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EDITORIAL: Armed deputy limits tragedy in Colorado high school shooting

The country’s latest campus shooting took place Friday at Arapahoe High School in the Denver suburb of Centennial. The shooter, 18-year-old Karl Pierson, was a senior and a member of the school’s debate team. According to reports, he was seeking out the debate coach, who was also the school’s librarian.

Initially, news outlets reported that it took law enforcement 14 minutes to respond and 30 minutes to find the shooter. However, as it turned out, the attack was over in 80 seconds. Pierson shot one student in the head — 17-year-old Claire Davis remained in critical condition Wednesday — before killing himself. Why did it end so quickly, especially when Pierson hadn’t located his target and was heavily armed?

Because law enforcement was on the scene before the shooting began.

A good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun in short order. As reported by CNN.com, the shooting might have resulted in more casualties had it not been for the quick response of a deputy sheriff who was working as a school resource officer. The deputy ran from the cafeteria to the library, yelling for people to get down. Said Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson: “We know for a fact that the shooter knew that the deputy was in the immediate area and, while the deputy was containing the shooter, the shooter took his own life.”

There hasn’t been a great deal of reporting on this fact, primarily because it doesn’t fit the national media’s preferred narrative: that gun-free zones and strict gun controls are the best way to keep people safe. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, the Aurora movie theater, last week’s incident and too many more mass shootings to list in this space took place in gun-free zones.

Speaking of fitting the narrative, Pierson’s identity has been whitewashed by the media. Pierson posted on Facebook an image that stated Republicans want people to die from gun violence, climate change, war and lack of health care. And the Denver Post originally reported that a fellow student “described him as a very opinionated socialist.” The Post later changed that to, “described him as very opinionated.”

When questioned about the change by Bob Owens of BearingArms.com, Post News Editor Lee Ann Colacioppo tweeted: “We decided not to have another student apply a label to the shooter — a label the student likely didn’t even understand.” It’s hard to imagine such care would have been taken if the shooter had criticized Democrats, advocated limited government or spoken in favor of Second Amendment rights.

Regardless, the more important point is that this tragedy was limited in scope because armed security was present — an obvious, proven campus-safety solution the anti-gun lobby downplays, whether it involves placement of police or allowing educators to possess concealed weapons. As blogger Alec Rawls stated in a short video at errortheory.blogspot.com, one day before this latest shooting and two days ahead of the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre: “What society in human history ever gathered its children together, then issued a public guarantee that they would be left completely undefended? How much longer will we sit by as this invitation to slaughter the most vulnerable members of our society is repeatedly accepted?”

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