US Military Has Incredible Honor for Student Who Sacrificed Himself To Stop Shooter


It’s a sign of marked improvement, I think, that we’re far more familiar with the name Riley Howell than we are of the shooter who opened fire at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte last week.

Yes, I’m sure most of us have heard the name of the pathetic sociopath involved. But the thing is, we’re not repeating it the way that we used to. I’d personally forgotten the name of the sicko already

All I knew is that he killed two students and injured four others. I also knew that one of the dead was Riley Howell, an ROTC cadet who bravely stopped the shooter before he was able to inflict more carnage and hate. And that Howell sacrificed his life in the process.

Now, the 21-year-old Howell received an impressive honor for tackling the gunman and before he was able to cause more harm.

“University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) student and ROTC Cadet Riley Howell was put to rest with full military honors Sunday afternoon,” WBTV in Charlotte reported Sunday.

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His heroism was undeniable.

“Absolutely, Mr. Howell saved lives,” Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Chief Kerr Putney said during a news conference last week, according to WJZY, Fox 46 in Charlotte.

He added that Howell “did exactly what we train people to do.”

Howell was in the classroom where the gunman opened fire during the attack on Tuesday.

He was able to knock the gunman off of his feet, which allowed police to neutralize the assailant.

While Howell wasn’t a member of the armed forces, his membership in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at UNCC had prompted many to call for his burial with full military honors.

In fact, a petition at the White House website had specifically requested it.

“Riley Howell, 21, died while tackling the gunman of the UNCC campus shooting on April 30. He was one of 2 students killed and 4 wounded, but there may have been many more victims had Riley not rushed the gunman and tackled him,” the petition read.

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Do you think this student deserved a burial with full military honors?

“Riley was an ROTC cadet and would have served his country. Instead, he died saving the lives of his classmates.

“For his heroism, we ask the Riley be given a burial with full military honors.”

CBS reported Saturday that the decision had been made by the ROTC program.

“Lt. Col. Chunka Smith, who runs the university’s ROTC program, said he was unable to discuss the funeral plans out of respect for the Howell family, but said the Army and National Guard ‘will ensure that Riley Howell is properly recognized for his heroism,'” CBS reported.

If there’s anything that’s the perfect antidote to mass shootings, it’s this.

In both the recent shootings at the Chabad of Poway in California and on the campus of the University of North Carolina Charlotte, we’ve seen a lot more attention paid to those who risked — and gave — their lives to stop the sick designs of the psychopaths that wanted to make a name for themselves by ending lives.

In the past, we’ve made the mistake of giving too much credence to the supposed pain and/or political agendas of the monsters concerned with snuffing out human existence.

That shouldn’t be the point.

These are nobodies who attempted to become somebodies in the most twisted way possible. And yet, we too often give them the attention that they crave.

Instead, we ought to be focusing on the heroes.

Even in the darkest of moments, there’s always bravery to be found:

Men like Riley Howell and women like Lori Kaye, who saved her rabbi’s life at the expense of her own at own during the Poway shooting;

Military veterans like Oscar Stewart, who ran at the Chabad of Poway shooter and caused him to drop his gun.

Those are the people we ought to be celebrating. It’s not just because we need to sing the praises of heroes, although we do.

It’s because of the fact that we mustn’t give the darkest impulses of human nature precedence over the light.

“Riley died the way he lived, putting others first,” his family wrote in his obituary.

“Our hope is that his example resonates with everyone. We hope others will, if ever the need arises, answer the call to be selfless and do the right thing without hesitation. We hope his example of loving, living large, being kind always and finding laughter in the little things will be remembered as Riley’s gift to us all.”

That’s how we all ought to remember this brave man.

Rest in peace, Riley Howell.

You’ve deserved every bit of the praise given to you — including being buried with full military honors.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture