NRA, Trump hedging bets

Thumbs down

President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association’s hierarchy, including the group’s chief executive Wayne LaPierre, are way off base with their assessment of how to prevent school shootings, and get a thumbs down for their reactions after the tragedy in Parkland.

Trump doubled down last Thursday on his idea of arming some teachers as a deterrent for school shootings and praised the top leadership of the NRA as “Great American Patriots.”

In morning tweets and later in a “listening session” at the White House last week, the Washington Post reported that Trump claimed the strategy of arming teachers would be far less costly than hiring guards. He said “gun-free” school zones make it like “going in for ice cream” for school shooters and said on Twitter that with his strategy, “ATTACKS WOULD END!”

“Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive,” Trump said in one morning tweet.

His idea is ridiculous. We don’t need “Dirty Harry” teaching science or Rambo in the gym coaching basketball. Teachers are there to educate. They already have enough on their plate in today’s society, where many, in addition to teaching reading, math and science, have to perform myriad other jobs just to help a child succeed in both the classroom and the world.

Most teachers don’t mind going the extra mile, but arming them with a gun is over the edge. The majority of educators agree.

The president is working to hedge his bets, trying to find a solution that will tamp down the impassioned pleas of young people at Parkland who are demanding something be done after the latest tragedy while remaining in the good graces of the all-powerful NRA.

How happy, for example, would the NRA be if the government insisted some teachers carry weapons and then paid to arm them? Who benefits most from that arrangement? Certainly not the students and teachers.

And speaking of the NRA and LaPierre, let’s talk a moment about the alarmist — and untruthful — approach they took when they finally responded to the shooting, where a gunman armed with an AR-15 assault rifle killed 17 people in six minutes.

In record time, LaPierre used another lethal weapon — his tongue — forcefully decrying gun-control advocates and the media for its coverage of the shooting.

“They don’t care about our schoolchildren,” LaPierre said last Thursday morning. “They want to make all of us less free.”

How asinine is that presumption? If you have a heart, it’s been broken because of the latest fatal school shooting, and other than hard-core activists, no one is trying to take away anyone’s Second Amendment rights, least of all those who believe in the First Amendment.

The facts are clear. Another school shooting has occurred; 17 students and teachers are dead; the shooter used an AR-15 in the attack; something needs to be done.

We, nor most sensible individuals, whether in the media or not, aren’t calling for a ban on weapons. We believe in a person’s right to bear arms. We are urging elimination of an assault rifle meant for use by the military; we are urging money be spent on better and effective mental health programs; and we are urging common sense over politics.

The NRA has a vested interest in the banning of any type weapon and they want to get in your head, making normally good, common sense folks believe someone is trying to strip you of your guns.

Don’t let them. Look at what’s happening, put yourself in the shoes of one of those teenagers locked in a school with an active shooter or perhaps in the shoes of a parent whose child didn’t walk out of that school alive.

And then decide for yourselves what needs to happen.