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Should Pinole and Hercules Schools Follow NRA's Suggestion for Armed Campus Security?

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the NRA's Wayne LaPierre said.

In a Friday morning press conference in Washington DC, the National Rifle Association broke its weeklong silence following the horrific shooting of 26 people at a school in Newtown, CT and called for a surge of gun-carrying "good guys" around American schools.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for a new kind of American domestic security revolving around armed civilians, arguing that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

"We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents," LaPierre said. "Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers. Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent, and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it, and exploit it."

LaPierre's speech was a call to supporters to mobilize around a new vision of American domestic security, at a time when voices for gun control are steadily rising. On Friday morning before the press conference, President Obama released a video (above) citing a petition by hundreds of Americans calling for swift action.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), who represents Benicia, Pinole, Hercules, Napa and other areas in Congress, responded to LaPierre's speech by saying keeping kids safe "goes beyond just arming more people" with firearms.

“Closing holes in our mental health system, addressing our culture’s glorification of violence, improving background checks for everyone who buys firearms, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons and assault magazines all must be part of a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent gun violence.”

Thompson was recently elected to represent the newly redrawn California Fifth District.  The district includes all or parts of Solano, Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Contra Costa Counties. On Dec. 19 it was announced Thompson will lead a task force to investigate new steps Congress can take now and in the future to reduce gun violence and prevent massacres like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, is not a member of the NRA, but according to his office, he is a gun owner and a hunter. The website On The Issues shows that Thompson received a C+ rating from the NRA.

At the grassroots level, groups like Newtown United, a group of Newtown neighbors, are working to address major issues related to the tragedy, including gun control, violent media, mental health and legislation.

Newtown locals responded to the NRA press conference. Suzy DeYoung, a Newtown parent, coach and resident for nine years who has three children, said LaPierre's speech was playing to people’s fears.

“People are much smarter than this,” DeYoung said. “He is saying we need to be protected from guns by more guns. This lack of logic speaks for itself, and I truly believe the response you are abut to see from parents all around the world will offer better commentary than I ever could."

Joanna Zachos, a mother in Sandy Hook, CT said that while she supports an increase in gun control and personally does not believe in guns at all, that the larger problem goes "way beyond that."

"The problem we have is our immunity to violence as a society as a whole," she said. "Violent video games, violent movies, addiction to horror films. We've developed immunity to violence and violent images."

LaPierre also lamented violence in video games, music videos and "blood-soaked" films. But his central solution seemed to be a great mobilization of gun-carrying "good guys," a term he used repeatedly but did not define, who might be more present and respond more quickly than police.

"If we truly cherish our kids, more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible," LaPierre said. "And that security is only available with properly trained, armed 'good guys'."

LaPierre, who was interrupted twice by protesters who held signs in front of TV cameras, made a direct call for local action.

"I call on every parent. I call on every teacher. I call on every school administrator, every law enforcement officer in this country, to join with us and help create a national schools shield safety program to protect our children with the only positive line of defense that’s tested and proven to work," he said.

LaPierre did not take questions from reporters, and did not acknowledge the protesters.

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What do you think of this idea? Tell us in the comments section below.

Toni Leance December 22, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Hell no! More guns are not the answer. Meaningful gun control is what is needed. The NRA blames everything except the guns. The NRA looks like the fools they are completely out of touch.
None December 22, 2012 at 02:47 AM
What could possibly be done other than allow our government to confiscate every single gun in our society today including those in the possession of the police, the military and every single gun owned by a citizen of this country. Does anyone really believe another law would prevent someone from committing any act of violence? Timothy McVey used fertilizer and diesel fuel to bring down the federal building in Oklahoma. On 9/11, guns were not used, knives were.
Phil Simmons December 22, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Armed police in Hercules schools ??? NO !!! What has our society come to? Shouldn't we, as a society be trying to figure out how to make schools and communities places that are happy, friendly, open, and neighborly? The idea of police in schools, and for that matter, police everywhere else, reminds me of the 30ties in Western Europe. "Brown Shirt" mentality is a sad state in which to live.
M Romero December 22, 2012 at 04:11 AM
NO!!!
Phil Simmons December 22, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Oh, and to be clear, the Hercules PD is a really good organization, the Chief is a great guy, so no reflection on them, but schools are places of learning, they are to some extent sacred, and should never need to be monitored and treated as a crime scene.
Phil Simmons December 22, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Let's not stop some crimes if we can't stop all crimes.
Phil Simmons December 22, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Really?
Anthony Lopez December 22, 2012 at 08:21 AM
There has been a Hercules PD officer assigned to the Hercules High School and Middle School for years now. Actually, at one point there were two HPD officers assigned to both schools. I'm surprised you didn't know that, considering you ran for Council....
Toni Leance December 22, 2012 at 02:57 PM
@amthony there was an armed officer at Columbine and he was out gunned so what good did that do. The answer is to take away the military style guns get them out of our communities. We must have a conversation about gun control. If not now when? More guns and more police in the schools will not solve this problem.
Phil Simmons December 22, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Anthony, Actually I knew that quite well. I even know that an effort has been made inthe past 3 months to get a 2nd police officer at the school. Knowing it does not mean I agree with the concept. Besides, police officers dealing with in campus issues at a high school is one thing. Creating a State where police are in all schools, is quite another. We should be working to find ways in society to rid schools of becoming a police state instead of ways to increase the police state.
Giorgio C. December 22, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Remember the woman with the gun who showed up at Ohlone Elementary after firing shots in a nearby subdivision? This is why Hercules needs more police. She should have been stopped sooner. Here is the report. http://pinole-hercules.patch.com/articles/hercules-woman-arrested-for-bedford-court-shooting I am more concerned about the daily hazards, such as not having officers assisting with the drop-off routine at our elementary schools. I believe the occasional visit by our police helps to remind parents to follow rules instead of selfishly following their own rules for the purpose of getting to work on time. I taught at a high school with heavy gang activity. A risk assessment would reveal that armed police are necessary in such environments. I'm not sure how effective the now-in-place metal detectors are. I would have to see the data. I've personally witnessed violent children fall through the cracks of our current educational system, with fatal consequences. Some of our school policies alienate our children. It has been reported that Hercules Middle-High School will suspend a child for 3 days if they skip 1 class. Albany Middle School does not permit children with D's or F's during their last semester to participate in the graduation ceremony. This is how we alienate our children. And then we act surprised when they flip out. For most schools, armed police are not the answer. Let's use our brains (and data) to solve this problem, not our emotions.
Steve Welstand December 22, 2012 at 08:33 PM
If armed police and security screening are an absolute necessity for state and federal buildings that ought to be a necessity for our school children - at least the police presence. I think screening should be used if the situation dictates. Pinole High has an officer stationed outside the school. Why the aversion to police presence? Actually, if you look at businesses and many office buildings, they have controls and rational screening of entrants that work quite well. Finally, there shouldn’t be absolute medical privacy protection of people that are known or reasonably suspected of being dangerous.
Phil Simmons December 22, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I used to love trips to Mexico and the Caribbean. What was especially nice were the armed guards on the beach, with automatic weapons, ready to protect us from the rest of society. My last trip to Baja our car was searched as we left town to go down the coast to the next town. On the way back we were searched again. It gave me a great sense of security, or imminent danger. I'm not sure which. I guess if their society can have armed guards everywhere ours should be able to as well.
CW December 23, 2012 at 07:44 AM
If on one side of the equation is the assembly of people.. at any location, a school, college, movie theater, concert, city meeting, house of representatives, etc etc etc.. and on the other side of the equation are the Guns..... then what is the common item in the middle..... its a person(s), that wish to do harm for whatever their reason is... It's not the assembly of people... Its not the Guns..... Its the nut cases in the middle... Now how do we stop "them" from doing harm... We can't legistlate "them"... we can put signs up.. oh ya.. that'll stop "them"... you can "require" them to have background checks... yep.. that'll work.. (they'll get there guns some other way).. So..... we have to work on treating our mentally ill more... how many do we turn out on the street... how many "Get" the illness by watching these movies where people magically come back to life... or say... lets to a reset on one of our video games... and - Holy Cow ! they all come back to life..... We as a society have lost our ability to teach people what's real and what's make believe...... We need to EMBRACE each other.... and be vigilant for those that could do harm... I certainly don't have the answer..... but I don't believe it's the assembly OR the guns... I agree with Richard - they'll just use something else like Fertilizer for goodness sakes...

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