Up   |  April 06, 2013

NRA calls for armed guards in all schools

In this "Up" segment from 12/22/12, Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic; Haley Elkins, author of “How a Gun-Loving Texas Girl Learned to Fear Assault Weapons”; Rich Lucibella, owner of S.W.A.T. Magazine; and Jackie Hilly, director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; talk about NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s response to the Newtown shooting.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good morning from new york, i'm chris hayes , host of the new program "all in," airing 8 p.m . eastern. and i'll be watching as steve kornacki replaces me on this program "up with steve kornacki." my team and i care deeply about this program which is why we're glad to see steve taking the reins. today we wanted to share some of the discussions we feel represent those times we came closest to meeting those aspirations. the subject of gun violence is fraught and complex and we are hard pressed to explain why our political system cannot passion the most common-sense measures but the nra winning several key battles in congress at the moment, it's easy to forget about how extreme and object tuesday the nra felt the week after the school shooting in newtown, connecticut. we talked about the response here on "up."

>> i'm joined by tom, haley, author of piece "xo jane ", rich, owner and publisher of "swat magazine" and jackie hilly, executive director of new yorkers against gun violence . nra broke the week of silence following the newtown, con korngs shooting in a big way. they promised meaningful contributions to stop gun violence but in a press conference, executive vie president wayne lapierre 's only concrete solution seemed to be armed guards inside all of the nation's schools.

>> i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. and to do it now, to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in january.

>> for 30 minutes lapierre went on a diatribe, unyielding and attempted to blame violence on things like video game it is and the number of insane monday sters, who in his words, populate our society . it turned into a glimpse of the mind behind the man who makes the nra , lobbying arms, tick. he was the riveting, chilling and revealing spectacle at a national press conference that i can remember.

>> how many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame? how can we possibly even guess how many given our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill ? add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you've got a recipe for a national nightmare. vicious, violent video games . a thousand music individual yoes. isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography? throughout it all, too many in the national media, their corporate owners and their stockholders act as silent enablers if not complicit co-conspirators. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

>> well, i have to say, i thought this was really an insane spectacle, this press conference. and i went into it thinking two things. one, i thought -- thought the nra would take a page out of the wall street post crisis play book. they said, look, we get it, we get it. it was a big crisis and we need some regulation. definitely. and they gave lip service to that. they even said, we'll work with you on regulation. then behind the scenes in the lobbying, in the back rooms, they were able to gut a lot of that regulation and put in loopholes. this seemed like a smart, strangic approach on the part of wall street because they were able to reap the pr benefits publicly of saying, yes, of course, of course, of course we need regulation, and also escape the worst of the actual real constraining effects of actual regulation. i was expecting a similar kind of approach from the nra . that was clearly not at all the approach taken. were you surprised, rich? is that what you were expecting?

>> well, i think i expected, yes, the nra to be more political, to take a more political approach. and i think what lapierre did is he took a more practical approach. i think that if we tease apart what he was saying, sometimes because we don't particularly appreciate the speaker, we don't hear the message. and i think that there was some value in what he was saying. he was not just talking about armed security in school. he was talking about redundant security for schools, if you will. and he was talking about providing grants to do audits for access to schools, for construction of schools. and to the extent that -- you know, to the extent that he brought up the media and the way we give these little monsters attention and the way we give them an identity by mentioning their names and repeating their names, creates additional -- helps to create additional little monsters . we find that these types of crimes occur in clusters. so to that extent, lapierre is not that far off when he says how many are out there waiting? we have no idea.

>> the data, we looked into the data on this copycat effect and there's been interesting findings in both directions. it's fairly unsettled. there's been some findings that suggest there's a copycat effect that large publicity of mass shootings induce people who are on the border of committing these things to plan them. our survey data shows that's not the case. the thing i found interesting, one place concretely, was the focus on schools. i understand why there's on schools because this act was so horrifying but schools are very safe places. i just want to show this graph because i think this is important to just put this. this is homicides in elementary and high schools . over the years. what you see is, you know, there are not a lot of people killed in schools in america . every time someone is killed in a school in america , it's a horrific tragedy. in terms of what are our social problems , schools themselves as sites of violence are not the thing that we -- is not really the problem in terms of what the data say. i thought in focusing on the schools, that was maybe missing the problem.

>> yeah. i think it's important to understand self-defense does not begin at the moment of conflict. there's collective self-defense. there's self-defense society enables through regulation, through norms it tries to establish, and, you know, one of the big things that's missing from this debate -- we can go back and forth and have a conversation about whether armed security would stop anything from happening, didn't help in columbine. but the bigger question is we as a society , what does it say when you want to put more guns in your place of education n your place where you send your 5, 6, 7-year-old children. is that the message, the sort of society we actually want to be. or do we want to take self-defense before the moment of conflict. do we want to look at legislation, put policies in place that allow us to defend ourselves before we get to a point where we say, i wish that teacher had had an m-4. by you get to that point, it's too late.

>> were you surprised by the press conference?

>> i've been optistic for the nra 's statement, waiting all week, and they ben i have to say i was very disappointed. i think their statement was a huge disservice to their membership. i know mechanics of the nra with fantastic expertise, very smart, could be very wonderful resources in this, and i think that statement did not reflect any sort of an engaging in discourse and engaging in dialogue. i was shocked how much of a monologue this was.

>> i think it's an emerging idea that's hopeful in liberal circles so i want to reality-check it that there's this gap between nra and membership. you see statistics about polling, about regulatory initiatives. i wonder how much you think that is the case. this is something that exists across the ideological spectrum. large, beltway groups pursuing an agenda will have differences from their constituencies/memberships. i'm curious what your feeling is on that.

>> i was raised in the sort of 1970s , for lack of a better term, style of thinking about the nra , when they were still having a lot more dialogue and a lot more discourse than, perhaps, they are now. and i was also raised with the mentality of them not being a lobby organization but being a resource of education and training for their members and being kind of a collective -- a collective resource. and then when i became a young kind of an adult woman, i realized that was not the situation that we were looking at with a lobbying arm like that.

>> so, i think one of the things we need to look at that happened this week is the way all the issues were defined by the nra press conference was around the issue of gun- free schools . as you brought out in schools in this country are very, very safe. but in addition to that, the premise of that argument is if it weren't for the fact that we had said gun- free schools , there wouldn't be any shootings in schools but we don't have national campaigns that say gun-free malls, gun-free religious institutions, gun-free streets, so that doesn't stop the killers from getting there. the killers are coming there to do whatever they want to do. and it's the access to the guns that make whatever happens in their minds a possibility. so, we should be talking about how we regulate who gets the guns because i don't think it matters whether you're a matter of the nra or you've never touched a gun, you don't want a gun in the wrong hands.

>> before we get to regulation, i want to talk about gun culture , for lack of a better word. i do think at this moment we say, well, if you look at the international data, it's just a fact that america has more guns than anywhere else in the world relative to its population. next highest is yemen and we're almost double yemen. so there's something different about the u.s. this is american exceptionalism in one form or another. i want to talk to you particularly about why that is. right after we take this break.