Reynolds High School tragedy: more laws are not the answer

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

On Tuesday morning a 15-year-old killer murdered fellow student Emilio Hoffman, age 14, and wounded a teacher at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon. The killer brought an AR-15 type rifle, a semi-automatic pistol and enough ammunition to do far more harm – but he was stopped before he could by police. The police were aided by a brave teacher and by a well-practiced school lockdown. After being confronted and exchanging gunfire with police, the killer committed suicide. Police also found the killer had brought a large knife.

Within hours, politicians were already attempting to exploit the tragedy – including Oregon’s U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, who were calling for expanded background checks.

More laws are not the answer

Further expanding background checks in Oregon – already one of the most restrictive states for background checks – would not have stopped the 15-year-old killer. It’s already illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase a firearm in Oregon, and this killer didn’t buy the guns – he took them – by defeating his family’s security measures where the guns were secured.

Additionally, the 15-year-old killer at Reynolds brought firearms and a large knife into a high school despite school policies banning weapons, Oregon state law prohibiting bringing or having a weapon at school, and the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act.

The killer was also in violation of ORS 166.250 (unlawful possession of firearms) even before he got to the school because he was under 18, and he was in violation of the Multnomah County gun control ordinance passed last year.

The 15-year-old killer violated many, many existing weapons-related laws – and none of those laws stopped him.

What did work?

Reynolds High School has two full-time officers on campus every day – and they were on the scene in less than a minute – and they are being credited with stopping the killer before he could inflict more carnage.

After Sandy Hook, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre advocated for a police officer in every school. He said “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The media, who widely ridiculed and mocked him at the time, is largely ignoring this important part of the story. It’s important because it actually worked to save lives at Reynolds.

What also worked was the bravery of a Reynolds teacher, who sounded the alert that initiated the school lockdown even though he had been wounded. A lockdown that had recently been practiced. KOIN reported “Police said the response from school staff, police and students prevented ‘many, many’ deaths, given the amount of ammunition [the killer] carried. Troutdale Mayor Doug Daoust said Reynolds High had participated in an active shooter drill in the weeks leading up to June 10.”

What more can be done?

There needs to be a continued focus on mental health, including increasing funding where it’s needed. More schools should have armed law enforcement present. The media should stop giving publicity to the killers. There needs to be more funding for prosecutors, police and jails so that existing laws can be enforced.

Additionally, there needs to be public pressure on the media to stop perpetuating false and highly emotional data and perceptions. For example, all the irresponsible news agencies who reported there have been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT. The 74 number came from Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety. CNN has since taken the time to investigate the number and found the actual number to be 15.

It is indicative of how gun control groups are willing to stretch the truth to achieve their agenda. When they do that, and when the media parrots it, it makes rational discussion much more difficult.

Please let’s move off of fixed political agendas and focus on what works to keep our children and everyone safer.

UPDATE (11/12/2014): The Oregonian reported that the guns used by Jared Padgett had been locked up: “Investigators determined that the AR-15 rifle that Padgett used in the school shooting had been locked in a Pelican-brand gun case in the bedroom he shared with his older brother, Lucas Padgett. A .25-caliber handgun found on Jared Padgett after he had killed himself with the rifle the day of the June 10 shooting had been locked in his father Michael Padgett’s bedroom, investigators concluded.”

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Posted by at 05:46 | Posted in 2nd Amendment, Gun Control | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Ron Glynn

    Whenever these horrible crimes occur, normal and sane people are always horrified, dismayed and shocked. Some simplistic thinkers always say that we need more stiffer gun control laws to prevent these horrible crimes. I spent 5 years in college training for a career in Corrections and then worked over 26 years with direct supervision over convicted criminals. (those convicted of everything from shoplifting to Murder) Let me tell you that if someone wants to commit a crime bad enough, they are going to find a way to do it. More laws are not going to stop them.
    It is easy to shout “It’s the guns, It’s the guns!” to keep us from the truth which is “It’s the people, It’s the people!” Collectively, we need to look ourselves in the mirror and ask, “What are we doing that creates a society which produces such monstrous young people?

    • GretaN

      Exactly – he also had a knife with him.

    • Jack Lord God

      The simplistic people who propose new gun control laws are very easy to defeat.

      When something like this happens – the proclaim tragedy and demand more laws limiting your rights.

      Well, next time that happens – ask if, because there are way more murders in Chicago etc. should we bring back and step up stop and frisk?

      When they howl in protest about how stop and frisk violates peoples rights, give them a nod and say “now you’re learning grasshopper”.

    • Job One

      Recent parallel? A mentally defective ‘copy cat’ shooting reminiscent of the recent tragedy in WA.

      Same, applies around the country relating to, [gone-off-their-rocker] mental midget sociopaths [minor or not] in our society wherein no law ever impairs their way.

      More gun laws, not! Enforce the plethora already on the books!

      Less sociopaths, certainly yes – and, stop the insanity of entitling them more rights than their victims.

      “Guilt by insanity” isn’t remotely compassionate let alone laughable, it’s shear stupidity that should never be countenanced within a nation-of-laws based on the common sense that “all” shall be responsible for their transgressions – to wit, adjudicated aggressors on death rows, their lunatic aggressions shall be executed sooner, notwithstanding the jaundiced Kitzhaber’s odoriferous dotty gov radicalization attending killers that be(e).

  • LibertyToad

    I think there is something fundamentally wrong with people who are against having armed and trained personal at our schools to protect our kids. Another thing–over the years, I noticed one thing that is certain, anti-gun rights groups are notorious for manipulating statistics to maintain their arguments. When you have to doctor the numbers to support your argument it reveals the weakness of your argument.

  • Jack Lord God

    The first mistake would be assuming those who are interested in gun control do so to stop crime.

    They don’t

    The gun control movement is about two things:

    1 – Power over others. Gun control people see disarming others as the way to control them. In other words, big government advocacy by definition has a totalitarian impulse.

    2 – Venting of hatred. Gun control people simply hate people who own guns.

    The first is obvious. Go down the list. Bloomber, Obama, Dianne Feinstein, it’s endless, all either well armed themselves or surrounded by others who are. In fact it is harder than not to think of any major gun control figure who is not well armed.

    The second is less obvious, at least at first. Watch a discussion of gun control with virtually any of its advocates. Michael Moore would be most noticable, but really virtually any of the bunch. Almost without exception, these people will insinuate someone who likes guns is less of a man, has an inferiority complex. If the target is a woman they will tend to imply she is mentally unbalanced.

    Think about it further. Guns tend to be associated with the blue collar working crowd, Pick ups and cammo, NASCAR fans, rural working families.

    Gun control people specifically and the left in general hates these people. Do you see Obama hanging with the blue collar crowd when it isn’t a fundraiser? Not on your life. They hate working class families and everything about them.

    Why do you think John Kerry, when he had to feign an interest in hunting during his election bid, did the classic impression of an elite person imitating what they think is a ignorant southerner? “Where can I get me one o dem huntin’ licenses?”

    Gun control advocates are about two things – hating you and having control over you. Never lose sight of that.

    You think it’s about protecting you? If so, try and remember the last time a gun control advocate ever said “hey, you know, that gun control law we enacted really isn’t doing anything to protect people, let’s get rid of it”.

    • .

      You won’t hear that from ‘sloe’ GINNY BURDICK, Oregon legislative junk yard dog soused with contempt for the 2nd Amendment and law abiding owners rights.

      She knows there’s a plethora of laws on the books, butt believes in more being merrier.

      • .

        PS, Burdick resounds like verdict, albeit one that should be set aside coincide the Wapato Jail, her district, to be a chambermaid and to earn her keep and knot be such butt airing in Oregon’s legislature.

  • Bangla Choti

    Thank you for writing this . Now i know what happen reynolds school. thanks very nuch. and if you want more story see Bangla Choti

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