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DO ARMED POLICE OFFICERS ADD TO SCHOOL SECURITY?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 3, 2013) — Students from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT had an opportunity on Wednesday to tour a school in a nearby town which has been refitted and renovated for them to begin classes on Thursday.
Students from the now-closed building will attend school in the new building which they have named “Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
The affluent town of Newtown, the state of Connecticut, the nation and the world were stunned after a reported lone gunman broke into the hallway of the old school on December 14, 2012 with several weapons, murdering the principal, the school psychologist, four teachers and teachers’ aides, and 20 first-graders.
Although the press was not welcomed to the open house, it was reported that “Numerous police officers on Wednesday guarded the outside of the Monroe school” and that an officer on the Monroe, CT force commented, “I think right now it has to be the safest school in America.”
Why? Because the officers are armed in the event of an intruder?
Following the attack, which some called “terrorist” in nature, a reignition of the gun control debate ensued, with many Democrats voicing support for a new federal assault weapons ban similar or stricter to that which was in effect from 1994 to 2004. Connecticut and several other states already have assault weapons bans in place.
As many as 15 Newtown police officers who responded to the emergency last month are suffering from trauma severe enough to prevent their return to work, while their union supports the law which requires them to use their sick and vacation time to recuperate. The owner of a local yoga studio has launched a campaign to collect gift cards for the officers so that they can buy food for their families while they are out of work. An article stating that the police union is “seeking more help” for the officers links to an article covering a different topic or does not open.
An attorney representing a first-grade survivor of the attack filed and then withdrew a $100,000,000 lawsuit for damages against the state, although he has a year to refile it. In interviews with CNN and Reuters, Atty. Irving Pinsky of New Haven stated that he is pursuing the issue of school security in Connecticut as well as other states. Pinsky cited having received death threats in the wake of filing his lawsuit.
Some have blamed the rising number of school shootings on a culture of violence and irreverence for life which has resulted in “wholesale discarding of human life like trash,” beginning with abortion. Some are terming abortion “a bad product that should be recalled by our government.”
Several Newtown children have voluntarily given up violent video games permanently in the wake of the shooting which killed some of their friends’ brothers and sisters. The town of Southington, which is about 30 miles from Newtown, is holding a drive on January 12 to burn turned-in violent video games in exchange for gift certificates. It is believed that the perpetrator of the murders spent considerable time playing video games such as “Call of Duty.” It was originally reported that there were two or three perpetrators, and questions remain as to whether or not there are connections between the deadly theater shooting in Aurora, CO last summer and the Sandy Hook attack.
In a press conference given a week after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre advocated placing armed guards in all public schools but was excoriated by the left, including Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen.-Elect Christopher Murphy. Both have called for stricter gun laws instead, and Murphy called LaPierre’s suggestion “revolting.” Some residents of Newtown blame the NRA for “not taking ownership” of the problem, although the NRA offers gun safety training and firearms awareness programs for children. The NRA also operates a fund which donates to a charity of a donor’s choice.
Left-leaning media criticized LaPierre’s stance and described him as “seething at the mouth.” A commentator quoted in an NBC column reportedly objected to LaPierre’s call for a national database of the mentally ill to prevent guns from falling into their hands. It has been reported that the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook atrocity was mentally ill and could not be left alone. However, the commentator stated, “To say that you want to demonize those people instead of getting these horrible machines off of the street should tell you everything about that organization.”
LaPierre has launched the “National School Shield” program to be headed by former U.S. Attorney and congressman Asa Hutchinson, who advocates “armed, trained, qualified school security personnel” as “one element” of the plan. “If a school decides…that it doesn’t want or need armed security personnel, that, of course, is a decision to be made by the parents and the local school board at the local level,” he said. Volunteers are also seen as a component of the National School Shield program.
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” — Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights, ratified 1791