The National Rifle Association's proposal to eliminate school shootings by putting an armed guard in every public school was greeted with ridicule when it was unveiled last month. (MoJo was no exception.) After all, armed guards hadn't prevented massacres at Columbine and Virginia Tech, and as I reported on Monday, the push seemed all the more dubious given that the NRA's point man on the issue was on the board of a private security company.
But the NRA may have been on to something—at least insofar as public opinion is concerned. According to a new poll released by Quinnipiac on Thursday, Virginians favor putting armed police officers in schools by a more than two to one margin. The proposal has bipartisan support, with 79 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats backing it.
The most revealing finding in the poll may be this: Although voters broadly favor many forms of gun control—59 percent support banning high-capacity magazines; 62 percent think assault weapons "make the country more dangerous"—most Virginians aren't necessarily prepared to do anything about it. Just 24 percent of those surveyed said that a candidate's position on gun control would be a deal-breaker come election time.
Once a year the Austrian gun manufacturer Glock puts out a glossy, full-color magazine called Glock Autopistol, packed with buyer's guides for new items, like the G22 Gen4 with tactical laser light, and interviews with celebrity endorsers.
It also publishes movie reviews.
"Angelina Jolie sure does love GLOCKs," writer John Fasano gushed in a 2011 wrap-up of movies featuring the company's products. "She lit up the screen with her G18 in the family hit man actioner Mr. & Mrs. Smith and hit last summer's multiplexes as a CIA agent who has to go on the run when she is accused of being a Russian spy in [Evelyn Salt]. Any GLOCK aficionado worth their salt knows that when Angelina shares the scene with the Austrian super gun it's hard to know where to look!"
The company's warm embrace of pulpy action films underscores one of the gun industry's dirty secrets. In the wake of December's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre called body count blockbusters like those praised in Autopistols "the filthiest form of pornography."
Stop me if you've heard this one: Harvard professor goes to Washington and becomes a policy wonk. Harvard professor is nominated for a top agency position. Harvard professor becomes conservative bogeyman. Harvard professor returns to Massachusetts and runs for office.
Elizabeth Warren? Nope, Donald Berwick. The Boston Globereported on Wednesday that the former head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is mulling a run for governor when term-limited Democrat Deval Patrick retires in 2014:
Berwick ran the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is one of the nation’s leading experts on health cost and quality. Obama installed him using a recess appointment in 2010, but Berwick resigned in late 2011 when Republicans made clear they would strongly oppose his confirmation. At the time, the height of the national debate over Obama’s health care overhaul, Republicans accused Berwick of wanting to ration services, a charge he called a mischaracterization.
Berwick, a Newton pediatrician and longtime Harvard faculty member whose wife is the chairwoman of the department of public utilities in the administration of Governor Deval Patrick, said he has been contemplating a run for the past two or three months, meeting with 40 or 50 people, including political veterans and consultants. He did not give a time frame for a final decision, but said it would be soon, after he meets with more people.
If Republicans thought blocking their appointments would keep Berwick and Warren out of public policy, they may have miscalculated.
In November of 2011, the South Florida chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations wrote to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) to ask him to denounce Pamela Geller, a blogger and friend of West's whose writing on Islam has been classified as "hate speech" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Instead, West, a notorious critic of Islam, wrote back with the one-word response you see above: "Nuts!"—a reference to Americans General Anthony McAuliffe's message to the Germans at Bastogne.
The Miami New-Timescalled the letter "the dumbest thing ever written on congressional stationery," which is something we can debate, but it's almost certainly the most Allen West thing ever written on congressional stationary.
So now that CAIR's biggest antagonist has been forced into early retirement (effective last week), how is the organization coping? By putting the letter on eBay, apparently:
Up for Auction is one of the shortest Congressional Letters ever written in US History! This is the ORIGINAL LETTER on Official US Congressional Stationary signed by Allen West himself!This item has something for everyone. It doesn't matter if you are a die-hard member of the Tea Party, Democratic Party, or protect the Civil Rights of Americans; this item is perfect for your collection.
Tea Party- This letter is signed by your fearless Rock Star! If you win this auction you will have signed documented proof that Allen West stood up in the face of your “EVIL” to protect the US (A "Judeo-Christian" Nation) from the Muslims. Your collection can’t go without this item.
Members of the Democratic Party- This letter represents the accomplishment of Democratic Party’s victory over Allen West. Allen West’s firebrand of politics often came with blanket insults towards Democrats with no regard of Congressional Fellowship or Respect. Vice-President Biden recently thanked Murphy at a rooftop party for running and defeating Allen West...
Protectors of Civil Rights- As you are well aware Allen West represented the antithesis of equality and fair treatment of ALL AMERICANS. If you were not part of his narrative or didn't agree with him you were a threat to our “Gene Pool”. J Bid on this letter today as a sign of your commitment to protect ALL Americans Civil Rights. If you win this Auction you will have a little piece of US History and proof that Equality is not negotiable !
The letter is currently going for $1,575. Bidding ends January 17. Steadfast and Loyal.
Private security firm Securitas touts the effectiveness of Segway guards in educational settings.
At a no-questions press conference in late December following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre announced a bold new multibillion-dollar proposal to end school shootings: Put an armed security guard or police officer in every school in the country. LaPierre commissioned a special task force to develop the plan, and deputized Asa Hutchinson, a former Republican congressman from Arkansas and director of the Drug Enforcement Agency under President George W. Bush, to head the effort.
But there's something the LaPierre didn't mention: Hutchinson sits on the board of directors of Pinkerton Government Services, a subsidiary of one of the nation's largest private security contractors, Securitas. And if the NRA's—and Hutchinson's—proposals are enacted into law, Securitas, a firm Hutchinson once lobbied for in Washington, could stand to score big.