They’re both right. Well, Ron Paul’s completely right, but Wayne Lapierre (I like NAGR and GAO better than the NRA, but that is a separate issue) still has a good point. Security in schools would go a long way towards deterring random shootings as well as putting a quick end to the ones that do occur. However, does anyone want Janet Napolitano (I can see the turn of events now, both Houses when the vote for the law also voting for an amendment that calls all random shootings acts of domestic terrorism) to monitor the schools? Or any other federally appointed bureaucratic [fill in the blank, I’ve run out of euphemisms]? I didn’t think so.
Ron Paul’s point was not necessarily that security in school is not what is needed nor that it wouldn’t work nor that any security in school is always a sacrifice of liberty that necessitates a loss of both security and liberty. His point was that in order to increase security in schools, you would be better off abolishing existing laws that ban firearms from schools. There are unnecessary (and unconstitutional, unless of course you buy into the idea that guns on school property have something to do with the commerce clause) laws on the books that make a more liberty-friendly (and in fact liberty-encouraging) security impossible. Why write more laws when the simplest thing to do, for the result intended, is to abolish them? In other words, why give up essential liberty for temporary security when you can get more liberty and more security in one fell swoop?
Wayne Lapierre wants a federal law. Perhaps it would be a well written law, with no easy way to turn it into a miniature NDAA or, and there is nothing to be alarmed about (like jackbooted thugs to protect the children). Great, but when all is said and done, it is still something that could best be handled at the local level. Best in every possible way. On the moral level (all taxation is theft, but if you are going to do it, tax closer to the people who get the “benefit” that the tax is used to fund; local taxes to pay for local security, and that is assuming it is the state, county, city, and/or district that provide or pay for security rather than individuals making decisions on their own dime). On the legal level (the Constitution gives the federal government relatively few and limited powers, none of which even remotely resemble the kidnapping, brainwashing, and then surrounding with heavy artillery of children, all on the pretext to educate and protect them). On the cost level (generally speaking, localizing public services or privatizing them will bring down costs). And on the bureaucratic level (no one size fits all plans that allow some to gain at the expense of others, whether anyone other than the bureaucrat gains at all).
Back before guns were so feared (it reminds me almost of animists afraid of spirits in stones or something), before there were so many laws creating that fear and at the same time bestowing on the criminally insane the incentive to use them randomly against the unarmed and innocent, the fact that there were no laws explicitly banning guns did not mean gun nuts* brought them to school everyday. (I don’t think I’m out of line by saying that gun nuts were few and far between prior to the hysteria of the last few decades, and they are in fact a predictable reaction to the stigma created by the government-media complex). But it seems to me if you were to abolish federal laws that explicitly ban guns from school zones today, everyone and their uncle would bring one where state laws and local ordinances and school policies didn’t necessarily ban them.
So, shouldn’t we keep the law so that doesn’t happen? No! Because at the end of the day, there is no reason to think that things won’t revert to the way they once were, if you emulate the past. And remember, just because a federal prohibition is lifted and the gun nuts will use that fact to bring their guns to as many places as they can, does not mean specific schools have to tolerate it. Given enough time, the stigma and reactionary behavior will die down anyways. In the meantime, just the thought that there might be the gun in the hands of one person who is a reasonably decent shot and has no reason to use it unprovoked would cut down on shootings. No need for a specially trained, vetted, and armed class of citizen, all at taxpayer expense, to do those things which no longer need to be done because they can easily be accomplished by random heroes if or when the need arises, for free no less.
The general lesson and a good statement is that government (when synonymous with the state, rather than using the definition it once had) creates an irrational fear and hatred of things. Even things that can be rationally feared (like radiation) and/or hated (like actual crimes) it blows out of proportion, creating irrationalities about those things in the minds of people who choose to let others do their thinking. But the concluding argument should not be, Therefore, once government is in place we shouldn’t seek to abolish it or roll it back, because the stigma will still remain, and though the stigma wasn’t there to begin with, at least the government can react to its ill-effects, but rather, Therefore, to prevent further, deeper, longer lasting, more widespread stigmatization from government, we should seek to abolish it or roll it back, because any amount of stigma that remains will, 1) be worth having around if we can prevent even more of it, and; 2) eventually wear off.
*I use this term loosely and somewhat sarcastically. I know people that like to shoot. I know people that have guns for any number of legitimate reasons. I know people that buy guns low and sell them high. I know people that are strict ideologues in their gun rights advocacy. None of these people are “gun nuts” for any of these reasons, other than in the sarcastic sense that I use it. If I was cornered and asked to describe the people who really are nuts about guns, it would be the gun control lobby. Then the criminal class (and I don’t mean victimless crimes). I might even include anyone that would bring a gun to school and wave it around because it is his right (they haven’t really taken the time to think that, though rights are inalienable, acting responsibly is the best way to make sure you don’t give them up or give others the chance to take them). But I doubt there are too many people like that. It is probably comparable to the kind of situation you would get with the legalization/decriminalization of certain hard drugs. Hardly anybody who didn’t want to before prohibition was lifted would try heroin, but people already with a mind to use it might be slightly more careless. So with guns, perhaps the only people to act stupid with them because of a ban being lifted are the kind of people who already are stupid with them with that ban in place.