As many observers have noted, while the number of school shootings relative to the total population is tiny, in a large country even a tiny number will have a disproportionate impact on the public mind—and also lead to copycats, or even a “contagion” of troubled young people deciding to enter the lists by shooting up a school.
This week’s shooting in Colorado might come to be seen as a turning point in this gruesome phenomenon for the simple reason that students, now encouraged to rush shooters and defend themselves rather than shelter passively in place and wait for police to arrive, did exactly that, and thereby surely reduced the potential carnage. It is tragic that the first student to rush one of the two shooters, Kendrick Castillo, died, but his sacrificial heroism enabled other students to gain the advantage on one of the shooters and prevent mass casualties. (And shouldn’t the school where this took place now be named for Castillo?)
The New York Post offers an account from one of the other students who followed up Castillo’s charge and neutralized the shooter:
Despite his efforts, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo died after throwing himself on the shooter at STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday. Another heroic student, Joshua Jones, suffered two gunshot wounds during the scuffle and is recovering at home.
Bialy, 18, told a packed news conference Wednesday that he felt “absolute fear” at first — but then rushed to help his two classmates subdue the shooter in their 12th-grade English class, according to the Denver Post.
The point is, the prospect of students fighting back immediately against a shooter will introduce an element of uncertainty that may deter, and finally start to reduce, future school shootings.
But that’s not the only remarkable aspect of this latest horror. It was to be expected that the usual dreary, by-the-numbers gun control debate would roll out, and that the left would politicize the incident for partisan purposes, because for the left every tragedy is an opportunity to rerun the Wellstone funeral. (You might even say that for the left, it’s Wellstone funerals all the way down.) But this time a lot of the kids from the school decided they wouldn’t be props for a leftist rally.
USA Today reports:
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. – Students who survived Tuesday’s suburban Denver school shooting walked out of a gun-control rally Wednesday night in anger and tears over concerns the event inappropriately politicized their grief.
While primarily billed as a vigil to honor high school shooting victim Kendrick Castillo, most of the speakers at the 2,000-person rally were politicians and gun-control advocates pushing Congress to change the nation’s gun laws.
After about 30 minutes, hundreds of students from the STEM School stormed out yelling “this is not for us,” “political stunt” and “we are people, not a statement.” . . .
Many students appeared unaware the event was organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Jason Crow, both Democrats, both spoke at length about the need for federal action. The Brady Campaign invited reporters to cover the event.
Here’s my favorite part:
Interview requests made by a USA TODAY reporter were rebuffed; multiple students said they had agreed not to talk to journalists.
Sounds like this high school has some pretty smart kids, who have learned at a young age that most “journalists” are not there to report the news, but to shape it according to a pre-determined narrative. Which is probably not a surprise, since it is an elite STEM school.