After the shooting in Newtown that left 20 elementary school students dead, the National Rifle Association responded with a proposal for what it called National School Shield program. The idea, said the organization’s leader, Wayne LaPierre, was that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The shield program aimed to put an armed guard in every elementary school in the country to protect children from the next deranged killer.
The Navy Yard shooting exposes a fallacy in that argument. A military facility, the Navy Yard had plenty of good guys with weapons who were nonetheless were unable to stop Aaron Alexis, the alleged shooter, from killing a dozen innocent persons. In the coming weeks, we’ll learn more about Navy Yard security and how Alexis was able to thwart it. (We’ll also learn more about how he obtained his arms, but let’s leave that aside for now.)
True, the Navy Yard is not a heavily armed facility. It’s not like, say, walking into a military base in the U.S. let alone onto a war zone. But neither was it the kind of gun-free school zone that the NRA has described as an inviting target for crazed shooters. It was at least as heavily armed as we can expect any elementary school could ever be under the National School Shield program. And yet, carnage.
The NRA is in some sense right that guns stop mass shooters ““ although in Atlanta this year, a deranged man with weapons was talked into surrender by a savvy, quick-thinking administrator. Still, guns stopped Alexis, not pleas. In that sense, La Pierre is right.
But it’s also true that shooters seem eminently capable of wreaking carnage before they can be stopped by on-site, armed personnel. This was true in the shooting at the U.S. Army’s Fort Hood base and at Columbine High School, which had an armed guard. By the NRA’s own logic, unless virtually every teacher in a school, or person in an office, is packing heat and is trained to use their weapon, a determined shooter can sow havoc before their weapons are silenced
After Newtown, La Pierre looked to retired police officers, among others, to be enlisted so that there would be a guard in every elementary school.
There may be a good argument for having armed guards in schools and many have chosen to provide such protection, but the idea that guards alone will prevent mass shootings isn’t one of them. If the United States Navy couldn’t take out a mass shooter before he—and it’s always a he—does his deranged work, can a guard?
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”