I think we can safely say that it is not a good idea to arm teachers. The public doesn't want it. Parent and teacher organizations have come out against it. I referenced that in a previous post. So then, what about the idea from the NRA that private companies could provide the security? Why not? When Wayne LaPierre's CEO picked former Congressman Asa Hutchinson to shepherd his ideas about arming teachers through the media, he knew what he was doing. Hutchinson has ties to some private security companies.
Hmmmm. The hypocrisy is stunning. But if you don't like this idea, then, how about the absolutely nutty decision by the country's craziest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. He has ordered armed posse members to patrol the perimiter of schools in his county:But there's something the LaPierre didn't mention: Hutchinson sits on the board of directors of Pinkerton Government Services, a subsidiary of one of the nation's largest private security contractors, Securitas. And if the NRA's—and Hutchinson's—proposals are enacted into law, Securitas, a firm Hutchinson once lobbied for in Washington, could stand to score big.Hutchinson's private security connections were first reported by Sally Jo Sorensen of the progressive blog Bluestem Prairie. As Sorensen noted, Securitas paid Hutchinson and the firm he worked for, Venable LLC, $200,000 for lobbying services in 2006. (Hutchinson also lobbied on behalf of Point Blank Body Armor in 2007 and 2008.)Over the last three weeks, Hutchinson has made an evolving case for LaPierre's agenda in a series of interviews and op-eds. After first suggesting that it might be possible to staff schools with armed volunteers, he offered a pricier proposal in an op-ed for the Arkansas Democrat–Gazette on Friday: "A part of this solution will be the increased presence of trained, armed and professional security officers in schools."Schools shouldn't accept just anyone to keep watch, Hutchinson argued. "[N]ot every school can afford the costs, and not all armed officers are equally trained," he explained. "That is why it is so critical to create an effective federal, state and local sharing of costs, and, most importantly, to assure a high standard of training and certification. The training of armed personnel to protect our children should not be less than those who are trained to protect our airlines or even the president."Hutchinson did not disclose his connections to the private security industry, but told Mother Jones his role with Pinkerton was in a regulatory advisory role. "I am not aware that PGS provides any school security services," he said in an email. "I have no connection to Securitas as I am a proxy board member under Department of Defense guidelines to assure that there is no foreign influence or control over PGS. There are some very specific legislative and regulatory requirements in reference to my work as a proxy board member."
As the article wonders- what could possibly go wrong? From another article, here are the "qualifications" of these posse members:After the NRA defiantly announced, in the shadows of the Sandy Hook massacre, that the only way to stop more mass murders is to arm school personnel, two Arizona "solutions" immediately hit the front pages. Attorney General Tom Horne made the mistake of upstaging Arpaio—I bet he got a call. A few days after the NRA "press conference," Horne announced his program to arm school principals. He was pretty proud of his solution, calling it "an original Tom Horne idea," because his proposal would arm administrators, not teachers. Horne thinks arming teachers might cause too much confusion. Apparently, principals are better shots. I didn't know firearms training was taught at principal school.Not to be out-crazied, and certainly not to surrender the media spotlight, the day after Horne's announcement Sheriff Arpaio stepped before the cameras and blustered (he knows no other way) that he'll send his "posse" to schools to protect our children. Since then, he's been all over the local news peddling his idea, as well as appearing on national programs like Piers Morgan. What other county sheriff regularly gets national TV time? What other county sheriff can you even name?Arpaio's volunteer posse is nothing new, it's been around a long time. The program began years ago during the busy holiday shopping season, as a way to supplement the minimum-wage security guards who patrol shopping mall parking lots in golf carts. In this case, the malls welcomed the posse members, who drive cop-like cars and wear cop-like uniforms, because they help keep the malls' security costs down during the peak holiday period.Now that Arpaio's posse program has started at nearly 60 schools, on the other hand, everyone is still a little confused about what's going on. Because, as usual, Arpaio didn't ask the schools if they wanted extra security, nor did he coordinate the program with other agencies like, oh, the local police. He just barreled ahead like a flaccid old bull in a china shop, his usual MO. Even the schools that welcomed the extra security don't know WTF is going on.
"And then there was Jacob Cutler. According to a Flagstaff police report, Cutler threw his girlfriend to the ground and choked her while trying to sexually assault her in 2008. When she didn’t cooperate, he allegedly threatened to call police and said they would side with him, because he “has a badge.” He was a member of Arpaio’s posse at the time." (...)
Kevin Ray Campos was arrested in 2007 outside a Scottsdale club for disorderly conduct. According to the police report, he spit on several bouncers and then hurled profanities at a Scottsdale police officer. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, according to court records, and was hired as a posse member a year laterNever mind. These are the folks that the NRA is offering up to protect our children from the "bad guys" with guns. These are the "good guys with guns" that we should trust to take care of school security. Good grief. But that is the twisted logic of the NRA and it's leaders and lobbyists. The decision of the NRA to let Wayne LaPierre have a press event with no questions asked where he suggested that the solution to gun violence is more guns was a mistake. Since that time, many NRA members have gone public with their distaste and disenchantment with the organization. Public polling is not going their way.
Stephen Colbert, as always, was right "on target" when he took apart the NRA's logic on a recent show. Watch it below.PPP's newest national poll finds that the NRA's image has declined over the last three weeks following Wayne LaPierre's controversial press conference the week before Christmas.The NRA now has a negative favorability rating, with 42% of voters seeing it positively while 45% have an unfavorable view. That represents a 10 point net decline in the NRA's favorability from the week before the press conference when a national poll we did found it at 48/41. Its image has taken a hit with both Democrats (from 29/59 to 22/67) and Republicans (71/19 to 66/18).The NRA's focus on putting more guns in schools is likely what's driving the decline in the organization's image. Only 41% of voters support the organization's proposal to put armed police officers in schools across the country, with 50% opposed. Democrats (35/57) and independents (38/51) both oppose the push and even among Republicans only a narrow majority (52/39) supports it.“The more the NRA talks the less popular it becomes,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Americans don’t think the solution to tragedies like Newtown is to put more guns in schools.”
The audience laughs at the nonsense as well they should. But we should do more than laugh. We should act to make sure these ludicrous ideas don't continue to sway our elected leaders as they have for far too long. They have been swayed by extremists like this CEO of a weapons and tactical training company who threatened to kill people if President Obama gets his way about passing new gun laws. You just can't make this stuff up. If it wasn't so scary and serious, maybe we could laugh. From the article (with language not mine, but his):
Raise your hand if you agree with this man. If others like this man are serious, we are going to have some potential problems in our country and they might make what we've had so far look pale by comparison. Jon Stewart pointed out the raging nonsense of some in the gun rights community, including conspiracy nut Alex Jones when he virtually attacked Piers Morgan on a live T.V. appearance. Check that out below and more.The CEO of a Tennessee company that specializes weapons and tactical training is threatening to “start killing people” if President Barack Obama moves forward with gun control measures.In a video posted to YouTube and Facebook on Wednesday, Tactical Response CEO James Yeager went ballistic over reports that the president could take executive action with minor gun control measures after the mass shooting of 20 school children in Connecticut last month.After the Drudge Report likened Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin on Wednesday, pro-gun conservatives expressed outrage over the idea that the White House could act without Congress.“Vice President [Joe] Biden is asking the president to bypass Congress and use executive privilege, executive order to ban assault rifles and to impose stricter gun control,” Yeager explained in his video message. “Fuck that.”“I’m telling you that if that happens, it’s going to spark a civil war, and I’ll be glad to fire the first shot. I’m not putting up with it. You shouldn’t put up with it. And I need all you patriots to start thinking about what you’re going to do, load your damn mags, make sure your rifle’s clean, pack a backpack with some food in it and get ready to fight.”The CEO concluded: “I’m not fucking putting up with this. I’m not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. I’m not letting anybody take my guns! If it goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people.”
In a different segment, Stewart took on the NRA and the ideas proposed by the organization in response to the Newtown school shooting.
The media is finally paying close attention to the NRA and have been calling out their true agenda. I can't even begin to highlight all that has been written since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. But this one from Charles Blow of the New York Times was one of the more recent.
This being the case, how can the NRA sit at the table of discussion with any real intent to stop shootings when the organization's ties to the gun industry benefit from shootings and the sale of weapons after each mass shooting? How can it be that an industry that makes weapons designed to kill people and particularly assault rifles designed to be used by the military to kill as many people as possible benefit from the death of 20 small children? It's beyond belief really and beyond what is acceptable and within the bounds of common sense and common decency.First, let’s fix some of the terminology: stop calling groups like the National Rifle Association a “gun rights” group. These are anti-regulation, pro-proliferation groups. They prey on public fears — of the “bad guys with guns,” of a Second Amendment rollback, of an ever imminent apocalypse — while helping gun makers line their pockets.(Sturm, Ruger & Company’s stock has gone up more than 500 percent since President Obama was first elected, and Smith & Wesson’s stock is up more than 200 percent.)And the gun makers return the favor. According to a 2011 report by the Violence Policy Center, a group advocating stronger gun regulations:“Since 2005, corporations — gun related and other — have contributed between $19.8 million and $52.6 million to the NRA as detailed in its Ring of Freedom corporate giving program.”The report continued:“The vast majority of funds — 74 percent — contributed to the NRA from ‘corporate partners’ are members of the firearms industry: companies involved in the manufacture or sale of firearms or shooting-related products. Contributions to the NRA from the firearms industry since 2005 total between $14.7 million and $38.9 million.”Groups like the N.R.A. aren’t as much about rights as wrongs. The money being churned is soaked in blood and marked by madness.Second, more reasonable people of good conscience and good faith, including responsible gun owners, need to talk openly, honestly and forcefully about the need for additional, reasonable regulations.There is power in speaking up. We know the face of unfettered gun proliferation. Now it’s time to see more faces of regulation and restraint.
And last, of course, we simply must talk about the NRA's response to meeting with Vice President Biden's task force formed to recommend policy and other solutions to our national gun violence problem. Many groups have been invited to participate in the discussion and offer ideas. One would think that, given that 20 very young children were gunned down less than a month ago in the nation's most horrific mass shooting, the NRA would want to be involved in the national discussion about how to prevent more shootings. Instead, here is their response to the meeting:
"We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment," the NRA said in a statement following the 95-minute meeting on White House grounds. "While claiming that no policy proposals would be 'prejudged,' this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans."More lies. The NRA is misrepresenting the majority of its' members who want reasonable gun laws. If the leaders of the organization can look the families of shooting victims in the eye and explain to them why universal background checks on all gun sales is a bad idea, let's hear it. If they can look Gabrielle Giffords in the eye and tell her why a ban on high capacity magazines is a bad idea, let them speak up. Let's hear why the NRA's leadership is against what the majority of the pubic, and even their own members want. They whine that gun owners are blamed for the Newtown shooting. A specious argument at best. No. Most gun owners are reasonable people who understand that rhetoric coming from Wayne LaPierre and others who lead the organization is adding to the fear and paranoia and not in the least bit genuine or helpful. We are done with their bullying behaviors and their intransigence. We are better than this and we must demand a plan that is reasonable. The canard of the Second Amendment argument is folly. Enough. Let's get to work in the name of the victims and do what the country understands is right and must be done. If we can't do this as a country after the massacre of 20 little children then we can't do anything that is worth doing.
It turns out that Mr. Yeager, above, who threatened to kill people if any new gun laws were passed, got himself into a fix. His conceal carry gun permit was revoked by the state of Tennessee. From the article:
Yup. Thank you Tennessee Department of Safety. This guy means business. Just listen to his ridiculous and paranoid words in the video. He is spouting the NRA's drivel and fear mongering and worse. The thing is, people like this have guns and lots of them. They are insurrectionists ready to commit treason. Now that the country may actually pass some reasonable gun reforms, these guys are dissembling. Really, dear readers, don't believe a word he is saying. No one is going to come and confiscate his guns. No one is taking away any God given rights. No one is setting the Constitution on fire. People like this are the problem in this country. They are a fringe group but our leaders have let themselves be bullied by them for many years. In a way, you can almost see why. When guys like this send letters to leaders or make phone calls, you pay attention. Threats like the ones made by this guy can turn into action. This is exactly why the NRA is now in trouble. The majority simply do not believe in any of this and find it reprehensible and dangerous. Mr. Yeager is just adding fuel to the fire of public disapproval of the far right gun extremists who the NRA is now supporting. If they keep this up, there will be little support for any of their views. The NRA's leadership needs to reassess the current atmosphere. We are all reassessing the crazy gun culture that leads people like Mr. Yeager to behave the way he does. After the Sandy Hook school shooting, everything has changed.A Middle Tennessee firearms trainer who made an ominous comment about killing people in a YouTube video that gained national attention this week has had his handgun carry permit suspended Friday by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.James Yeager, 42, had his permit suspended based on a "material likelihood of risk of harm to the public," the department said in a statement.Col. Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Department of Safety said it didn't take him long to reach a decision after viewing the comments on the Internet."I watched it twice to make sure I was hearing what I thought I heard," Trott said."It sounded like it was a veiled threat against the whole public. I believed him. He had a conviction in his voice, and the way he looked into the camera, I believe he's capable of a violent act," Trott said.Yeager told Channel 4 News he is aware of the suspension, and his attorney will handle his statements going forward.The department said Yeager has the right to seek a review of the decision.Yeager posted a new video Friday night in which he appears with his attorney and apologizes for his prior comments."In another video I said some pretty volatile stuff, which I apologize for. I do not - in any way - advocate overthrowing the United States government. Nor do I condone violent actions toward any elected officials," Yeager said.