NRA Amnesia

The National Rifle Association (NRA) proposes armed guards for all schools in America. This doesn’t work. How do I know this? Unlike the NRA, I remember Columbine. An armed, uniformed police officer was there when the shooting started.

Here’re the first couple of paragraphs of “Deputies on Scene,” part of the report by the Jefferson County Sherrif’s office.

Community Resource Officer Called to “Back Lot”

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Neil Gardner soon would complete his second year as the uniformed community resource officer assigned to Columbine High School. Gardner, a 15-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, normally ate his lunch with the students in the cafeteria during first lunch period. His car would have been parked in his “normal spot” in front of the cafeteria doors – between the junior and senior parking lots.

On April 20, however, Deputy Gardner and campus supervisor Andy Marton, an unarmed school security officer employed by the school district, were eating lunch in Gardner’s patrol car. They were monitoring students in the “Smokers’ Pit,” a spot just to the northwest of campus in Clement Park where the students congregated to smoke cigarettes.

Gardner had just finished his lunch when he received a call over the school’s radio from a custodian. “Neil,” called the custodian in a panicked voice, “I need you in the back lot!”

Gardner pulled out of the parking lot near the school’s tennis courts and drove onto Pierce Street in front of the school. The “back lot” being referred to by the custodian, he assumed, was the south student parking lot by the cafeteria. As soon as he pulled onto Pierce Street, he heard another call being dispatched over the Sheriff’s radio, “Female down in the south lot of Columbine High School.” He activated his lights and siren. It was 11:23.

In his own mind, he recalled later, he thought someone probably had been hit by a car.

First Shooter Seen

As soon as Gardner pulled into the south parking lot off of South Pierce Street, he saw kids running out of the school in every direction. As he drove around toward the south lot, he also saw smoke coming from the west end of the parking lot and heard several loud explosions. Students standing on the soccer field were pointing toward the building. He could hear gunshots coming from inside the school but could not pinpoint from where.

Gardner pulled his vehicle into the senior parking lot where he had a good vantage point. He could see both parking lots, the cafeteria and the second story west entrance to the school. As he got out of his patrol car, he received a second call on the school radio. “Neil, there’s a shooter in the school.”

Numerous patrol units and emergency vehicles already were responding to the school as the Sheriff’s dispatch center reported “female down” and “possible shots fired at Columbine High School.” There was so much traffic on the police radio that Gardner could not tell dispatch he was on scene.

As Gardner stepped out of his patrol car, Eric Harris turned his attention from shooting into the west doors of the high school to the student parking lot and to the deputy. Gardner, particularly visible in the bright yellow shirt of the community resource officer uniform, was the target of Harris’ bullets. Harris fired about 10 shots from his rifle at Gardner before his gun jammed. Although Gardner’s patrol car was not hit by bullets, two vehicles that he was parked behind were hit by Harris’ gunfire. Investigators later found two bullet holes in each of the cars.

CNN has the full report here.

Of course, the NRA will probably respond that the guards should be better armed. Pardon me if I roll my eyes. We focus on the Second Amendment and fail to examine the roots.
Why are so few talking about keeping the mentally ill away from weapons? How many of us freak out when teenagers spend hours, even days obsessively playing violent video games?

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Guns just make killing easier and more efficient.



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