Thursday, December 27, 2012

On Armed Guards at Schools

I'm puzzled about why the National Rifle Association's President has been lampooned for suggesting that there should be armed guards in schools.  I'm not saying that I agree with the NRA's entire agenda, but what's wrong with schools having armed security-people?   

In the debate about whether or not teachers should be armed, the "pro" side appeals to examples in which a person with a gun prevented a mass shooting.  The "con" side then retorts that the person with the gun who saved the day was usually someone who was trained in the use of firearms----a police officer, for example.  Okay, so is the "con" side open to people who have been trained in the use of firearms being at schools to prevent mass shootings?  Isn't that what the President of the NRA was proposing?

An argument that I have heard against having armed guards at schools is that there have been schools that had such guards, yet shootings occurred at them.  Yeah, and there have been schools that did not have these guards, too, and shootings occurred at them.  Why should we focus on the former, while ignoring the latter?
Please feel free to comment, but I won't publish any comments that call me or anyone else stupid.  Plus, I probably won't debate, but I'll read the comments that people leave.


  1. The suggestion from the NRA assumes that deadly force should be available and used in self-defense. This is not the pattern of behaviour that I have learned from TNK or NT. The opposite is what is to be learned.

    The US appears to have reasoned itself into a corner. Violence and deadly force is 10 times more likely there than in other countries.

    I am really sorry for this situation. I expect it to get worse before the move away from such idolatry is effected. The gun lobby is not pursuing violence out of concern for others, but rather for the exploitation of fear and the desire for power.

  2. But you support having a police force, don't you Bob? I think having armed security in schools is consistent with that.

  3. I don't think I need to go that far. The alarm was raised here in Victoria just today - the disturbed person was coaxed out of his apartment by the police. No shots were fired. Police are necessary, yes - but guns are not.

  4. Hi James,

    I would suppose the point is, what kind of society should we be striving for.


  5. It's hard not to think about the NRA and the corporate executives and arms traders that are hiding in the shadows of this lobby group. These are firms who make money from murder. Is that, to use Davey's words, the kind of society we strive for?

    Many executives were brought before committee for the financial meltdown of 2008. Perhaps not only misuse of gold should be considered for knuckle raps, but also the misuse of myrrh - deadly force and fear - as motivation for ruining society.

    Then of course there is the abuse of religious power as well - as you are well aware.

  6. I'm not for us becoming like the wild west. Thus, I have problems with some of the NRA's positions. But I don't see why it's so wrong to have armed guards----people who have been trained in the use of firearms----at schools. It's like the police. While it may not be necessary for the police in Canada to be armed, I think they need to be armed here in the U.S.

  7. "Why it's so wrong". It's so wrong because it denies the Gospel and reinforces an idolatrous rule of money and deadly force. My wife was sickened by the response of the NRA after 7 days silence. Job's comforters are at least not sickening.

    What do we do for the mentally ill? Those who have 'evil spirits' to use a NT term. Do we leave them to grind their sole care-givers to distraction? Do we say - they are too unimportant to care for - it costs too much and do we then spend the money on the protection of firearms instead?

    Or do we use disability to learn how to treat each other and how to heal each other?

    Guns have no place in a caring social structure. There's no proof to my statements - they are opinion. And as you point out, I am dependent on the strength of others in some cases.

    I do not know the optimum balance. But I see a difference between Canada and the US that may be transient, but I hope not. I see a difference in some European countries also - and again, there is trouble there too - tending towards xenophobia and so on. I do not think that the presence of weapons of deadly force will improve a fragile situation.

    What would improve it would be a repentance like that of the king of Nineveh - from top to bottom, a turning of swords into ploughshares, a destruction of weapons of war:
    Psalm 8:3b that you might cease enemy and vengeance;
    Psalm 46:10 Making wars cease to the extremity of the earth
    bow he breaks and sunders spear
    wagons he incinerates in the fire.

    The gospel supports the weak and is published by the defenseless (Psalm 68:12-13 H)
    Psalm 76:4 there he shatters the fire-brands of bow shield and sword and battle.

    If we have faith in this God who refused a legion of angels to protect his son and who refused legions to protect Israel from exile or disaster, how then should we live? What should our policies be? How do we govern?

  8. I'm certainly for treating the mentally ill, and mental health services being available.

    As far as biblical quotations are concerned, I think that one can also quote passages about the government using force (sometimes deadly, when necessary) against evildoers, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are people who do that to justify some "hang 'em high" sort of approach to crime. But I think their stance is problematic, as I think it's problematic to go to the other extreme and to assume that deadly force should never be used at all.

  9. Hi James - you might hate this summary from the Toronto paper on layers of derangement.

    BTW - I don't read the Bible to be able to quote it, nor do I quote it to those who do not read. You are a reader. And I am sure you are aware that systems of misreading the Scriptures such as were practiced in Apartheid SA or the Southern Baptist church of the US were repudiated eventually and the perpetrators of such self-protective systems apologized (even if they did not fully change their behaviour). Will the NRA ever turn from its evil? - I wonder.

  10. But then we'd have to get into whether or not those who interpret the Bible in a non-pacifistic manner are actually misreading it. I don't think that they entirely are. I think that both pacifists and non-pacifists gravitate towards certain passages, then absolutize them.

    And, believe it or not, I agree with much of what that article says. I'm not against registering guns so that the authorities know who has what. Plus, I agree with the article that there is ideological inconsistency on the Right. The article even raises some valid considerations against having armed guards in schools----I just don't think that they're sufficient to convince me that schools should not have some sort of protection.

    I suppose that we can go back and forth, but sometimes I find it's more edifying for me to ask questions and then learn something. What I want to ask is what policies you think would prevent mass shootings at schools.

    It seems to me that a lot of the solutions that have been proposed have their limits: gun control can't really solve the problem of the guns that people already possess, mental health services are limited because not everyone who's mentally ill seeks help, etc. Sure, these things should be pursued: we should try to solve the problem of advanced weaponry that is sold, and mental health services should at least be available and accessible. But I don't think that they, alone, can solve the problem of mass shootings in schools. That's one reason I think there should be armed guards who are there when someone tries to shoot people.

  11. "what policies you think would prevent mass shootings at schools"

    good question. The positive policy problem reaches into all aspects of our lives. It goes beyond shooting to protection from all sorts of problems in our humanity and their correction where required. Two issues are problematic - you can't see inside a person and you want to enable growth and self-control.

    God's first policy in covenant with humanity was a taste of death - not to be achieved in humans easily.

    How do you enable growth and self-control when you can't see it? Openness is a policy I have used at home and in business. Also delegating real responsibility to small teams is a practice I followed as a base for all corporate policy. I had to deal with various kinds of problems over the years with a couple of hundred employees. I never had to deal with mortal violence, but I have had to deal with potential for violence and with many forms of disability. Most employees experienced growth. Not all were successful. I did not have to account for a rape every 20 minutes as they do in India today. My employees were varied, Christian of various types, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, several races, male and female. The company is small but the issues manifold and I do think it scales up. The quality circle is the key component - 4 to 6 people with real responsibility and capacity.

    The problems in schools result in some massive failures. I heard recently of a school that was run as a tyranny and protection racket. Neither union nor management had any control and the classrooms were understaffed especially with regard to special needs.

    On the scaling up level - several things need to be dealt with in the product-line area: music, phys ed, extra-curricular, tutoring, special needs, etc. Each of these needs the quality circle and time. Some problems encountered need methods to obtain help that is outside the immediate circle.

    I think this base allowed me some productivity and some avoidance of some problems. But there is a need for correction. In a company you can fire someone. You can't fire a student or your offspring. So how do you enable correction when the situation gets out of hand?

    In the case of the places where people congregate without protection and are vulnerable to social misfits, the problem obviously has to be noted earlier in the cycle. On a highest priority basis, I would recommend these things:
    1. immediately prohibit and recall all personally owned assault equipment.
    2. ensure that daily conditions enable open communication and that trouble spots are identified earlier in the cycle.

    To take this offline: the crowding and denigration of women in India requires a rethinking from the ground up of patterns of respect for women. Punishment does not cure rape or murder. Where does one get training in self-control? Partly it comes from the human emotion of shame - this too can be abused.

    There are higher-level policies that arise from the quality circle (this concept was the base for the Japanese economy in its heyday.) But even in a government model, it is critical.

    My youngest child was disabled from birth by fetal alcohol syndrome. Some of the work done with him when he was in his teens and in jail was clearly the result of policies to enable growth even in a constrained environment. So much was and continues to be done for him throughout his difficult life. Our government is doing its best today to grind down those who are constrained. The punishment or revenge model for correction is not one that leads to growth.

    At the base of all these words is hidden the hope that maturation is possible even for the disabled - and the potential for this is not improved by policies that emphasize self-protection at all costs.

    This comment was written on a small piece of paper and placed in a chink in the wall - it may contain fallacies and conclusions not warranted by the evidence, sparse as it is. My situation allows implementation only on a local day by day basis.

  12. I think I can see what you're saying. A lot of school shootings are done by either students at the school or former students, and so you're focusing on how the school can meet the needs of troubled students. I certainly agree with you on the importance of that.


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