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The Remarkable Difference Between These Two School Shootings

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

There will be no more school shootings at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

There may be additional future shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida. 


The reasons for these assertions are many:

  • Broward County employs deputy sheriffs who stood around and waited for shots to stop firing before going in. Most recently they waited close to 11 minutes before entering the building. None of them got a shot off at the shooter. None of them would even allow the triage of the wounded to begin until their scared backsides finally believed it was safe for themselves and allowed the trained and eager rescue workers to go in—after several victims had already died. St. Mary’s County employed a resource officer who ran to the shots fired, engaged the shooter, and fired a single round hitting the shooter. The shooter was able to fire off only a single round after the resource officer discharged his weapon.
  • In Broward County, due to the incompetence of the FBI, the Broward sheriffs, the school's superintendent's office, random adults who all confirmed he was a danger, and some even argued should have been committed in 2016, the shooter moved freely and was unable to be stopped because the campus was not hardened. Additionally, no guns existed inside the school for the purpose of defense. In St. Mary’s County the courage of one simple law enforcement presence, armed only with a single handgun, firing only a single shot, prevented the shooter from being able to kill any of the classmates at the school.
  • Broward County sheriffs allowed the shooter who killed 17 to escape out the back door. The St. Mary’s County officer ended the attack before it really ever began. (Though our earnest prayers go to the safe recovery of the two victims injured in the attack.)
  • In both situations additional law enforcement officers arrived to the scene several minutes later. In Maryland, the school was more appropriately prepared to handle the outburst as soon as it began. In Broward County it feels like we’re still waiting for the “all clear.” 
  • In Broward County the gunman wreaked havoc firing round after round unopposed. Six minutes of free fire into essentially rooms full of victims—including a licensed gun-owner/coach who lost his life shielding students. In St. Mary’s County the gunman was immediately met with resistance that drew his attention, and his fire, away from potential victims. Instead, he trained it upon an equally armed public servant.
  • The killing in Broward County was avoidable. The killing in St. Mary’s County was avoided!

Parkland student David Hogg and other attention grabbers will likely try to discount the effectiveness of the response in Maryland. They would argue that extenuating circumstances caused the outcome to be different. They will argue that these differences nullify the title of this column. They will argue that these concepts are illegitimate because… who knows why? Hogg and others aren’t interested in saving lives. They have been manically demanding air-time to spout the most heinous ideas that will, if adopted, only serve to get more children killed.

But they would be wrong.

Guns in our schools will save the lives of the children in our schools.

To be clear guns in the hands of trained personnel inside school buildings is only a piece of the larger solution to making our schools safer. I will not be fully convinced that our schools are safe until school districts fully adopt the seven simple steps to prevent school shootings I wrote about recently.  

Hardening the targets of our public schools does not have to be expensive, or even take inordinate amounts of time. In most places it doesn’t require legislation, the approval of Congress, or a president’s signature. Making our schools the safest place on earth is not hard, unless the stupidity of people arguing that inanimate objects can suddenly do things all by themselves gets in the way. Making our schools safe doesn’t require much at all.


What it does require is a commitment by the district administrators, school boards, staff, and parents to do that which is necessary to keep our children safe.

Banning a type of firearm did nothing to stop Columbine. Raising age limits on purchases would have had no impact at Sandy Hook. Waiting for the cowards of the Broward Sheriff’s office to “handle it” got 17 victims killed.

The series of events in St. Mary’s County will sadly be forgotten probably by tomorrow’s news cycle. Victimizers like Parkland student David Hogg and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel will continue to rewrite history in the utterly clear failures in Florida. The phony “student walkout” idiocy will continue to be propped up and supported by terrorist sympathizer Linda Sarsour and other organizers of the Women’s March.

But if we truly care about the welfare of our nation’s school children we should not let it be forgotten, because in the shadow of the utter incompetency, negligent, and horrific foolishness of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Great Mills High School gave us an example of how to respond to a shooter who invades the hallowed halls of education.

Simply stated, it is to put him down!

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