Armed Law Enforcement Didn't Stop Columbine
Columbine proves armed guards won't stop school massacres
December 24, 2012
Last Friday, the National Rifle Association ended its traditional response to gun massacres—hiding away from public sight—to finally offer a response to the most recent mass shooting to shock our nation. The organization's plan, as outlined by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, would cynically allow for the continued sale of the assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines marketed by its gun industry "corporate partners"—who have given tens of millions of dollars to the organization.
But more importantly, the NRA's supposed solution to tragedies like Newtown has already been tried. And it did not work. In fact there were two armed law enforcement agents present at Columbine High School during the assault by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold that left 15 dead and many more wounded. They twice engaged and fired at Eric Harris in an effort to stop the shooting, but were unsuccessful because they were outgunned by the assault weapons wielded by the two teens.
According to the transcript compiled by the Jefferson County, Colorado, Sheriff's Office:
[Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Neil] Gardner [the school's community resource officer], seeing Harris working with his gun, leaned over the top of the car and fired four shots. He was 60 yards from the gunman. Harris spun hard to the right and Gardner momentarily thought he had hit him. Seconds later, Harris began shooting again at the deputy. After the exchange of gunfire, Harris ran back into the building. Gardner was able to get on the police radio and called for assistance from other Sheriff's units. "Shots in the building. I need someone in the south lot with me."
Later, another officer fired back at Harris as the student shot out of a window. Again, according to the Sheriff Department's transcript:
Harris, leaning out of a broken window on the set of double doors into the school, begins shooting a rifle. [Jefferson County Deputy Paul] Smoker fires three rounds at him and the gunman disappears from the window. Smoker continues to hear gunfire from inside the building as more students flee from the school.
Now is the time to limit the increasingly lethal firepower available to civilians and halt the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The American people understand that—even if the NRA and the gun industry that helps fund it do not.