The NRA statement made by Wayne LaPierre on Friday afternoon, a week after a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut claimed 27 lives, has been criticized by many for the expensive proposal made for armed guards to be placed in every school in order to protect children from gun violence.
Following the Friday NRA statement on the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, Americans took to Twitter to react to the suggestion — which has been suggested to cost as much as $5.4 billion annually by some estimates.
In Newtown, USAToday spoke to residents who, still picking up the pieces of their lives after last week’s hellish events, reacted to the comments LaPierre made about a school shield program and the idea of introducing more guns to US schools.
The paper quotes Newtown resident David Stout, 49, who is a hunter, saying:
“Folks in Newtown are appalled by that suggestion,” said Stout, who owns several hunting rifles. “I understand we want to protect our kids, but there are other ways to do that. We don’t want to turn our schools into prisons.”
Stout, who belongs to several groups formed after the tragedy, adds:
“It’s ridiculous we can’t all come together and say, ‘Ok, what makes sense?’ … Something has to change.”
Martin Blanco of Newtown echoed the sentiment, adding that the words felt like an insult so soon after the massacre. Blanco commented:
“Just an awful slap in the face, particularly to the people in Sandy Hook … The overwhelming majority of people in this town will find it a foolish, self-serving statement that has no place in Newtown or the United States of America.”
Newtown residents weren’t the only ones to find fault with the NRA statement, and teachers’ groups were quick to assess what they say is a poor approach to the issue of school violence. According to the San Francisco Gate, two national teachers’ organizations were appalled by the proposal. The paper says:
“The American Federation of Teachers called the suggestion ‘irresponsible and dangerous,’ while the National Education Association described it as shocking and based on the ‘delusional assumption that everything other than guns contributes to these tragedies.’”
Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis concurred, telling the Boston Herald that LaPierre’s suggestion “is not the vision I have for the United States.” Davis was blunt in his refutation, adding:
“This rhetoric that’s being thrown around here, these cute little phrases people keep using, misdirect us from what happened here … There were 20 young children murdered with guns. And the problem was guns.”
Twitter users seemed to be largely opposed to the NRA “School Shield” program as well, but some users expressed support for the controversial proposal:
NRA’s National School Shield Program provides solutions ObamaBots would have never thought of. A great start. #NRA
— John Liberty (@JohnLibertyUSA) December 22, 2012
— Armed in Heels (@ArmedinHeels) December 21, 2012
NRA decides to innovate, adapt and lead with National School Shield Program. Media crap their pants!
— The TN Conservative (@TennConserv) December 22, 2012
Among the criticisms frequently re-tweeted after Wayne LaPierre delivered the NRA statement on the Sandy Hook Massacre was that an armed guard was present at Columbine but unable to intervene in the shooting and prevent any loss of life.