NRA Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, recently said, “We need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work — and by that I mean armed security.” This is a fantastically stupid idea on two levels.
First, considering that America is currently trying to cut expenses, where does LaPierre think that the money to hire security guards for every school in America is going to come from? This would be a ridiculous waste of tax-payer money.
Second, and more importantly, what would be the ramifications of placing a low-paid, armed security guard in every school? In every occupation, you have a certain percentage of people who are not 100% emotionally stable — security guards are no different. Further, the turnover rate for a job like a security guard is very high. Thus, we have numerous people moving in and out of this profession every year.
Let’s do a simple mathematical analysis. I will generalize, but I will do so in favor of the proponents of this “armed guard in every school” proposition to make it as fair as possible. Let’s say that the average security guard will stay on for one year (even though this site estimates it at three per year) and that each school gets one armed guard. Let’s also say that the chances of a security guard becoming a spree killer are very low. Let’s say one in 100,000 or 0.00001% (I have no way of knowing this number. This is the one major point of contention I suppose. I don’t think it’s fair to divide the total population of America by the number of serial/spree killers per year either though, because the majority of the population are not given excellent opportunities to spontaneously go on a spree killing, as a security guard in a school full of unarmed civilians would. To be honest, I think that this number should be more like 1 in 50,000.) According to Google, it says that there are 132,656 K-12 schools in America. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I calculate that to be a 1.3% chance each year that one of those security guards will be a spree killer (with the statistics purposely being slanted in favor of the pro-gun people — I’d guess that the number would actually be closer to 5% if I did some heavy research).
Also, we must consider the added devastation that a security guard, who would know the physical layout and security precautions of the school perfectly, could reap on a school. This would potentially be on the scale of a Columbine massacre. You may say that single digit chances are insignificant, but whenever you consider odds, you have to consider the magnitude of the outcome. If I were to tell you that you had a 1% chance of dripping coffee on your sleeve, you’d probably not care at all. If I were to tell you that there’s a 1% chance that an asteroid would hit the earth tomorrow, you’d logically have a much stronger reaction.
On the other hand, how many spree killers would be stopped by an armed guard. It depends how armed they are. Do you want security guards with bullet proof vests and automatic weapons in your schools? If so, I suppose they’d have a decent chance. If you only want a guy with a hand gun, I think they’d be almost as easy fodder as any other person in the school.
In short, arming more people in an area designed to be a safe-haven from violence will not beget safety: more guns begets more gun violence.