supporter of the N.R.A., to lead it.
Armed guards in schools across the country? Are they INSANE????
There's already a website for the National School Shield, but all that's on it is Hutchinson's press release which offers this gem:
Every school and community is di fferent, but this model security plan will allow every school to choose among its various components to develop a school safety strategy that fi ts their own unique situation, whether it's a large urban school ... a small rural school, or anything in-between.
Armed, trained, quali fied school security personnel will be one element of that plan, but by no means the only element.
If a school decides for whatever reason that it doesn't want or need armed security personnel, that of course is a decision to be made by parents at the local level.As if that's not terrifying enough, there's more:
Whether they're retired police, retired military or rescue personnel, I think there are people in every community in this country, who would be happy to serve, if only someone asked them and gave them the training and certi cation to do so.Sounds like a glorified community watch program for schools, doesn't it? Which makes me think of innocent Trayvon Martin, shot dead by overzealous community watch captain George Zimmerman, emboldened by destructive ALEC sponsored Stand Your Ground legislation. Significant grassroots outrage forced ALEC to stop spreading similar legislation to other states.
If there hadn't been nationwide pushback against ALEC you can believe we would soon see soulless legislators pushing Stand Your PLAYGROUND legislation right alongside this asinine scheme from the NRA to put MORE guns into people's hands and more MONEY into their pockets.
And seriously? They expect parents across this country to believe that they can cook up some harebrained nationwide campaign like this and we should trust that, if they get federal or state buy-in, wether or not it's actually implemented will be "a decision made by parents at the LOCAL LEVEL????"
Anyone who's read more than one of my blog posts about what's happening in public education in New Jersey knows it takes Herculean efforts for parents to make their voices heard and more often than not they are drowned out by monied interests that have infiltrated the very core of the Education Departments that are meant to serve our interests and the interests of our children.
So HELL NO! No armed guards in our schools! Parents want an assault weapons ban and stricter gun laws.
What warped place have we come to in this country when the monsters responsible for this massacre that has terrified parents to our collective core, attempts to offer us a solution that relies on MORE of the thing we are terrified of!
So now we've come full circle, right back to Diaz and what he said on Fresh Air.
And that brings us to the question of, as a society, are we going to break the code that the NRA constantly promulgates and say wait a minute, you guys have had enough with this business, that's not our society and are we going to stop it?What say you parents? Are we?