Via Mediaite, a small window onto the futility of the gun “debate.” On one side you’ve got Huelskamp, who’s eager to replace the argument over guns with an argument over video games even though the link between gaming and violence is dubious, and not just in the U.S. On the other side you’ve got the new Republican leader of the Do Something brigade, who’s not only onboard with scrutinizing video games but who seems unperturbed by Huelskamp’s point that Connecticut’s assault weapons ban didn’t stop Lanza. They’re not debating guns here, ultimately, they’re debating motives. It’s unwatchable but illuminating as an unusually prominent example of the sort of dreck repartee you see between the two sides when they engage on this topic on Twitter.
Speaking of guns and futility, read Drew’s riposte to that NRA presser this morning. There may be good reasons to spend $5 billion we don’t have on another 100,000 cops, but installing them at schools across the country on the odd chance that a rampage killer might show up someday in the distant future isn’t one of them. My hunch is that, while it would improve security, most of the improvement would lie in deterring garden-variety criminal behavior on school grounds, not mass shootings. Meanwhile, some studies show that stationing armed guards nearby makes kids feel less safe, not more, which is bad for learning. And as always in matters involving lunatics, it’s hard to predict how the average nut would respond to the new policy. Having security guards on campus may well have helped reduce the death toll at Columbine, but a single cop isn’t much of an obstacle to an ambush attack. The new rule for suicidal school shooters will simply be to shoot the cop first. If you want real security, you should have at least two on school grounds, and maybe more. Everyone okay with $10 billion a year for that, before benefits? It is the most popular option in the policy toolbox right now. And as recently as three days ago the Times was taking it very seriously, although that’ll quickly change now that Wayne LaPierre’s endorsed it and thereby made it, for leftist purposes, officially Bad and Wrong.
But then, we’re missing the point here. Whether feasible or not, the cop-in-every-school proposal is useful to the NRA simply as a conversation-changer at a moment when Obama’s trying to focus the public on regulating guns. For all the grumbling online about LaPierre’s presser being rambling and “tone deaf,” there was a good reason he was all over the map. The more we’re talking about cops in schools and video games and mental-health spending and media sensationalism, the less we’re talking about an assault weapons ban. (Huelskamp is keenly aware of this too, of course.) Expect lots more of that in the new year as a counter to the big Democratic gun-control push in Congress.
Update: Congressional Democrats react to LaPierre’s attempt to change the subject as you’d expect.