Yesterday, the National Rifle Association finally spoke out, a week after the devastating slaughter at a Connecticut elementary school where 20 six- and seven-year-olds and six educators were killed by a man wielding a semi-automatic rifle. While earlier promising to "offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again," NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre instead blamed the media, gun-free school zones, video game makers, and President Obama for gun violence—and then suggested that armed guards be placed in every school. The NY Times' editorial board said, "We were stunned by Mr. LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant." Hell, even the NY Post called it a "bizarre rant".
LaPierre claimed, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," setting up the "what if" scenario of suspected shooter Adam Lanza—who had his semi-automatic Bushmaster AR 15, two more guns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition—versus an armed guard. The Daily News' editorial dubs him "Wacko Wayne":
Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association will forever now be known as America’s maddest gunman.
In style and substance, his performance Friday in delivering his organization’s response to the Newtown massacre revealed the obsessive, lunatic paranoia behind its worship of firearms...
...Still worse, in his arrogance and in his sense that terrible forces are out to get him, LaPierre was callous to the raw agony of the families of the slain. The hell with them — he made clear that he will fight to maintain the easy availability of assault weaponry of the kind that killed their kids.
Connecticut's Senator-elect Rep. Chris Murphy was disgusted, Tweeting, "Walking out of another (Newtown) funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting, tone deaf statement I’ve ever seen." And the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson wrote of the NRA's proposal to station armed guards at schools, "The idea is so insane that as far as I’m concerned — and, I hope, as far as a still-grieving nation is concerned — the NRA has forfeited the right to be taken seriously on matters of public policy. Newtown is still burying six-year-olds and Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s chief, wants more freaking guns in the schools. Wow." (There was an armed guard at Columbine High School in 1999; he shot at one of the killers and missed four times.)
However, Tracy L. Tamborra, assistant professor in the University of New Haven's Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, told the Hartford Courant that the concept of armed guards in schools, "doesn't strike me as insane. They actually made a strong argument. … I don't think their reasoning is specious" to think that an armed person would be deterred by armed guards. However, she said, "As a criminologist, as a citizen and as a mother I am saddened that [armed guards at schools] is the option presented to us.. There is something philosophically problematic about the need to have guns in our schools to protect children. I just don't think that is the direction for a country that is also a world leader for human rights and peace."
The Daily Beast's Michael Daly wrote about how his friend, "a longtime Special Forces operator before he was wounded in Afghanistan," offered his "highly skilled and experienced good guy’s view" of the NRA's position:
“This, simply put, is bullshit,” he wrote. “There are people who train night and day to be good at shooting bad guys in situations where there are innocents in close proximity and even those people screw up because a gunfight is not a shooting range. People are dying and screaming and there is blood and all that silly shit you ‘think’ you’re going to do goes right out the window when you are in that crazy environment.”
He further tendered his opinion of the high-capacity magazines that the NRA has fought so hard to keep on the market.
“There is no reason for a noncombatant citizen of our country to have a weapon that can shoot 30 rounds of ammunition. I have been in many gunfights in ‘bona fide’ war-zones and only a few times did I have to use that many bullets. If you are a hunter or a sports shooter, you don’t need a 30-round magazine to do either of those things.”
At any rate, given that the NRA explained that its earlier silence after the Newtown, Connecticut massacre was to give "time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting," its off-the-rails speech was an insult to the grieving families.