by Max Brantley
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.Got it. Hutchinson is using his prominence in Arkansas and as NRA shill to break into the largest newspaper in the state with a message that could conceivably mean huge amounts of work for an industry that employs him.
Hutchinson's private security connections were first reported by Sally Jo Sorensen of the progressive blog Bluestem Prairie. As Sorensen noted, Securitas paid Hutchinson and the firm he worked for, Venable LLC, $200,000 for lobbying services in 2006. (Hutchinson also lobbied on behalf of Point Blank Body Armor in 2007 and 2008.)
Over the last three weeks, Hutchinson has made an evolving case for LaPierre's agenda in a series of interviews and op-eds. After first suggesting that it might be possible to staff schools with armed volunteers, he offered a pricier proposal in an op-ed for the Arkansas Democrat–Gazette on Friday: "A part of this solution will be the increased presence of trained, armed and professional security officers in schools."
"I am not aware that PGS provides any school security services," he said in an email. "I have no connection to Securitas as I am a proxy board member under Department of Defense guidelines to assure that there is no foreign influence or control over PGS. There are some very specific legislative and regulatory requirements in reference to my work as a proxy board member."
Oh, but PGS DOES have a subsidiary that trains security officers of all kinds. And its mother company DOES provide security guards at hundreds of schools. Coincidentally.
…there's also little evidence that armed guards are an effective deterrent to school shooters. Columbine High School had an armed guard in 1999 when two shooters murdered 12 students and a teacher. Virginia Tech had the equivalent to a SWAT team on campus in 2007, when a gunman killed 32 students and injured 17 others. The NRA has also run into opposition from unlikely allies like the American Federation of Teachers and NRA-endorsed Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).