Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A School Shooting, and a Heroic Teacher

There was a school shooting in Colorado today:

One male and one female were shot at about 3:30 p.m. outside Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton, Jefferson County Sheriff's office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said. Both students were taken to a nearby hospital and were expected to survive.

Student Steven Seagraves said he was about 10 feet away when an adult approached students and asked them: "Do you guys go to this school?"

When the students said they did, he shot them, Seagraves said.

Seventh-grade math teacher David Benke, a 6-foot-5 inch former college basketball player who oversees the school's track team, tackled the suspect as he was trying to reload his weapon.

Nobody could have blamed Mr. Benke for running for cover. He was unarmed, against someone with a rifle. He saw an opening and took it - at great risk to his own life - to protect his students.

"He was trying to rack another round. He couldn't get another round in before I got to him so I grabbed him," Benke said, recalling that he didn't have time to fear for his life.

They don't say what kind of rifle it was, other than "high-powered" - of course, to the MSM, any rifle is "high-powered." The story says he was reloading, but it sounds more like it may have jammed. I suppose we'll find out later, though I don't expect the media to get it right without getting it wrong at least three different times.

[Update Feb. 24, 2010: NPR says this morning that it was a bolt-action rifle.]

At this time, the shooter appears to have no connection to the school, and no motive has been released.

Good job Mr. Benke, it sounds like you prevented a massacre. Any praise I can offer will fall infinitely short of what you deserve for your courage and quick thinking. Don't beat yourself up because you couldn't stop the first shots - when you have no reason to expect an attack, the attacker will always have the initiative, and the advantage of surprise. You overcame that, and took advantage of a single moment pure, blind luck to save many children.

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