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NRA Suggests a Police State

By       Message Robert Parry       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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Cross-posted from Consortium News

The National Rifle Association's graphic for its proposed "National School Shield."

If one follows the "logic" of the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre, the United States should become an armed camp with armored-up police carrying high-powered weapons stationed at virtually every location where children might congregate and where a crazy person might show up with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

After all, why stop at protecting schools? A mentally unstable individual could just as easily walk into a shopping mall at Christmas and murder kids waiting to talk to Santa Claus or enter a theater showing a Disney film and open fire on the tiny movie-goers or stroll onto a field where children are playing soccer and empty a 100-round magazine.

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If we are to really protect the children as LaPierre suggests, we should have armor-encased SWAT officers at literally every event where there are kids. It clearly wouldn't do to just have some donut-eating cops with simple sidearms. All they would do is provide initial target practice for a gunman with his Bushmaster AR-15.

No, we would need "good guys with guns" at least equal in firepower to the "bad guys with guns." That is, if we were to apply LaPierre's reasoning as expressed at the NRA's news conference on Friday, belatedly responding to the massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, a week earlier.

So, rather than enact commonsense gun-control laws that could begin ratcheting down America's crazy arms race, LaPierre recommends escalating the arms race by turning pretty much the entire country into security zones, the sort that U.S. airports have become, except at airports the passengers are not allowed to carry guns.

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Everywhere else -- if LaPierre and the NRA's benefactors in the gun industry have their way -- "good guys" will be wielding lethal weapons for self-defense and for the defense of others, unless, of course, one of the "good guys" snaps and suddenly becomes a "bad guy." Or a "good guy" might misinterpret a move by a suspected "bad guy" and start blasting away under the NRA's "stand your ground" principle.

Presumably, then, others might join in with their Bushmasters and then one of the omnipresent SWAT officers might have to unleash his own lethal firepower to bring matters under control.

It's been noted that at the Columbine massacre, there was an armed officer present who fired on the gunmen but missed, failing to deter the slaughter. And, in stopping a knife-wielding man in Times Square, trained New York police officers wounded nine civilians.

In other words, the cinematic version of gunplay, as envisioned by LaPierre and right-wing politicians like Newt Gingrich, in which the hero-policeman or the hero-civilian fires one precise shot to take out the villain-gunman isn't how things play out in real life. Usually there's a lot of collateral damage.

Ironically, LaPierre seems to have watched too many of those violent movies that he blames for America's epidemic of gun violence.

The Framers' Intent

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Ironically, too, LaPierre and his fellow-travelers claim they are all about "liberty," i.e., their twisted historical narrative that insists the Framers included the Second Amendment because they wanted the American people to go to war with their own constitutionally elected government.

But LaPierre's prescription for addressing the need to protect America's children is to further militarize American society. A country with SWAT teams deployed preemptively at every public place where a deranged gunman might murder children is a nation with all the trappings of a police state.

LaPierre's defenders might say that his recommendation only applies to schools, a proposal that would require its own massive reallocation of government resources. But even this gargantuan obligation to defend all schools all the time would not achieve the desired goal of protecting the nation's children.

That would require a much larger effort, practically a permanent deployment of militarized SWAT teams everywhere at all times. Which, in turn, might convince "liberty-loving" Americans that it's finally time to put that arsenal in the basement to use for real, fighting against the oppressive state.

Of course, the real American Framers, people like James Madison and George Washington, were not crazed ideologues like Wayne LaPierre. They were pragmatic nationalists who feared the danger to their newly independent nation if "domestic Tranquility" could not be achieved through the creation of effective governance.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

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