The recent Reynolds High School shooting in Troutdale, Oregon proves two things about gun control: good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns, and gun free zones do not prevent shootings.
Following the Reynolds High School shooting, the usual anti-gun rights activists, liberal politicians and mainstream media talking heads are regurgitating the same-old talking points they always do. However, there are two important points that we all should take away that will likely be missed: armed guards – armed “good guys” – do indeed stop shootings and save lives, and gun free zones do not stop shootings.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the NRA advocated the use of armed personnel, in whatever form any particular school district deemed appropriate – police, retired law enforcement, or armed faculty and staff. Liberals lost their collective minds over the suggestion, and the NRA was severely criticized by liberals, mainstream media, and anti-gun organizations. However in practice, schools do just that, utilizing armed law enforcement on campuses across our nation. According to the Department of Justice, nearly 17,000 officers from almost half of police and one-third of sheriff departments serve as School Resource Officers (SROs) in roughly half of all schools. And since Newtown, some districts have also opted for school staff to be armed.
Like the school shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado last year that was stopped in “less than 80 seconds” because of the rapid response by the armed sheriff deputy officer stationed at that school, the shooting at Reynolds High school was stopped short by two armed SROs. In both incidents, only one student was murdered by the shooter; in both incidents the shooter, a student, committed suicide once pinned down by armed officers.
Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson said the shooter at Reynolds High School killed a fellow student in the locker room. He then shot and wounded a coach, Mr. Rispler, who fled and initiated the school’s lockdown procedure. Wearing a non-ballistic vest used for carrying ammunition and a multi-sport helmet, the shooter moved down the hallway where he encountered and exchanged gunfire with Troutdale Police officers, who were closing in on him from two separate hallways. He then moved into a separate, smaller bathroom where he took his own life.
The shooter was armed with an AR-15 rifle, along with nine magazines of ammunition, loaded with several hundred rounds (likely 270 rounds: nine magazines at 30 rounds capacity each). It is for this reason Anderson said the fast response by Troutdale Police school resource officers saved many lives:
I cannot emphasize enough the role that Mr. Rispler and the responding officers played in saving many, many lives. Given the weapons and amount of ammunition that the shooter was carrying, the early notification and the initial law enforcement response were critical.Reynolds is the state’s second-largest high school with 2,800 students.
Though the loss of one life was tragic, it could have been much worse if not for the rapid response. Police said they had uncovered no connection between the murdered student and the shooter; it is unlikely that the shooter intended to kill only one student. Police at both Arapahoe and Reynolds schools emphasized the rapid response of armed officers stationed on-site. Police also emphasized school lockdown drills after both shootings. Armed good guys, it seems, do stop tragedies short and save lives.
The other takeaway that should be painfully obvious, is that gun free zone signs do not stop shootings. How many more concrete examples do we need before we recognize this obvious truth? Gun free zones are an utter failure as a policy to make people “more safe,” as they are intended. The Aurora, Colorado movie theater, Virginia Tech, Seattle Pacific University, Arapahoe High School, Columbine High School, Reynolds High School, Fort Hood, and the Washington Naval Yard shootings all took place in so-called “gun free zones.” Indeed every shooting in a so-called “gun free zone” further makes the case against gun free zones. Laws and signs do not self-enforce, which is why we have law enforcement officers. Perhaps is it time to stop advertising that our children’s schools (and movie theaters and military bases) are free-fire victim zones, and end gun free zones.
By Matt MacBradaigh. Matt is a Christian, Husband, Father, Patriot, and Conservative from the Pacific Northwest. Matt writes about the Second Amendment, Gun Control, Gun Rights, and Gun Policy issues and is published on The Bell Towers, The Brenner Brief, PolicyMic. TavernKeepers, and Vocativ.
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