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After the shooting in Newtown that left 20 elementary school students dead, the National Rifle Association responded with a proposal for what it called National School Shield program. The idea, said the organization's leader, Wayne LaPierre, was that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." The shield program aimed to put an armed guard in every elementary school in the country to protect children from the next deranged killer.
The Navy Yard shooting exposes a fallacy in that argument. A military facility, the Navy Yard had plenty of good guys with weapons who were nonetheless were unable to stop Aaron Alexis, the alleged shooter, from killing a dozen innocent persons. In the coming weeks, we'll learn more about Navy Yard security and how Alexis was able to thwart it. (We'll also learn more about how he obtained his arms, but let's leave that aside for now.)
True, the Navy Yard is not a heavily armed facility. It's not like, say, walking into a military base in the U.S. let alone onto a war zone. But neither was it the kind of gun-free school zone that the NRA has described as an inviting target for crazed shooters. It was at least as heavily armed as we can expect any elementary school could ever be under the National School Shield program. And yet, carnage.