The National Rifle Association's proposal to put armed guards in every single school in America was unimaginably tone-deaf, but it's not unimaginable. After a public outcry for security, we've had a massive nationwide effort to hire thousands of security agents for low wages relatively recently. You might know it as the Transportation Security Administration, which recruited 45,000 security screeners in response to Sept. 11. You know, the people who are supposed to prevent terrorists from boarding planes but are better known for making a lady drink her own breast milk to prove it wasn't explosive.
The NRA is essentially proposing hiring a workforce of security agents even larger than the TSA's screeners — there are roughly 99,000 schools in the country — and tasking them with monitoring every single person who passes through the halls. Except these agents will also have guns. "If it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," the NRA's Wayne LaPierre said on Meet the Press. Anyone with familiarity with government hiring practices might use that word.
Set aside the question of whether armed school guards would prevent tragedies like the Newtown shooting (Jeffrey Goldberg makes the case that armed civilians would make schools safer in The Atlantic; others point to the presence of an armed sheriff's deputy at Columbine). And set aside the cost (the NRA suggested it would cost only $2 billion to $3 billion a year; The Atlantic's Matt O'Brien estimated it would cost about $4 billion). Let's just focus on human resources. "A part of this solution will be the increased presence of trained, armed and professional security officers in schools," Asa Hutchinson, the former congressman pushing this idea for the NRA, wrote in an op-ed. O'Brien estimates the government would need to find about 65,000 guards (a third of schools already have some kind of security guards) to get an armed security officer in every school. Can you name a time when the government hired 65,000 trained, professional anyone, let alone armed security officers?