Last month after the elementary school massacre in Connecticut, Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s vice president and CEO, called for armed cops in public schools.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said, a line that sounds stolen from the synopsis of any Clint Eastwood western.
He said Congress should appropriate money for armed security for every public school in America. There are roughly 99,000 of those, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, not counting 33,000 or so private and parochial schools.
This raises some practical questions. To consider them, let’s take a single school — Patrick Henry High in Roanoke. That happens to be Wayne LaPierre’s alma mater. He was in the class of ’67.
How many cops would be required to ensure no massacres at Patrick Henry? Is that even possible? What would the cost be?
To get some answers I contacted Roanoke Police Chief Chris Perkins, Richard Rife, the architect who designed the school, and Joseph LaSorsa, an Arlington-based security expert.
The school has changed greatly since LaPierre’s days there. Back then, it a one-story, much more spread out campus of more than a dozen buildings.
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