For us in Oregon, the tragic events in Connecticut last Friday were unfathomable, especially as it came on the heels of the local tragedy in Clackamas. We join the rest of the country in mourning all of the victims, and our hearts go out to all of the families whose lives have been changed forever.
It’s also impossible for us to ignore some of the worst responses that have come from some politicians looking to score points in the wake of the tragedy. Unfortunately, one of the worst reactions has come from right here in Oregon.
Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) created a national outcry when he sent an email to school superintendents saying that the tragedy was “another heart breaking failure of school personnel to ensure the protection of innocent children and adults.”
Just hours after educators in Sandy Hook gave up their lives to save their kids, Rep. Richardson was calling their heroic actions a “failure… to ensure the protection of innocent children.”
Gawker called Richardson’s statement a contender for “Most Inappropriate Reaction” to the shooting.
Even worse, Richardson boasts that if he had been at the school with his gun, “most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide.” (See the text of his full email here.)
So how does Richardson suggest we prevent future tragedies? By putting even more guns in schools. His big idea is to arm teachers so they can engage in shootouts with criminals in the halls of elementary schools. That’s the kind of scene that only works in Hollywood, or in the minds of people like Richardson.
As police officers and other first responders know, these emergencies don’t play out like the self-aggrandizing action movie fantasy that exists in Richardson’s head.
Medford Police Chief Tim George has already called Richardson’s proposal a bad idea: “In crisis situations there are a lot of very complex things happening all at once and you have to constantly train for deadly force incidents.”
“We want teachers to concentrate on keeping kids and themselves safe,” George added.
Richardson, best known in Oregon for sending political spam emails to more than a half-million email addresses he got from state agencies, wants to hear from you. So send him an email and let him know what you think of his comments and his proposal to put more guns on school campuses: Rep.DennisRichardson@state.or.us