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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

Updated Apr 2, 2013 - 4:16 pm

The bigger issue with arming schools

I am not an anti-gun person by any measure.

I do not believe gun laws stop criminals as evidenced by the 20,000 laws currently on the books that criminals ignore every day. So you would think I'd be enthusiastically in favor of arming at least one staff member at every school like the NRA is proposing with its National School Shield Program.

Well, I'm not. And I have a couple of reasons not to be.

Let's start with the genesis of the latest round of gun control laws and debate, the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. The facts show that the shooter took all of five minutes, that's 300 seconds, to kill and wound all those innocent people. Even IF there was an armed staff member on campus, the total time from start to finish was so compressed that, short of already being in the room with the shooter, there is not much anyone could have done.

Contrary to popular belief (and cop TV shows and movies), law enforcement does NOT run headlong into a situation with an active shooter without first assessing the scene and developing a strategy. As evidenced by Newtown, that would be more than enough time for the shooter to complete their mission of destruction.

Secondly, the NRA's idea of "arming teachers" plays right into the hands of the anti-gun crowd. Every solution to every problem cannot be "more guns." It makes them look as blindly monolithic as the anti-gun crowd's knee-jerk reaction of banning all guns in the wake of every incident.

From a strictly strategic perspective, it seems the NRA would gain more traction (and wider support) by endorsing plans that DO NOT include language that mandates, requires or suggests that more guns can solve any issue.

Maybe it's just my weird common sense, but it strikes me that, by the time a mentally unstable person has made the choice to arm themselves, plan a crime and go so far as to show up at the school, movie theater, post office or parking lot, it's a little late to start talking "guns."

It's why I wish those who truly wanted to prevent the next mass shooting, protect the children and make the world a safer place would focus their energy and resources on identifying the people who would commit these heinous acts as opposed to worrying about the tool they choose to accomplish it with.

Understanding what goes wrong inside a person's brain, why it happens and how we can intercept them BEFORE they show up somewhere armed to the teeth sounds a lot more practical than turning schools into mini-prisons.

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About the Author


I may not be a native, but I've been in Arizona long enough to forget what it's like back East. I moved to Tucson in the 5th grade where I graduated high school and attended the UofA. The radio bug hit me early and I was a DJ at the age of 17 in Tucson. Besides being on-air at times, my main career focus has been the behind-the-scenes programming of radio stations. I have an extensive background in music radio, in addition to working at and/or running some of the biggest and most influential radio stations in America. My radio career took me to Los Angeles, San Diego and then back to Phoenix. The chance to be back on-air, and to do it at 92.3 KTAR, was too good to pass up… so here we are! Weekends are usually reserved for racing as I own and drive my own dirt track Sprint Car all over the country. I am unmarried (never have been), childless (that I'm aware of) and don't even have any pets at this point. I do own 1 plant but the fact it has survived this long without watering leads me to believe it may be plastic. I love what I do and enjoy hosting a talk radio show for people who don't like "talk radio".

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