The Bush administration went into its public relations mode again last week in its hastily called conference on armed mayhem in the nation's schools.
The president put in a cameo appearance, but that was it. There was no discussion of the real problemtoo many guns in the hands of out-of-control youngsters and crazy adults. Period.
Of course, the subject of gun control was not on the agenda. To no one's surprise, the money and influence of the National Rifle Association were evident. The NRA had nothing to worry about, given today's climate of fear about confronting it on any limitation on firearms.
Members of both parties, but especially Republicans, are frightened of the NRA, especially in an election year when money is distributed to the chosen ones.
Whenever any bold politician tackles the issue, the NRA screams "confiscation." When there is any attempt to reduce the mountain of weapons, it fights back. In the horrific murder of the Amish schoolchildren in Pennsylvania, the crazed killer had an arsenal of guns and was prepared for a siege.
However, limiting guns is a taboo subject in the White House and Congress. We certainly don't want to offend the NRA.
Margaret Spellings, the secretary of education, ripped a PBS program about an animated rabbit visiting a lesbian couple with children. She was afraid of the "lifestyle " message sent to children.
What about guns, Ms. Spellings? (Incidentally, as we know from Frank Rich's column in the New York Times, the vice president's daughter has written a book in praise of that lifestyle. Talk about a mixed message.)
The bottom line here is that gun control is off the table in the United States. The easy access to guns continues while youngsters and teachers are killed in the cities and in rural areas. One suggested solution was to arm the teachers. That would be idiotic.
Until we demonstrate that the NRA does not control Washington, the situation may only get worse.