COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., December 15, 2013 — On Friday at about 12:33pm, a student armed with a shotgun, a machete and Molotov cocktails entered the Arapahoe High School building, looking for the librarian. He fired several rounds from the shotgun, one hitting senior Claire Davis in the head.
Davis remains in critical condition.
An Arapahoe County sheriff’s deputy who was working as a school resource officer ran from the cafeteria to the sound of the shots in the library, accompanied by a school security officer and two administrators. According to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, “The deputy was yelling for people to get down and identified himself as a county deputy sheriff. We know for a fact that the shooter knew that the deputy was in the immediate area and, while the deputy was containing the shooter, the shooter took his own life.”
The shooter was a member of the school’s debate team and speculation is that his motive may have been disciplining he received from the librarian in September. The librarian is the coach of the debate team. When the firing started, janitor Fabian Llerenas called security and whisked the faculty member out of the building.
“In my opinion, that was the most important tactical decision that could have been made,” Robinson said. The faculty member “left that school in an effort to try to encourage the shooter to also leave the school.”
The incident was over in less than two minutes.
It follows the pattern of the Clackamas Mall, Oregon shooting on December 11, 2012. In that case, a gunman opened fire in the mall, killing three. Concealed-carry permit holder Nick Meli pulled his firearm but did not fire, seeing someone else in the line of fire. The shooter saw him, however, and used his next shot to kill himself.
These young men who enter crowded and undefended locations armed with a variety of weapons and with evil intent are cowards. Faced with even the least bit of resistance, they fold. At Sandy Hook Elementary, three days after the Clackamas shooting, the shooter also took his own life. The critical difference at Sandy Hook was that there was no one on-site to respond instantly to the threat. Police arrived approximately 10 minutes after the firing began.
When seconds count, the police are minutes away.
In Colorado this past spring, radical Democrats in the legislature, supported and funded by gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg, used the tragedy at Sandy Hook to impose new gun control legislation on law abiding citizens. A Republican-sponsored amendment to allow teachers and administrative staff to be armed was defeated along a party line vote.
Clearly these new laws did nothing to prevent the shooting at Arapahoe High school; perhaps that was not even the intent.
While gun control advocates use school shootings as a reason to limit the self-defense options of law-abiding citizens, sheriffs and police departments study the facts of these incidents and have developed better tactics to deal with them.
Sheriff Robinson credited the training and quick response of the on-scene deputy with preventing more deaths. Police across the country have developed “active shooter” training in which responding officers rush toward gunfire to stop the gunman. Previously, they would have set up a perimeter to contain the gunman and waited for SWAT teams to arrive. That might work well for a bank robber holding hostages but not for someone determined to cause maximum mayhem.
The problem of this kind of mass violence go well beyond the weapons used to inflict it or the tactics to contain it. People who grow up knowing that murder is wrong don’t commit these sort of crimes.
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