Raleigh, N.C. — The mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., happened hundreds of miles from North Carolina, but it hit close to home for many parents on Friday, especially those with children in elementary school.
“I’ve been crying my eyes out every day,” mother Cheryl Rodgers said. “I pulled my car over at 9:30 today to listen to the chimes and remember all the angels that were lost.”
Like so many in the Triangle, Rodgers observed a national moment of silence Friday morning to remember the 26 killed at Sandy Hook elementary school.
After a week of silence, the National Rifle Association was not lost for words or ideas. The organization held a news conference a short time later to take a no-retreat stance in the face of growing calls for gun control.
“I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation,” said Wayne LaPierre, the group’s chief executive officer.
He said schools across the country should have a plan in place that includes armed security by the time students return from the holiday break.
“They’re our kids,” LaPierre said. “They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them, it’s our right to protect them.”
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the plan is not as simple as it sounds.
“I don’t want to call it knee-jerk, but I think we’re just going to have to take some time because you’re talking about a lot of resources I don’t think we have.”
Parents had mixed reactions.
“Our school alone has many entrances, very quick access to classrooms,” Rodgers said. “So I don’t know where that guard would really do any good.”
Mom Carrie Telke said she could support the idea.
“I think given a choice of having someone come from away or having somebody right there who knew what they were doing and knows how to handle that situation – I think I would choose that.”