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Should Benicia Schools Follow NRA's Suggestion for Armed Campus Security?

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the NRA's Wayne LaPierre said.

In a Friday morning press conference in Washington DC, the National Rifle Association broke its weeklong silence following the horrific shooting of 26 people at a school in Newtown, CT and called for a surge of gun-carrying "good guys" around American schools.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for a new kind of American domestic security revolving around armed civilians, arguing that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

"We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents," LaPierre said. "Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers. Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent, and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it, and exploit it."

LaPierre's speech was a call to supporters to mobilize around a new vision of American domestic security, at a time when voices for gun control are steadily rising. On Friday morning before the press conference, President Obama released a video (above) citing a petition by hundreds of Americans calling for swift action.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), who represents Benicia, Pinole, Hercules, Napa and other areas in Congress, responded to LaPierre's speech by saying keeping kids safe "goes beyond just arming more people" with firearms.

“Closing holes in our mental health system, addressing our culture’s glorification of violence, improving background checks for everyone who buys firearms, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons and assault magazines all must be part of a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent gun violence.”

Thompson was recently elected to represent the newly redrawn California Fifth District.  The district includes all or parts of Solano, Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Contra Costa Counties. On Dec. 19 it was announced Thompson will lead a task force to investigate new steps Congress can take now and in the future to reduce gun violence and prevent massacres like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, is not a member of the NRA, but according to his office, he is a gun owner, hunter and former chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. The website On The Issues shows that Thompson received a C+ rating from the NRA.

At the grassroots level, groups like Newtown United, a group of Newtown neighbors, are working to address major issues related to the tragedy, including gun control, violent media, mental health and legislation.

Newtown locals responded to the NRA press conference. Suzy DeYoung, a Newtown parent, coach and resident for nine years who has three children, said LaPierre's speech was playing to people’s fears.

“People are much smarter than this,” DeYoung said. “He is saying we need to be protected from guns by more guns. This lack of logic speaks for itself, and I truly believe the response you are abut to see from parents all around the world will offer better commentary than I ever could."

Joanna Zachos, a mother in Sandy Hook, CT said that while she supports an increase in gun control and personally does not believe in guns at all, that the larger problem goes "way beyond that."

"The problem we have is our immunity to violence as a society as a whole," she said. "Violent video games, violent movies, addiction to horror films. We've developed immunity to violence and violent images."

LaPierre also lamented violence in video games, music videos and "blood-soaked" films. But his central solution seemed to be a great mobilization of gun-carrying "good guys," a term he used repeatedly but did not define, who might be more present and respond more quickly than police.

"If we truly cherish our kids, more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible," LaPierre said. "And that security is only available with properly trained, armed 'good guys'."

LaPierre, who was interrupted twice by protesters who held signs in front of TV cameras, made a direct call for local action.

"I call on every parent. I call on every teacher. I call on every school administrator, every law enforcement officer in this country, to join with us and help create a national schools shield safety program to protect our children with the only positive line of defense that’s tested and proven to work," he said.

LaPierre did not take questions from reporters, and did not acknowledge the protesters.

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Shirin Samiljan December 21, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Before opening this up for comments as to whether this is a good idea in Benicia Schools, maybe you could report on what the current status IS in Benicia schools? Perhaps you could include some coverage from the BPD and the BUSD as to the School Resource Office program, and their responsibilities? Or maybe you could delineate the difference between "security" personnel and the SRO's?
Scott Burford December 21, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Leave it to the NRA to send in this "goon" to try to scare people into knee-jerk reactions to a horrible tragedy. I can see that the folks in Newtown were way too smart for this fella. Geez, he even looks evil, that picture makes him look like a cross between Madoff and Hitler. Doesn't the NRA understand that a softer approach with a more likable "frontman" may have won them some sentiment? Instead, it just fortifies what a lot of people already believe about the NRA.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" December 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM
No Scott Burford, he looks like a cross between Madoff/Hitler/ and the Grinch that stole Christmas. And that's what the N.R.A. did; they stole Christmas from twenty one children and seven adults in Connecticut!!!
Kenny December 21, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Nice thoughtful reply. How about giving us your ideas as to how we are going to solve these issues instead of throwing out insults.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" December 22, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Kenny, If I had to choose between a madman going into my kids school and shooting it up or going into my kids school "throwing out insults", guess which one I would overwhelmingly choose. Thank YOU!!! Gun Control Today/Gun Control tomorrow/ and Gun Control forever!!!
Kenny December 22, 2012 at 03:39 AM
That makes no sense. Dig deep and try again.
Benician December 22, 2012 at 06:12 PM
The speech by the NRA prez was obscene. Sure...we need MORE guns! The NRA no longer represents responsible gun owners...it represents gun MANUFACTURERS. Wayne LaPierre has used this tragedy as a marketing opportunity to sell more guns. Disgusting. LaPierre has blood on his hands.
Diane December 22, 2012 at 11:16 PM
This is not a BENICIA Patch article. Instead it is a national Patch article packaged with a headline to make it sound like it deals with Benicia schools.
Kenny December 23, 2012 at 05:02 AM
What it is, is a form article with jargon near the end to make it look local. Good catch Diane. Every site has a different author.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" December 24, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Lets get to another source of the problem besides too many guns, "white men gone wild". Every race in this country has been and is being profiled. It's time to profile the true/real culprit!!! Actual CNN Segment: Should White Men Be Profiled? - Fox Nation ... nation.foxnews.com/.../actual-cnn-segment-should-white-men
Dennis Nitta December 25, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Cost would be prohibitive unless a special tax were placed on gun buyers/manufacturers to pay for having local police officers at all schools. Not sure if NRA would support gun buyers/manufactures paying for the protection.
Jason December 25, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Yes, those awful white people. http://projects.nytimes.com/crime/homicides/map

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