April 3, 2013

Why not arm the kids?

This idea, brilliant in its simplicity and simple in its brilliance, occurred to me a nanosecond after the National Rifle Association proposed arming school security guards and staff members as a way of preventing another school massacre. It is, like everything the NRA does, both logical and well thought out – a good guy with a gun is the antidote to a bad guy with a gun — but it suffers, as the NRA itself must know, from moderation. If one gun in the hands of, say, the principal is good, think of what hundreds of guns in the hands of students would do. I mean, who’s gonna take on that school?

There are many ways to implement this plan. Kids could be given their guns at the beginning of the school day and turn them in at the end. Or they could be given guns along with their books at the beginning of the school year and turn them in at the end. This would be more efficient, but it would entail ensuring that the guns weren’t used doing the school year to settle scores or to pull the odd robbery.

One idea that comes to mind – I am just brimming with them at the moment – is to link the school guns program to academic achievement. Kids who do well in school would be rewarded, say, with a Glock 19. I recommend this handgun only because accessories for it are readily available on the Internet, reducing stockroom clutter, and because it is the only handgun I happen to know. Kids who do less well in school would be given cheaper, less desirable handguns, and maybe – just maybe – kids who do really badly would be given no gun at all. (The last suggestion needs further study.)

Before any objections are raised, I concede that my plan would apply only to middle and high schools. The NRA has found that children under the age of 8 have a hard time  packing both a gun and lunch, and their aim is not much good in a pinch. But in these schools, the teachers, the teacher assistants, the principal and the custodial staff would be armed –- as would be, of course, the security guards and, I would recommend, the school crossing guard. At the sound of gunshots, she – it is usually a woman – could blow her whistle, bring traffic to a stop and run to the school, gun (or guns) blazing.

Naysayers –and there are always some – will nitpick this plan, saying harsh and extremely liberal things about guns. Still, as the NRA knows, only guns can prevent gun violence. Arm the kids, I say.

Goodbye for now – and lock and load.

RELATED: 11 facts about the NRA

Richard Cohen writes a weekly political column for The Washington Post.