In the Book of Isaiah we read: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore."
Yet it appears National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre desires a nation that remains dangerously divided by the Second Amendment and its applications; it appears he wants our children to learn war forever more, with armed guards to greet them at school doors and strapped teachers to greet them in their classrooms.
One week to the day after the Sandy Hook massacre with five more funerals yet to take place, and little more than an hour after the nation observed a moment of silence to honor the memories of the twenty-six slain, LaPierre broke the NRA's silence. One wonders what the NRA has been doing while it has remained "respectively silent," as LaPierre described it. Some of the answers, in no particular order, are as follows:
- Blaming movies.
- Blaming video games.
- Blaming music videos.
- Blaming the national media.
- Blaming the government for using the Sandy Hook tragedy for political gain.
- Blaming hurricanes (yes, hurricanes).
- Blaming "gun-free" school zones that, as a result of their "gun-free" status are advertisements and invitations for murderous free-for-alls.
- Blaming the absence of armed guards at our nation's schools.
- Blaming the country for ignoring the NRA's suggestion after the Virginia Tech massacre that said armed guards be placed at every one of our nation's schools.
- Blaming a press and "political class" more committed to fear and hatred of the NRA and American gun owners than open to the NRA's advice, thereby leaving a lone, unarmed school principal to surrender her life for her students last week.
- Feeling sorry for itself.
Perhaps the most startling response was LaPierre's announcement of former US Congressman Asa Hutchinson's "appointment" as the National Director of the NRA's National School Shield Emergency Response Program to train armed militias to protect our nation's schools. Surely of all the things we need most urgently, a Blackwater for schools is not one of them.
Wayne LaPierre learned nothing during his silence, but we who will not be silenced must send the message that we will not teach our children from the moment they first become students, and we will not teach our teachers--whether present or future (assuming we can attract the best and brightest to teach our children when people like LaPierre would add target practice to the job description), that places of learning are places where guns are part of the curriculum. Let LaPierre's broken silence not break our commitment to teaching our children that the United States of America is a country of enforceable, intelligent laws that protect and safeguard its citizens; that our nation is a city on a hill, not a fortress of fear where grown-ups must be armed to the hilt so that our children may learn and laugh and play in peace.
I have faith that this moment will only inspire us more, including the majority of those members of the NRA and American gun owners who know the difference between utter nonsense and what LaPierre calls "meaningful action," to roundly reject and not settle for the content of today's bizarre, vapid NRA press conference; that we will come together as one nation, indivisible, that will not countenance our children learning war in the very places they learn.
Let us arm our schools and our children with the power of knowledge, not an ever-present display of firepower. For the sake of our brothers and friends, let our young people--our future--begin and end each school day not with weapons, but, with the words of the Psalmist: "Peace be with you."