Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, is half-right. If every school in America had armed guards, it would be somewhat more difficult to launch the kind of massacre visited on Newtown, Conn.

His strategy, however, is no solution to the problem of violence in society. On the contrary, it’s a step farther down the slippery slope we ourselves have greased with unbridled access to guns of all kinds, with inadequate resources to deal with mental illness, and with society’s self-indulgent obsession with violence both as entertainment and as an everyday occurrence.

The last perception would be heightened if kindergartners were greeted each morning by a member of the local SWAT team armed with an assault rifle. Make no mistake, a retired police officer would need more than a handgun when facing a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic assault rifle in the hands of a suicidal psychopath.

So LaPierre is also half-wrong, for he appears blind to where his proposal would lead. After the schools are all guarded, an individual bent on mayhem could turn to nursing homes. Arm the staffs of nursing homes, and the targets become daycare centers. Then hospitals and clinics. How about support groups? One of the boards I sit on meets regularly, about 20 of us in a room easily could be turned into a shooting range.

LaPierre posits that if I were carrying, I could defend myself.

Sooner or later, however, his proposal would require almost everyone to be carrying. Welcome to the wild west of Hollywood. The ultimate reality show.

Think of an elk with its extreme antlers, evolved over millennia of increasingly deadly competition. Then think of two bull elk, their antlers hopelessly entangled at the ends of their skeletons.

Bernie Huebner

Waterville

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