When a Headline doesn’t Comport with Content (WS on Gregory v. LaPierre on MTP)

Daniel Halper has a post up at The Weekly Standard entitled Gregory Mocks LaPierre for Proposing Armed Guards, but Sends Kids to High-Security School.

The two quotes from the interview that Halper uses are as follows:

"You proposed armed guards in school. We’ll talk about that in some detail in a moment. You confronted the news media. You blamed Hollywood and the gaming industry. But never once did you concede that guns could actually be part of the problem. Is that a meaningful contribution, Mr. LaPierre, or a dodge?," asked Gregory.


Later the host suggested that guns don’t prevent violence in schools (he cited the mass shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech). "But you would concede that, as good as an idea as you think this is, it may not work. Because there have been cases where armed guards have not prevented this kind of massacre, this kind of carnage. I want you would concede that point, wouldn’t you?," Gregory pleaded.

The piece then notes that Gregory’s kids go to the Sidwell Friends school, which has a security staff.

Does this make Gregory a hypocrite? Nothing in the quotes (which I assume are the ones that best represent Halper’s position) above suggest that Gregory rejects armed guards at schools, yet they don’t. Indeed, I do not recall any such claims in the interview (which I watched in its entirety yesterday, although I did not reread the transcript in its entirety for this post). As such, I see no evidence for hypocrisy here.

What I see is an attempt to get LaPierre to consider that there might be additional policy prescriptions beyond just armed guards (or hand waving about violent movies, etc.).  Indeed, what I saw from LaPierre in this interview (which is what I saw in his press conference that my co-blogger, Doug Mataconis* called a “Bizarre Response to the Sandy Hook Shootings“) is an utter unwillingness to even discuss reasonable policies related to guns themselves.

The bottom line of that interview is that when asked “Is there any new gun regulation that you could support?” there was nothing but dodge in response, because the clear answer is “no” and the only solution that LaPierre and his organization favors on this topic is more guns.  There was also much in terms of assertions about regulation don’t work, but the comparative evidence suggests otherwise.

There is also, I would note, a discussion to be had about the role of armed guards in schools.   Many schools do, in fact, have armed guards, but they are not there to prevent mass shootings, but for other security concerns, such as students brining weapons to campus.  This is a rather different mission.  Pretending that one lone guard per school is a deterrent to someone bent on mass murder is debatable.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Sidwell Friends is the school of choice for the kids of presidents, foreign ambassadors and other high-value targets for kidnappers or terrorists. Of course they have security. The Weekly Standard is being deliberately obtuse, which I seem to recall is their mission statement.

  2. The Q says:

    This whole, “we can’t do anything about gun violence – there’s too many guns already in America…criminals will always have them’ etc – could have been said 25 years ago about AIDS victims – “forget it, he’ll be dead in 5 years” – or the Russians in East Europe ‘”marxist autocracies are incapable of democracy” or having real life Dick Tracy type wrist phones – “no way can you get a phone that small” or electing a black President named Hussein….all pipe dreams a few decades ago.

    Yet, those realities came to pass, through enlightenment, struggle, sacrifice and vision.

    The gun freaks offer none of that, only the empty screeching of lunatics wedded in goose-step to the mantra that guns don’t kill people, and, in point of fact, engage in the obtuse logic that more guns are needed to ensure less guns are needed.

    Just glance at that tortuous 30 some back and forth between Matt and John over picayune details of what constitutes the chamber modifications needed to substitute differing rounds in the same rifle and the pedantic impatience these gun freaks have when someone mistakes automatic with semi automatic or mislabels an “assault” rifle.

  3. miguel cervantes says:

    No, actually, practically every major anti gun activist in media, have private bodyguards, but they want to disarm citizenx, also more often then not they are the first to criticize law enforcement in NY, LA, Miami, et al,

  4. The Q says:

    Gun freaks conflate gun “control” with “disarming” citizens. Its like conflating a speed limit with taking away automobiles.

    And just about every police chief in America is for gun control and banning assault weapons. Do they hate LE too? Or are you just a crazy SOB engaging in total lunacy?

    Answer the last question first please..

  5. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I guess some of the animals are more equal that others. You can justify armed security for the president and the vice president but if the government wants to ban guns for everyone then the family members of leaders should have the follow the same rules that are being proposed for everyone else.

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Obviously, the only people entitled to be protected by guns are the rich and powerful, who can hire pros to do their dirty work. Those who can’t afford more than DIY security simply aren’t important enough to have such rights.

    I’d never realized that the 2nd Amendment was the exclusive property of the 1%.

  7. David says:

    I love how discussion of reasonable regulation of guns automatically means banning guns. Project much?

  8. Richard Gardner says:

    The NRA comments are inane (I see this on par with the militarization of the police across America). But as a former nuclear warrior, I wonder if the the concepts of deterrence might not have some applicability, at least to reduce the numbers (tough to quantify, but we haven’t have a wartime nuclear explosion since 1945 (the poisoning of the countryside is a totally different issue)). If you have the ambiguity whether school staff (principal, cook or janitor (or even a teacher, gun locked in a desk)) might be armed, could it provide deterrence? Right now they are a flock of geese surrounded by a fence, with an opening for the wolf.

    You are not going to magically get rid of guns. The question is what can be done to reduce the risk of a school shooting.

  9. Console says:

    @Richard Gardner:

    I’m not sure how much deterrence can seriously exist for people on suicide missions…

  10. Richard Gardner says:

    And do you have a better solution? Rational actors, irrational actors. I’ve even seen stupid stuff blaming Pres. Reagan (like he was responsible to the movie “One Flew over the Cookoo’s Nest” ). [This movie is often seen as The ultimate Hollywood corruption].

  11. superdestroyer says:


    the progressies would ban guns if they could. If others did not resist the left, guns would have already been banned. The idea that if the federal government passes a few more gun laws, progressives would be content and accept that maybe there are other causes of crime except guns is laughable.

    Progressives have basically forced the NRA and others to resist everything because the left will not settle for anything but a total gun ban.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    “…Progressives have basically forced the NRA and others to resist everything because the left will not settle for anything but a total gun ban…”

    What nonsense. If your opinion is based on total BS…then your opinion is total BS.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Progressives have basically forced the NRA and others to resist everything because the left will not settle for anything but a total gun ban.

    Says the man who can not say, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” By resisting any and all regulation, the NRA has become irrelevant to the discussion. As a life time gun owner, I long ago realized that the NRA is completely whacked out. A LE buddy of mine had it with them when they came out in favor of armor piercing ammo. Etc, etc etc.

  14. matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Once again spouting off about stuff that you don’t have any real knowledge of. The NRA opposed the original “cop killer” bill because not only would it of banned some handgun ammo it was so vague that most rifle ammo would of been banned too.

    The NRA in response proposed effective sane legislation that wasn’t so badly written as to ban most ammo. That bill was passed as HR 3132


    This of course had the side effect of banning some imported ammo because they used a steel core (especially the Russian ammo).

    You probably don’t even remember how law enforcement told NBC to not air the original piece because it gave away that police were using body armor and that the AP rounds even existed for law enforcement. Once again a classic case of ratings taking precedent over the safety of others.

    EDIT : Thanks to the media and gun control nuts the only thing people remember is that the NRA opposed banning “cop killer” bullets. Few people have the time to actually find out what happened.

    EDIT 2 : Oh BTW not one cop was killed with “cop killer” ammo…

  15. anjin-san says:

    the exclusive property of the 1%.

    Don’t tell me conservatives are tilting against government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. Geeze dude, you have been groveling at the feet of the elite for a long time. Suddenly you are thinking about standing up?

  16. anjin-san says:

    could it provide deterrence?

    I don’t think someone who is psychotic enough to shoot up a school full of children is going to be deterred by the possibility of armed opposition. If anything, it probably feeds into the delusion that got him to the point of violence in the first place.

  17. matt says:

    @anjin-san: I don’t think they’ll be deterred by adding more laws either..

  18. Andre Kenji says:

    Sorry, folks, there is another problem here. Living in Brazil, the fact is that if you go to any commercial place that´s aimed to people that have higher income that means that you´ll find plenty of security guards. Many of them. This week I visited a new mall in suburb of São Paulo, there was something like ten, twenty of them all over the building. I thought that to be intimidating, almost annoying.

    These guards can be nice people, they can be well trained, they can be unarmed. They can open the door for you. That´s still annoying and intimidating. Demanding this kind of security to schools is insanity.

  19. superdestroyer says:


    If gun laws had not been resisted in the past, there would be no private ownership of guns. Just look at how progressives took the side of the District of Columiba in the Heller case. Progressives all argued that there was no right to the private ownership of guns and that states could have whatever laws they want as far as guns go. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller#Amicus_curiae_briefs

    Anyone who believes that people like the Brady organization will be happy with less than a total ban on gun ownership is a fool.

  20. C. Clavin says:

    So now the Brady Organization represents all Progressives.
    Shorter SuperDuperDestroyer…If the facts don’t fit your story…change the facts.

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Since no progressive organization has every criticized the Brady organization, then yes, progressives must agree with the idea of banning guns for all but the private security of the elites.