Finally, I understand the thinking of the National Rifle Assn.: It wants to put armed guards in all schools to protect us from the people it is protecting, when what we really need is protection against them.
An armed society is an intimidating society, in which people fear saying what is on their minds because they fear being shot by the armed person next to them.
An armed society is a gross violation of public spaces and of our right to be free from fear.
An armed society spells the end of civil public discourse and, consequently, the end of democracy.
Before this happens, we need to stand up to the menace of unrestricted gun possession and those who advocate for it.
Maybe NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre was right, but he didn't go far enough.
We may not only need armed guards at every school but also at every movie theater (gunman kills 12 at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater); in every house of worship (gunman kills six at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin); at every McDonald's (21 killed at a fast food restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif.,); at every International House of Pancakes (four killed at a Carson City, Nev., IHOP); at every hair and nail salon (gunman kills eight at a hair salon in Seal Beach); at every nursing home (eight killed at a nursing home in North Carolina); and at every post office (gunman kills 14 in an Oklahoma post office in 1986; gunman kills four in a Michigan post office in 1991; gunman kills six at a California postal processing center in 2006).
Proposed legislation in several states would allow teachers or administrators to carry firearms for the protection of the students. On the other hand, California lawmakers may strengthen the state's tough gun laws.
The truth is that no matter what is done to forbid gun sales and weaken the NRA, there are now some 300 million guns in civilian hands in the United States. No one can eliminate all those guns in any effective way.
The unpalatable solution is the obvious one: Each school district should decide for itself whether adding armed guards is the correct solution, together with enhanced electronic monitoring throughout the school to detect intruders.
If we need to have armed guards in our schools, they must be disciplined, trained professionals, properly equipped and in sufficient number to cover every potential point of entry.
Too expensive? That's the easy part: Place an excise tax on the sale of guns and ammunition. What's the tax rate? Whatever it takes.