Friday, December 21, 2012

POS - My rebuttal to the NRA in the wake of Newtown

So the head of the NRA today came out and gave a speech blaming everything in the world but guns for the shooting in Newtown, including blaming video games, movies, the music industry, and other things for the shooting (all of which are BS reasons).  He also blamed the fact that there isn't armed security in every school because he thinks that would solve all problems.  Here's the thing:  Columbine had an armed security guard on duty when the shooting happened.  Virginia Tech had an entire armed campus police force.  Northern Illinois University also had an armed campus police force.  He cites the example of banks having an armed guard, but banks are usually small and only one room to cover.  Schools are massive buildings, sometimes even campuses.  My former high school, Stevenson in Lincolnshire, IL, has over 4,000 students.  One cop covering that whole campus isn't going to do much unless he happens to be in the same part of the school when the shooting starts, just like what happened at Columbine.  My college alma mater, Michigan, is even larger, just like a school like Virginia Tech.  Having an armed guard in every school is NOT going to solve the problem, sorry, but thanks for playing!

Furthermore, even if armed security was an option - how are we going to pay for that?  There are 100,000 public schools in this country, approximately.  So, if you put an armed security guard at each school, lets say he's making around $50,000  on average.  $50,000 times 100,000 schools = $5 billion.  And thats just for 1 guard at each school.  As I said, many schools are significantly larger than just single room schools.  So that 5 billion would just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the costs for a program like this, in order to provide adequate coverage for larger schools.  10 guards per school, and we are now at $50 billion.  100 guards per school?  $500 billion.  Considering the federal government is in the process of driving over the fiscal cliff, where is that money going to come from?  Good luck getting the anti-tax and anti-federal government Republican party to agree to that.  Not to mention, those 100,000+ new security guards are likely to want to form a union (or the teachers unions will demand that they be unionized) so now you're telling me that you can get today's GOP to vote for a tax increase that will create 100,000+ union jobs?  Seriously?

Aside from that, I also find his remarks on blaming video games and movies for violence revolting.  Statistically speaking, his argument has more holes than swiss cheese.  Take just one video game that had been blamed for violence in the Columbine shooting:  Doom.  The Doom series of video games has sold over 10 million units since the first one's release almost 20 years ago.  There have been about 40 school shootings since the game's release.  That means that if every school shooter had played doom, there are 9,999,960 people that played the game that were not driven to a school shooting.  Put another way, that is odds of .000004, or 1 in 250,000.  You have significantly better odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime (1 in 10,000) or dying in a plane crash in your lifetime (1 in 66,000 given flying one round trip per year on one of the top 25 "safe" airlines).  Conversely, your odds of dying as a result of an assault with firearms is 1 in 321.  But yes, let's keep blaming video games, because that makes more sense.

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