The Maroon

Column: Fewer guns, more counseling

STEWART SINCLAIRE

The Maroon

STEWART SINCLAIRE

STEWART SINCLAIR

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After the shooting in Newtown, CEO of the NRA Wayne LaPierre kept quiet for two weeks. This silence was a sign to many that the organization knew whatever response they gave was going to be criticized and that they had to tread lightly.

When LaPierre finally found his voice, he said that the solution was placing armed guards in primary and secondary schools. No one was surprised by this proposal, but can one really argue that an armed guard would not have the potential to stop someone like Adam Lanza?

I can’t justify that argument. I can’t say armed guards will not limit the potential for mass shootings. But let me tell you why LaPierre’s solution repulses me.

Lawrence “Larry” Forbes King was adopted as a child and was diagnosed with ADHD and reactive detachment disorder. By third grade he was already being bullied for being openly gay and for his effeminacy.

After several more troubled years he transferred to E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif., not far from where I grew up. It was 2008, and Larry came to school wearing make-up and high-heeled shoes or other women’s clothing regularly. He liked to tease and flirt with a boy named Brandon McInerny, a child from another troubled home, whose father beat his mother and is on the record for shooting his wife in the arm with a .45 caliber pistol.

Apparently McInerny was offended by King’s advances, and one day McInerny withdrew a .22 calibre pistol from his backpack and shot King twice in the back of the head. McInerny dropped the gun on the floor and was apprehended by the police seven minutes later, five blocks away. King died after two weeks on life support.

These one-to-one crimes of passion constitute the vast majority of school shootings nationwide. The issues wrapped up within them reflect the racial, social and class lines within the community. What McInerny did was vicious and cold-blooded, but does that mean the proper response involved an armed guard firing additional bullets into a crowd of screaming kids? Would shooting McInerny be considered an appropriate response?

Armed guards might deter psychotic aggressors, but more often than not, a school guard’s target will be one of the students. I don’t want to cultivate this culture of fear in our public schools. McInerny and King didn’t need bodyguards. They needed social workers and counselors.

Stewart Sinclair can be reached at [email protected]

 

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