National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC, December 21, 2012. Today marks one week since the Sandy Hook elementary school masacre in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 children and 6 adults were killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. UPI/Molly Riley | License Photo
National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre stood before national media Friday morning and called for armed guards at schools across the country as the only effective preventative measure stopping school shootings like the one that occurred last week in Newtown, Conn.
"I call on Congress today to act immediately, 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."
Unfortunately for LaPierre, two disastrous examples directly contradict his position.
On April 20, 1999, Columbine High School had an armed guard--Sheriff's Deputy Neil Gardner on duty on campus. Although Gardner was on duty (he was eating lunch when the shooting started), Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were able to kill 12 students and a teacher, and wound 21 others and before committing suicide.
And Virginia Tech, which remains the site of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, had what amounted to a SWAT team on campus. According to the governor's report on the 2007 shootings that left 32 people dead and 17 wounded, the Virginia Tech police department, a fully accredited police force, has an emergency response team. On April 16, 2007, 34 armed officers were on duty.
Neither Gardner at Columbine High School, nor the Virginia Tech Police force, were able to prevent the events of two of the worst mass gun murders ever to occur in the U.S.