Yesterday I wrote about the shooting at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy.
My step son was a student there last year. I knew the landscape. I had dropped him off numerous times. My wife and I went to the open house, then to the honors ceremony. So I sat and watched the events unfold, feeling an odd sense deja vu.
I pictured a sloppy drunk with an old 38. Someone inherently harmless. Maybe that’s a defense mechanism. Maybe I did it because I didn’t want to go down that rabbit hole that would end with nightmares about Sandy Hook.
Well, the gunman’s name is Michael Brandon Hill. He’s 20, mentally ill and he was very heavily armed.
Normally you have to be buzzed into the school, but Hill slipped in behind a parent. He was armed with an AK 47, with other weapons in his backpack. He expressed that he was ready to die, and kill. And to prove his point he opened fire on the police from inside of the school.
Antoinette Tuff kept her cool. When he began to go into the area where the children were, she got his attention. And they talked. He told her that his life was over. She told him about how she had gone through her own challenges. By the end of the dialogue, she had managed to get him to put down the weapon. She even helped him surrender. A lot of people own their lives to Antoinette Tuff, including Brandon Michael Hill.
Our schools are full of heroes like her. I know this because my mother worked in the school systems of Philadelphia, first as a teacher then as a Principal. I know because I was a teacher myself, for a short time.
A lot of people are pushing to have teachers and administrators armed. But what would the outcome have been if a gun battle had taken place. Picture a social studies teacher with a nine millimeter, standing beside the gym teacher with his 357, squared off against a well prepared crazy person. All I see is three times the bullets flying through the air.
In this case, at least, more weapons in the hands of non law enforcement individuals would only have complicated and perhaps escalated matters. People who work at schools eventually become masters of conflict resolution. And in this case, those skills, not marksmanship, are what saved lives.
You can see my previous post here.