Friday, December 21, 2012

I don't get it

Armed guards in schools is almost certainly overkill. I could see specific districts with concerns doing it (they probably already have them, though), but generally it's not my cup of tea.

Nevertheless I'm astonished so many people think it's ridiculous as an idea.

Between putting armed guards in schools and tightening gun control, it seems obvious that the armed guards in schools would make these shootings less likely. Even if you like the idea of more gun control, I don't see how you argue with this.

Is it good policy?

Eh, probably not.

But these reactions seem to be more about peoples' emotional response to the NRA than common sense.


  1. It could be made good policy though, if paid for by taxes on firearms.

  2. Armed guards has to be seen as the 'wrong' equilibrium outcome, the 'defect, defect' society where everyone is armed to the teeth. Accepting and embracing vulnerability for ourselves is the first step to creating a situation where the ultimate collective incentives push towards designing a society where we do not need to fear each other. We can do this unilaterally and force the desired outcome, I think, or we can submit to the defectors and start arming, winning safety in the short run but destroying the incentives for collective disarmament in the long run.

  3. Not that I favor the policy, but I agree Daniel that the reaction is weird. People don't flip out over armed guards at the bank. Is money more important than children?

    1. Rational robbers are more deterable and more common than deranged nutters.

  4. I'm astonished that you're astonished. Anything the NRA said short of endorsing a wide ranging ban on gun ownership was going to get pilloried.

    1. That's a good point. Not astonished by the reaction, perhaps, but very confused by the argument :)

      This is giving them the benefit of the doubt that there is some kind of argument buried underneath the reaction. I might believe they reacted badly simply because it's an overkill policy suggestion... but these are the same people that were so sanguine about the good more gun control would do, and I definitely can't understand how you could think that more gun control would prevent more deaths than this.

  5. How about being outraged because we've tried it and it does not work!? See, e.g., Columbine.

    As we don't live in a movie, I really don't know how the "good guy" with the gun is going to be more accurate/successful than the "bad guy" with the gun, let alone in the right place (unless you are talking about a one classroom school). Second, how often do we hear of the police or other armed individuals accidentally shooting someone who they thought was armed? Even when someone is armed and shooting, it doesn't mean that the "good guy" will get the right person (thankfully this situation didn't turn out worse, but surely others have:

    How do we know that arming more people as guards won't lead to accidentally arming someone who is mentally unstable getting through the screening and shooting people himself? Or simply arming more people and making guns more prevalent could just make it easier for some kid to get access to a gun by stealing it from a guard - including the guard's own kid (i.e., where do you think the guns came from this time around:

    I for one don't believe I'll feel any safer by being surrounded (or having my kids surrounded) by more people with guns.

  6. Part of the problem in America is the view that the solution to violence is more, better, violence - further raising the stakes and creating an environment where violence is an acceptable response. Having armed guards in elementary schools is going to have a real financial cost, is likely to have an emotional cost on the children and is not likely to have much benefit as a defense.

    Your neighbors having guns would not make you safer. You presumably live in a middle class neighborhood. A neighbor with a gun is more likely to kill you with the gun than he is to save your life with his gun.

    For most gun owners, guns are mere toys with a primarily atavistic appeal. The idea that gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights are a defense against tyranny is juvenile fantasy. The whole rhetoric around the Second Amendment is probably a contributing factor to the mental illness and particular delusions of school shooters.


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