If you need an object lesson in why we need armed, trained faculty members and employees in schools across America, look no further than what happened in Ogden, Utah, on May 25.
That’s when police say a 41-year-old man tried to kidnap an 11-year-old girl from the playground of a local school. She’s all right, as are all of the other students — and authorities are hailing the role a school employee played in making sure it stayed that way.
“An employee was watching the kids from the inside and observed the suspect walk up to this 11-year-old girl [on the playground] and put his hands on her in an attempt to take her,” Lt. Brian Eynon of the Ogden City Police Department said.
“He ran outside, the employee did, and confronted the suspect. At that same time, the girl had the ability to pull away from the suspect.”
After the teacher was able to get the 20 students off of the playground and into the building, the suspect then allegedly came up to the school and tried to punch a window to get inside.
The teacher was a concealed carry permit holder, however — and that fact made all the difference.
He pulled out his firearm and fended Cox-Berry off until police arrived and arrested the suspect. He was booked into jail on suspicion of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony.
In this case, it wasn’t a targeted kidnapping. Eynon said, “[T]he suspect was high, high on some type of narcotic.”
“This teacher, in particular, was very prepared emotionally to confront a suspect he didn’t know, that was most likely on drugs, could be dangerous, could have been armed, and he took it upon himself to protect and be a hero, frankly, for the children who are on scene there when this went down,” he added
“A teacher intervened when there was a situation that threatened students’ safety. This teacher, this school employee, is a hero. We don’t disagree with that at all,” Ogden School District’s Jer Bates said.
“Yes, it was a very scary situation, something we take very seriously, but it came out with a good ending, meaning no students were physically harmed, no adults were physically harmed, that this was an incident where our emergency response protocols were acted out.”
If this girl was kidnapped off a school playground, we’re talking national news. What if it wasn’t a kidnapper, though? What if it was something much worse than a middle-aged suspect in the throes of a narcotic episode?
When President Joe Biden unveiled his gun control agenda, he did it on Feb. 14 — the anniversary of the Parkland school shooting.
While there was something deeply ghoulish about using the third anniversary of the mass shooting to “take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer,” as he put it, all of the proposals he made involved taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.
When he talked about the lives lost that day, he didn’t once mention the errors made by law enforcement — particularly the sheriff’s deputy who took cover outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that day without entering. He didn’t mention that none of his proposals would have materially changed the alleged killer’s ability to carry out a shooting.
And he didn’t mention one of the key recommendations the state commission investigating the mass shooting made in its January 2019 report: arming trained faculty members to neutralize or deter potential school shooters.
“So what are we saying to people — we’re not going to allow you to defend yourself, we’re not going to allow you to defend the kids — why? Because of some ideology that we don’t like guns?” said the committee chairman, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“Anyone who thinks they’re going to get rid of guns is crazy. It isn’t going to happen. We’ve got to do something differently and people should be able to protect themselves.”
From mass shooters to alleged drug-addled attempted kidnappers and a whole host of threats in between. The risks of a law-abiding faculty member or employee with a legally carried gun in a classroom environment are both minute and mostly imagined. The benefits could be seen on May 25 in Ogden, where a potential tragedy became a story that didn’t make the leap from local news to the front pages.
There are a lot of school administrators — as well as a sitting president, I may add — who could learn from that lesson.
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