Two school shootings. Two completely different outcomes. What made the difference? Blaine Gaskill, a brave, well-trained School Resource Officer (SRO), acted without delay, to stop the shooter. It’s time to place a School Resource Officer (SRO) inside every school in America.
- Armed former student, with long history of mental health issues and problems with law enforcement, whose behavior “was so frightening to teachers that he'd been banned from even carrying a backpack into school,” enters school carrying a black duffle bag and opens fire. SRO stands outside the building and waits. Over 7 ½ minutes, 17 students and faculty members are killed and many are wounded.
- Armed student enters school. Fires first shot. SRO hears shot and in less than one minute, he engages the shooter. SRO kills the shooter. Result: 14-year-old boy wounded, stable condition, 16-year-old girl wounded, critical condition.
Sadly, another school shooting took place at Great Mills High School in Lexington Park, Maryland on Tuesday. Thanks to the immediate reaction of School Resource Officer Blaine Gaskill, who “responded within less than a minute,” the attack was ended quickly. But, considering this was the 17th such event so far this year, "the notion of 'it can't happen here' is no longer a notion."
What is striking about this incident (and many in the mainstream media are referring to this school shooting as an incident) is that because the textbook actions of SWAT-trained Gaskill abruptly ended it before mass casualties were inflicted, the story has faded from the headlines. I had to Google it to find information less than 24 hours after it had occurred. Within a day of last month’s Parkland, FL shootings, everyone knew Nikolas Cruz’s name, face and history. The Great Mills High School shooter’s name and history has not become a national conversation. Nor is his photograph being broadcast all over the media. Simply because the SRO performed his job correctly and prevented what would otherwise have been a tragedy.
And that is as it should be. Schools need to prepare for the possibility of a school shooting; because we now know an attack can happen anywhere. Tweaks in the gun laws will not prevent them. Every school in America must have a thoroughly SWAT-trained SRO on the premises at all times, who will snap into action when prompted. This will stop the attacks sooner and minimize casualties.
The shooter’s intended target was a female student at the school. The school’s armed resource officer (SRO) shot and killed the suspect. Saint Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron gave a news conference this morning. (Please see the video below.)
“A 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl were injured before the shooter was brought down. The unnamed male student is in good condition at a local hospital while the female student’s condition remains unclear.”
“This is what we train for. This is what we prepare for and this is what we pray we never have to do,” Cameron said. “And on this day we realized our worst nightmare, that our greatest assets — our children — were attacked in a bastion of safety and security, one of our schools.”
And while two students were wounded, other than the shooter, none were killed. Blaine Gaskill did what he was hired to do, unlike the SRO at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. Gaskill protected the students. Upon hearing the first shot, he searched for the shooter; he engaged him and he shot him, thus preventing a tragedy of the magnitude of last month’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
It didn’t take long for politician’s to start running their mouths. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who represents the school’s district in Congress, spoke to the press. "We sympathize. We empathize. We have moments of silence. But we don't have action. Wringing our hands is not enough."
Should we pass more gun legislation, Congressman? Maryland already has some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws and they failed to prevent this attack. In fact,
The pro-gun-control Brady Campaign ranks Maryland’s gun laws the seventh-strictest in the country. Following the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, in Newtown, CT, Maryland followed through with tough new gun legislation. The state of Illinois has strict gun laws, as well. Yet, “Chicago and Baltimore had the first and third most murders nationally in 20161."
That tells us all we need to know.
Gun free zones are a target for shooters looking to cause mass casualties. The only solution to the proliferation of school shootings is to harden the targets. This was proven again on Tuesday.
In addition to the presence of a mandatory SRO at every school, several teachers or administrators should carry concealed weapons. I am not suggesting that we arm teachers against their will. But it is likely, that among the members of any random faculty, there are several who are comfortable around firearms and who may even own a gun. These are the ones who should be granted concealed carry licenses. With an armed resource officer, several armed faculty members, and a real-time security camera, school shootings will become a rarity. And if one should occur, it will be stopped before major loss of life occurs.
Critics of armed SROs will point out that there was one present at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the day of the shooting. Unfortunately, this man failed to do his job, likely because of fear. But one SRO’s failure to act cannot be the deciding factor for every other school in America.
In addition to protecting students should a shooting arise, SROs provide many useful services at schools.
“It’s true that an SRO won’t stop every school shooting. But we will never know how many shootings these officers will prevent. SROs don’t just provide physical protection for students from outsiders and each other. They also help to identify bullies in the classroom and online. They are intelligence officers for the precincts where they work: SROs are the first officers their colleagues go to if a crime appears to be juvenile-oriented. In Baltimore County, SROs have helped to solve crimes ranging from homicides to destruction of property.”
“Many SROs go on to teach classes, volunteer in after-school programs, or coach a sports team. They are also recruiters, getting students interested in law enforcement and thinking about careers beyond graduation. They teach students that police are not the enemy. And they help them make smart choices.”
Obviously, the two cases had sharply different outcomes. This can only be attributed to the actions of the two SRO’s involved, the Coward of Broward vs. Blaine Gaskill, the hero.
Because “a good guy with a gun” stopped “a bad guy with a gun” on Tuesday, the mainstream media probably won’t have much to say about this incident. It doesn’t fit their narrative.
However, it cannot be denied that the hardening of a formerly gun-free target saved countless lives in a way that the passing of new gun control measures could never have.
A properly trained SRO must be placed in every school across the nation. Only then will we see a decline in the number of school shootings and if one should occur, we will see a decline in the number of casualties.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook, Google Plus, & Twitter. You can also get Freedom Outpost delivered to your Amazon Kindle device here.