The post-Newtown gun debate took what seemed to be an odd detour a couple of days ago when National Review’s Charlotte Allen argued for seeding the schools with random men or husky 12-year-olds. It was an odd argument in many ways, one of them being that the right’s fanatical opposition to any restraints on the sale of firearms was leading to an embrace of Keynesian fiscal stimulus. (How else are you going to hire these otherwise unneeded males?)
Allen’s argument turned out not to be a random fever dream but a harbinger of the right’s response to Newtown. National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre, in a televised tirade, called for placing armed guards in every school.
Who are these good guys with guns he wants to put in the schools? If they’re police officers, we’re looking at an annual cost probably approaching $10 billion a year including benefits. If LaPierre is talking about hiring police officers, then he is oddly putting himself on the side of President Obama, who has proposed federal grants to states that have been laying off police officers, and against Republicans, who have blocked such plans as wasteful spending. LaPierre attempted to fudge this point by calling for the money to come out of foreign aid (“With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget, we can’t afford to put a police officer in every school?”).
It’s not entirely clear if LaPierre wants to hire police officers or just arm and train random (presumably unemployed) volunteers for the job. LaPierre emphasized that this proposal is so urgent that there is not time to analyze it:
Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work — and by that, I mean armed security …
There'll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action.
No time! Pass first, debate later! If funding gets in the way, maybe the answer here is to just arm those husky 12-year-old boys. They’d probably do it for free. Or maybe just the chance for seconds on French fries from the school cafeteria.