delivered 21 December 2012
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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
The National Rifle Association -- four million mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters -- join the nation in horror, outrage, grief, and earnest prayer for the families of Newtown, Connecticut, who have suffered such an incomprehensible loss as a result of this unspeakable crime.
Out of respect for the families and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment. While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectively [sic] silent. Now, we must speak for the safety of our nationís children. Because for all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, no one, nobody has addressed the most important, pressing, and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?
The only way to answer that question is to face the truth. Politicians pass laws for gun free school zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.
How have our nationís priorities gotten so far out of order? Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, court houses, even sports stadiums are all protected by armed security.
We care about our President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers. Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent, and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it, and exploit it.
That must change now.
The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters -- people that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons, that no sane person can every possibly comprehend them. They walk among us every single day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isnít planning his attack on a school heís already identified at this very moment?
How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame from a national media machine that rewards them with wall-to-wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave, while provoking others to try to make their mark? A dozen more killers? A hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill? The fact is this: That wouldnít even begin to address the much larger, more lethal criminal class -- killers, robbers, rapists, gang members who have spread like cancer in every community across our nation.
Meanwhile, while that happens, federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40 percent, to the lowest levels in a decade. So now, due to a declined willingness to prosecute dangerous criminals, violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years. Add another hurricane, terrorist attack, or some other natural or manmade disaster, and youíve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.
And hereís another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games -- with names like "Bullet Storm," "Grand Theft Auto," "Mortal Combat," and "Splatterhouse."
And hereís one: Itís called "Kindergarten Killers." Itís been online for 10 years. How come my research staff can find it, and all of yours couldnít -- or didnít want anyone to know you had found it? Add another hurricane; add another natural disaster -- I mean we have blood-soaked films out there, like "American Psycho," "Natural Born Killers." Theyíre aired like propaganda loops on Splatterdays -- and every single day.
A thousand music videos -- and you all know this -- portray life as a joke and they play murder -- portray murder as a way of life. And then they all have the nerve to call it "entertainment." But is that what it really is? Isnít fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography? In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes -- every minute, every day, every hour, of every single year. A child growing up in America today witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18.1 And, throughout it all, too many in the national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.
Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws, and fill the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action, and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away.
The media calls semi-automatic firearms "machine guns." They claim these civilian semi-automatic firearms are used by the military. They tell us that the .223 round is one of the most powerful rifle calibers, when all of these claims are factually untrue. They donít know what theyíre talking about.
Worse, they perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban or one more law imposed on peaceable, lawful people will protect us where 20,000 other laws have failed. As brave and heroic and as self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms, and as prompt and professional and well-trained as those police were when they responded, they were unable -- through no fault of their own, unable to stop it.
As parents we do everything we can to keep our children safe. Itís now time for us to assume responsibility for our schools.
The only way -- The only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 9-1-1 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or from a minute away?
Now, I can imagine the headlines, the shocking headlines youíll print tomorrow. "More guns," youíll claim, "are the NRAís answer to everything." Your implication will be that guns are evil and have no place in society, much less in our schools.
But since when did the "gun" automatically become a bad word? A gun in the hands of a Secret Service agent protecting our President isn't a bad word. A gun in the hands of a soldier protecting the United States of America isnít a bad word. And when you hear your glass breaking at three a.m. and you call 9/11, you wonít be able to pray hard enough for a gun in the hands of a good guy to get there fast enough to protect you.
So, why is the idea of a gun good when itís used to protect the President of our country or our police, but bad when itís used to protect our children in our schools? Theyíre our kids. Theyíre our responsibility. And itís not just our duty to protect them, itís our right to protect them.
You know, five years ago after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy. But what if -- what if when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, heíd been confronted by qualified armed security? Will you at least admit itís possible that 26 little kids, that 26 innocent lives might have been spared that day? Is it so important to you that would -- that you'd rather continue to risk the alternative? Is the press and the political class here in Washington D.C. so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and American gun owners, that youíre willing to accept the world, where real resistance to evil monsters is alone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life, her life, to shield those children in her care? No one -- No one, regardless of personal, political prejudice has the right to impose that sacrifice.
Ladies and gentlemen, thereís no national one-si[ze]-fits-all solution to protecting our children. But do know that this President zeroed-out school emergency planning grants in last yearís budget and scrapped "Secure Our Schools" policing grants in next yearís budget. With all the foreign aid the United States does, with all the money in the federal budget, canít we afford to put a police officer in every single school? Even if they did that, politicians have no business and no authority denying us the right, the ability, and the moral imperative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm.
Now, the National Rifle Association knows there are millions of qualified and active retired police, active Reserve, and retired military, security professionals, certified firefighters, security professionals, rescue personnel, an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained, qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every single school.
We could deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make Americaís schools safer, relying on the brave men and women in Americaís police forces. The budgets -- and you all know this; everyone in the country knows this -- of our local police departments are strained, and the resources are severely limited, but their dedication and courage is second to none. And, they can be deployed right now.
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.
Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation, or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work -- and by that I mean armed security.
Right now today, every school in the United States should plan meetings with parents, school administrators, teachers, local authorities and draw upon every resource thatís out there and available to erect a cordon of protection around our kids right now. Every school is going to have a different solution based on its own unique situation. Every school in America needs to immediately identify, dedicate and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place, though, right now.
And the National Rifle Association, as Americaís preeminent trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50 years -- we have 11,000 police training instructors in the NRA -- is ready, willing and uniquely qualified to help. Our training programs are the most advanced in the world.
That expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and our children now. We did it for our nationís defense industries and military installations during World War II. We did it for very young kids with our Eddie Eagle child safety program that is throughout the country in schools right now. And weíll do it again today.
The NRA is going to bring all its knowledge, all its dedication and all its resources to develop a model national schools shield emergency response program for every single school in America that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control, to information technology, to student and teacher training, this multifaceted program will be developed by the very best experts in the field.
Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead the effort as national director of the National Model School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as United States attorney, director of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed experts that are available in the United States of America to get this program up and running from the first day forward.
If we truly cherish our kids more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible. And that security is only available with properly trained, armed good guys. Under Asaís leadership, our team of security experts will make this program available for the world, for protecting our children at school. And weíll make their program available to every single school in America free of charge.
Thatís a plan of action that can and will make a real positive, indisputable difference in the safety of our children -- and it will start right now.
Thereís going to be a lot of time for talk and debate later. This is a time, this is a day for decisive action. We canít wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. We canít lose precious time debating legislation that wonít work. We mustnít allow politics or personal prejudice to divide us. We must act now for the sake of every child in America.
I call on every parent. I call on every teacher. I call on every school administrator, every law enforcement officer in this country to join with us and help create a national schools shield safety program to protect our children with the only positive line of defense thatís tested and proven to work.
1 More precisely, simulated murders and violence. See this abstract. See also "Children, Violence and the Media: A Report for Policymakers and Parents" (Senate Judiciary Committee Executive Summary, 1999).
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