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A tale of two school shootings

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, you are no doubt aware there was a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day. In that instance, things went about as wrong as they could have and 17 kids died. The shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, had tripped warnings for years. No one in authority took action. He had been recommended for commitment. Since the shooting his younger brother has been committed for acting up at the same school. Insanity runs in the family. The FBI got a tip on the shooter but failed to act on it. Somehow Cruz was able to buy an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle known to the media as an ‘˜assault rifle’, and a bunch of ammo and went on his deadly rampage. A Broward County deputy in the school when Cruz started shooting cowered in a hallway. Three more hid behind cars in the parking lot with guns drawn but not engaging. None of them went in to confront the shooter, leading to many headlines mocking the county as Coward rather than Broward. After the murders, Cruz dropped his gun and attempted to flee by blending in with other panicked students but he was captured alive. Already his taxpayer-provided attorneys are telling everyone who will listen that he had a troubled life and, well, really shouldn’t be punished for his dastardly deeds. The Parkland shootings, hyped by gun control advocates, prompted the #enough walkouts at schools around the nation and this story is still part of the daily mass media narrative. On March 20, a week after the #enough marches, 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins entered Great Mills High School in Maryland and shot a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. After that, things went right in this instance. School resource officer Blaine Gaskill did not cower. He rushed in, fired at Rollins and Rollins ended up dead. Either Gaskill’s shot killed him or he killed himself upon being confronted. Either way, Gaskill is a hero. Within 24 hours, this shooting was completely out of the media narrative but not until a couple of reporters asked why Gaskill had to use deadly force. In fact, I had to do some digging to find out about the Maryland victims and found some information via the Baltimore Sun. Thank God for newspapers. The 14-year-old boy, who has not been identified, was released from the hospital and is fine. The story popped briefly back into the national headlines when the 16-year-old girl, Jaelynn Willey, was determined to be brain dead, taken off life support and subsequently died. Why was the Maryland shooting treated different in the media? Well, for one thing, there was just the one tragic fatality. Secondly, it was overshadowed by the Austin bomber story. Third, Rollins had a Glock semiautomatic pistol not an AR-15 which took away the assault rifle angle. Fourth, an armed officer in the school terminated the incident and many in the media are absolutely, positively abhorred by the thought of armed personnel in schools so that narrative died. Fifth, Rollins also died, taking away the social justice narrative of how he suffered terribly as a child and really was not responsible for his actions. Sixth, David Hogg did not attend Great Mills. Hogg, suddenly omnipresent, has emerged as the student leader of the anti-gun violence movement. Be wary as you follow what passes for news coverage of tragic events like these. Back in the day, there was a great TV series called ‘˜Dragnet’. The lead character was detective Joe Friday played by Jack Webb. His classic line when interviewing witnesses was, ‘Just the facts, ma’am’. Jack Webb died in 1982. Joe Friday died with him. I often wonder if they took the pursuit of ‘˜just the facts’ with them to the grave.

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