Yesterday, I reported on the obsession of Wall Street Journal reporters Tamer El-Ghobashy and Devlin Barrett regarding how the shooter got through the security system at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was otherwise a good and informative article, but really: how did he get in? As I wrote, “This is a typically American approach to a problem: look everywhere but not at what is right in front of you.”
Now we have the answer: he forced his way into the school. Before I heard that, I was pretty sure that was going to be the answer and I thought that would settle the issue. What an idiot I am! Of course it doesn’t settle the issue. It puts the issue into sharp focus for conservatives: the answer is to put armed cops in every school. Check out the Fox News clip at the end of this segment on Up with Chris Hayes:
Let’s look at this proposal on its merits. At best, a cop at this school would have reduced the number of causalities, and it could have increased them. But this is a “last chance” sort of approach the problem. It is the last line of defense to protect our children. But apparently, it is also the first line of defense. Just like after 9/11, these people don’t really want to solve a problem, so much as appear to solve a problem. Because they just don’t want to even consider other lines of defense because some of them might lead to even the smallest limits on gun rights.
What’s more, this “cop on the beat” idea will only work in small spaces. The Clackamas Town Center shooting would not have benefited from a cop—it is just too large a space. But I think this gets to the heart of conservative thinking in this matter. They can only deal with details. This is all about stopping the shooting at schools just like this one. The fact that there have been mass shootings at movie theaters and shopping malls and parking lots doesn’t matter. That is yesterday’s news.
Check out the whole Up with Chris Hayes show. Lots of good information and some positive policy ideas.