Tuesday morning’s school shooting at Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland is over. One 16-year-old girl was critically wounded and one 14-year-old boy was struck but is in good condition. The only fatality was the shooter, a 17-year-old male student who was shot by a heroic armed school resource officer, Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, who heard the shots and responded immediately. The motive isn’t clear, and it isn’t yet known whether the shooter left any warning signs on social media, but there are indications of a prior relationship between him and the female victim.
While we all pray for the full recovery of the victims, it is worth noting what was different and similar about this attack that resulted in only two students injured and the shooter dead, and the attack in Parkland, Florida, where the shooter survived after killing 17 people and wounding 17 more.
First of all, Maryland has some of the toughest gun laws in the US – a state ban on “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines, background checks, etc. – none of which prevented a 17-year-old from obtaining a Glock. So both were well-armed. This is just a guess, but I’m going to assume the teen wasn’t an NRA member, since no mass school shooter has ever been an NRA member. So what was the big difference that ended the attack quickly and prevented more loss of life?
The obvious difference is that an armed security officer was inside the school and ran toward the shots, instead of hiding behind a police car and “securing the perimeter.” His swift action to stop the assault was followed quickly by a mass response by police and emergency crews. St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said, "This is what we train for. This is what we prepare for and this is what we pray we never have to do. And on this day we realized our worst nightmare that our greatest asset — our children — were attacked in a bastion of safety and security, one of our schools."
But unlike in Broward County, Florida, the sheriff of St. Mary’s County can take pride in knowing that their schools are a bastion of safety and security because they’ve taken real, concrete steps to make them so. There’s always more that can be done – maybe a metal detector would have discouraged the shooter from trying to bring in a gun at all. But in a world where too many young people have lost their moral compasses and are bent on doing evil, when prevention is impossible, we have to be prepared for preemption This school and its armed resource officer were.
If that sort of protection is good enough for our politicians and celebrities, many of whom are still denouncing the idea of armed guards in schools while surrounded by armed guards themselves, why isn’t it good enough for all our children?
PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW. I READ THEM!