The phrase “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun” is a longstanding NRA mantra. That manta proved itself to be true in the most recent school shooting at Great Mills High School in Maryland on Tuesday.
What could have proven to be another massive mass casualty incident, was met with quick and decisive deadly force when school resource officer Blaine Gaskill closed on the gunman, exchanging fire with him and bringing the attack to an end within seconds. The gunman would later die from his wounds, though at the time of this report it is not clear if the fatal shots came from Officer Gaskill or self inflicted.
Gaskill’s action are a sharp contrast from the actions of the security officer in last month’s shooting in Parkland, Florida. During the incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, the armed school resource deputy waited outside the school building as the shooter gunned down students inside. Instead, Officer Gaskill ran towards the danger and ended it—effectively, Gaskill did his job.
St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron told reporters,”He responded exactly how we train our personnel to respond.” Advocates of the Second Amendment, as well as other local high school students took to social media to commend the officer’s actions—praise noticeably missing from many gun control advocacy sites, as well as any acknowledgment that the officer even played a role in the takedown of the shooter.
Two students were unfortunately injured in the incident. One sustained critical injuries but is expected to recover fully. The incident began in a school hallway at 7:55 a.m., just before classes began. Authorities say Austin Wyatt Rollins, armed with a handgun, shot a female and a male student just before Gaskill made contact and stopped any further carnage. According to local authorities, the shooter had a prior relationship with the female student.
The school was on lockdown for a brief time, and students were evacuated from Great Mills High School to a reunification center at a nearby high school, according to statements release by the school system said. Great Mills is located in Southern Maryland, about 70 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. and has just over 1,500 students—some of whom walked out of class last week as part of a student-led protest against school violence in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland.
Students from Parkland took to Twitter to express their support and solidarity with Great Mills, though not Officer Gaskill. “The words School & Shooting should not be next to each other. Headlines like this should not have to be typed up every week. All of these incidents have one thing in common. My thoughts are with Maryland right now,” tweeted student activist Adam Alhanti.
In a statement, Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan said “Although our pain remains fresh and the facts remain uncertain, today’s horrible events should not be an excuse to pause our conversation about school safety. Instead, it must serve as a call to action,” he said in a statement. Maryland officials also went on to note the outstanding performance of Officer Gaskill.
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