Today, National Rifle Association executive director Wayne LaPierre broke the gun lobby's silence since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., by calling for armed guards in every school in America.
That so-called solution has prompted at least one high-profile resident of Colorado Springs, Ret. Army Lt. Col. Joseph A. Ruffini, to resign his membership in the NRA.
First, let's look at LaPierre's speech:
"The National Rifle Association’s 4 million mothers, fathers, sons and daughters join the nation in horror, outrage, grief and earnest prayer for the families of Newtown, Connecticut … Out of respect for those grieving families, and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment. While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectfully silent," he said.
"Now, we must speak … for the safety of our nation’s children. Because for all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, no one — nobody — has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?"
LaPierre then noted that it's routine for armed guards to protect banks, airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses, even sports stadiums. The president and members of Congress, too, are guarded by armed police officers.
"Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it. That must change now!" he said.
LaPierre added there are "deranged, evil" people already plotting the next attack to gain their "moment of fame" bestowed by a "national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave."
The NRA's executive also blamed "a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry" of video-game makers for sowing violence against its own people through games with such names as Bulletstorm and Splatterhouse. Not to mention "blood-soaked slasher films" and violent music videos.
He stopped short of calling for censuring such films, games and music, which obviously would kick up a First Amendment fight. Rather, he blamed the media, corporate owners and their stockholders as "co-conspirators" who demonize gun owners rather than owning up to their own "moral failings."
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he says.
"You know, five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy. But what if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security?
"Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared? Is that so abhorrent to you that you would rather continue to risk the alternative?"
LaPierre then called for Congress "to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January."
He closed with: "For the sake of the safety of every child in America, I call on every parent, every teacher, every school administrator and every law enforcement officer in this country to join us in the National School Shield Program and protect our children with the only line of positive defense that’s tested and proven to work."
It was all too much for Ruffini, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who now runs JPR & Associates consulting firm, writes books and teaches college classes. He writes in his letter resigning his membership in the NRA, "I have come to realize after a week of reflection, that not being a cop or an active duty soldier, I have no legitimate need to possess an assault rifle."
He adds, "By refusing to even discuss prudent gun control measures post-Newtown, Connecticut, the NRA does its members, their families and this nation a grave disservice. You, Sir, should be ashamed of yourself and your organization."
His entire letter is here: