One of the big questions we've been asking ourselves in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is what group of warm bodies are going to be flung into the path of the armed-to-the-teeth gunmen of tomorrow. Will it have to be the children themselves? It's been suggested! (The huskier, the better, apparently.)
At this point, the most popular proposal seems to be to have armed guards in the schools. If this notion has a problem, it's just a teensy, little practical matter of ... you know -- the fact that it doesn't work. But as always, "stuff that doesn't work" becomes "the best idea" once it becomes clear that all sides want to do it. And "armed guards in schools" fits the bill. The NRA wants more armed guards in schools because their primary focus is helping gun manufacturers sell the guns they manufacture to people, and a whole new workforce that requires firearms would be terrific from their perspective. The White House seems amenable to the idea because it means they get to create jobs and stimulate the economy and also have an extra layer of "CYA-lacquer" on their rear-ends the next time there is a tragedy like this.
Of course, there are a number of reasons why this idea could fall apart despite the fact that both sides of the debate are seemingly open to it. Just off the top of the dome, here are the fault lines that will probably crack under the White House's support for this idea:
1. It represents tax money going to public schools.
2. It creates more public sector jobs.
3. The people who take those jobs might want to be a part of a labor union.
4. That means union members with guns, so that will be a non-starter.
5. So these armed guards will probably look like the Transportation Security Administration agents you see at the airport.
6. Everybody hates the TSA.
7. In general, the GOP manages to discover how much they've already secretly loathed something within ten minutes of President Barack Obama coming out for it. (See also: Chuck Hagel.)
Fortunately, the people of the Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education of Montpelier, Ohio, may have hit on the idea that squares this circle:
The Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education has approved the carrying of handguns by its custodial staff.
The 5-0 vote of the board Wednesday night to allow handgun training for four custodians to be able to tote weapons at the K-12 campus at the Williams County school came after last month's deadly shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
School officials say that having armed personnel -- believed to be the first for any school system in Ohio -- is designed to thwart incidents of violence and prevent what happened in Newtown, Conn., from occurring here.
This solution is almost too perfect. Arming the custodial staff and giving them some minimal training will create almost the same false sense of security as federally-funded rent-a-cops, but without any worry that you are "growing the government" by creating new public sector jobs or showering too much money on public schools. And then, if a deranged gunman attacks the school, it will be up to the school's janitors to bravely throw their bodies in harm's way.
It almost pains me to point out that studies have been conducted that prove that this plan just fails to stop these kinds of assailants. But since sending forgotten-about working-class Americans overseas to die for us is working out so great, we may as well give forgotten-about working-class Americans the chance to die for us at home, too.
This will catch on, you just watch.
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Also on HuffPost:
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
"I wish to God she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," Gohmert said of slain principal Dawn Hochsprung on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/louie-gohmert-guns_n_2311379.html"><em>Fox News Sunday</em></a>. He argued that shooters often choose schools because they know people will be unarmed.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)
"If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials that were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would be an opportunity to stop an individual trying to get into the school," he <a href="http://www.wtop.com/610/3162096/Gov-Is-it-time-to-arm-school-officials">told WTOP's "Ask the Governor" show</a> Tuesday, warning that Washington may respond to such a policy with a "knee-jerk reaction."
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) & State Sen. Frank Niceley (R)
Gov. Haslam says he will consider a Tennessee plan to secretly arm and train some teachers, <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/12/tennessee-armed-teachers.php">TPM reports</a>. The legislation will be introduced by State Sen. Frank Niceley (R) next month. "Say some madman comes in. The first person he would probably try to take out was the resource officer. But if he doesn’t know which teacher has training, then he wouldn’t know which one had [a gun]," Niceley told TPM. "These guys are obviously cowards anyway and if someone starts shooting back, they’re going to take cover, maybe go ahead and commit suicide like most of them have."
Oklahoma State Rep. Mark McCullough (R) & State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R)
State Rep. Mark McCullough (R) <a href="http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=336&articleid=20121217_336_0_OKLAHO168827">told the Tulsa World</a> he plans to file legislation that would bring guns into schools, calling their absence "irresponsible." “It is incredibly irresponsible to leave our schools undefended – to allow mad men to kill dozens of innocents when we have a very simple solution available to us to prevent it," he said. "I’ve been considering this proposal for a long time. In light of the savagery on display in Connecticut, I believe it’s an idea whose time has come." Sen. Ralph Shortey (R) told the Tulsa World that teachers should carry concealed weapons at school events. "Allowing teachers and administrators with concealed-carry permits the ability to have weapons at school events would provide both a measure of security for students and a deterrent against attackers," he said.
Florida State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R)
Baxley, who once sponsored Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, <a href="http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2012/12/17/florida-legislator-allow-guns-in-schools/">told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune </a>that keeping guns out of schools makes them a target for attacks. “We need to be more realistic at looking at this policy," he said. "In our zealousness to protect people from harm we’ve created all these gun-free zones and what we’ve inadvertently done is we’ve made them a target. A helpless target is exactly what a deranged person is looking for where they cannot be stopped.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)
At a Tea Party event Monday night, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/rick-perry-guns-in-schools_n_2322185.html">Perry praised a Texas school system that allows some staff to carry concealed weapons to work</a> and encouraged local school districts to make their own policies.
Minnesota State Rep. Tony Cornish (R)
Cornish <a href="http://www.kdlt.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22736&Itemid=57">plans to introduce legislation that would allow teachers to arm themselves</a>, according to the AP.
Oregon State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R)
In an email <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/oregon-state-rep-dennis-richardson-teacher-guns-stopped-connecticut-shooting_n_2317444.html?ir=Education">obtained by Gawker</a> and excerpted below, Richardson tells three superintendents that he could have saved lives had he been armed and in Sandy Hook on Friday: <blockquote>If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide. ... [O]ur children's safety depends on having a number of well-trained school employees on every campus who are prepared to defend our children and save their lives?</blockquote>
Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett
"And I'm not so sure -- and I'm sure I'll get mail for this -- I'm not so sure I wouldn't want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing," Bennett, who served as education secretary under Ronald Reagan, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/bill-bennett-education-secretary-connecticut-shooting_n_2311774.html">told <em>Meet the Press</em> Sunday</a>. "The principal lunged at this guy. The school psychologist lunged at the guy. It has to be someone who's trained, responsible. But, my god, if you can prevent this kind of thing, I think you ought to."