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Opinion: The NRA sticks to its guns

Following the Newtown massacre that left 27 dead, including 20 children, the NRA, the American gun lobby, has called for schools to be protected by armed security guards. Christina Bergmann comments.

So this is the gun lobby's answer to the recent massacre in Newtown: More weapons. Armed security guards should be posted at each school; if possible, beginning right after the Christmas holidays. Because, as National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre says, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Wrong. The only thing that makes a bad guy really dangerous is a gun.

Do we really have to have this discussion again? Twelve thousand people are shot dead each year in the United States. They die in homes, on the streets, in backyards, in stores. Very few are shot in schools - because weapons are banned there. The Newtown massacre is an incredible tragedy - but it's only the terrible tip of the iceberg and not the main problem.

Violence cannot be a solution

Even if all schools immediately got armed guards, that would hardly change the number of people shot in the US at all. And do we really have to remind the NRA that one of the recent massacres, at Fort Hood in November 2009, took place on a military base? Thirteen were killed and 30 wounded in a place with countless soldiers and armed military police.

Cristina Bergmann

Bergmann is DW's correspondent in Washington, D.C.

Schools as weapon-free zones bring about something else: They make it clear to children that violence is no solution. LaPierre is not entirely wrong to inveigh strongly against video games that glorify violence. But how does that fit with arming the one place where children are guaranteed not to be exposed to weapons? The teachers' unions have already offered vociferous opposition to such plans.

Paranoia and fearmongering

And what does it say about the mindset of the NRA bosses, when LaPierre says, "Does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn't planning his attack on a school he's already identified at this very moment?" Is this America? A nation that is constantly looking anxiously over its shoulder, living in fear of an attack? One that, like Wayne LaPierre, believes "society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters." It is probably this paranoia that explains the need of people like LaPierre not to leave the house without packing a gun under their jacket. It is simultaneously a kind of fearmongering that leaves you gasping.

And lastly: Sandy Lanza, the mother of the gunman, owned several guns. She knew how to use them, went to shooting ranges, because - we are told - she wanted to be able to defend herself. She was shot and killed in her sleep with her own gun by her own son.

More guns will not save anyone.

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