Have you heard about this? No? How is that possible? After all, we have so many news organizations that should be thrilled and eager to report that a planned school shooting was foiled because–wait for it!—everyone did what they were supposed to do.
The story: Someone driving past by the Walnut Park Elementary School in Gadsden, Alabama saw a man trying to get into the school and looking into cars. The citizen called the police to report what he saw. The man was aggressively trying to get into the school building, and went to several doors, all of which were locked, but the principal, once he was alerted to the threat, checked the doors to make sure. The school administrators then declared a lockdown and called the school resource officer, who called for back-up. The officer reportedly engaged the would-be invader, who allegedly attempted to break into a marked police vehicle and to take the officer’s gun. More police officers arrived on the scene and the individual was shot and killed.
- This episode doesn’t “prove” anything, though the conservative media is already claiming it does. Yes, in this case everything worked, the right people were in the right places at the right time, and it is a useful contrast with the fiasco in Uvalde.
- Regarding pro- and anti-gun control arguments, however, the episode has limited value. One cannot blame the massacre in Uvalde on the failures of the police and the school. Full responsibility belongs, first of all, on the shooter.
- The episode in Alabama should prompt exactly the same kind of intense examination in the absence of casualties as the Uvalde tragedy did. Will it? I have no idea. My guess is that police and investigators won’t spend much time looking at the reasons a shooting might have happened when it didn’t. I can’t even be certain from the linked news story if the man involved had a gun. His name was Robert Tyler White and he was 32-years-old. I couldn’t determine from reports whether he was white or black, because the four news stories with photos disagreed. White’s brother said he was “a little off” and might have been trying to get shot, as in a “suicide by cop.”
But did he try to get a gun? Is so, why wasn’t he successful? Would any “red flag laws” have stopped him, if he was trying to shoot up a school?
- It is as important to understand the cases where tragedy is averted as it is to dissect the episodes where one or more systems and safeguards fail. How often do the systems work? This is a big country: focusing on the mass shootings only while ignoring the tragedies that never come to fruition is inherently misleading.
- But, as they say, if it bleeds, it leads. The Alabama non-shooting has received very little publicity, for a good reason: not much happened, and a bad one: the news media is determined to push the Left’s anti-gun agenda, and this doesn’t advance that objective.
- Unlike most of the national media I’ve checked, the Washington Post at least covered the incident. It also posted the story as “national news.” good for the Post. The Post also published the Justice Kavanaugh assassination attempt as “local news.”
In related news, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo told The Texas Tribune that he did not consider himself to be the commanding officer on the scene that day.
You know, laws won’t stop human beings from doing wrongful and terrible things by themselves. Somebody has to enforce them. Here’s The Federalist’s take:
It turns out we don’t need celebrity lectures and sweeping gun control to keep schoolchildren safe. We just need locked doors and adults who do their dang jobs.
But “just” having systems work as designed is not as simple as it seems. It is disingenuous to claim otherwise.