Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, is the school resource officer at Great Mills High School in Maryland. He is also a member of the local SWAT team, and is reported to have been with the Sheriff’s office for 6 years.
Early Tuesday morning, Deputy Gaskill did what he hoped he would never have to do; engage an active shooter inside the school he was there to protect.
When Deputy Gaskill was alerted of the shooting, he immediately took action. The entire incident lasted a minute, and possibly just seconds.
He engaged the 17-year-old suspect, firing a single shot. The suspect also fired a single shot.
At this moment, there is confusion about these two shots. An investigation is underway to determine whether it was Deputy Gaskill who hit the suspect, or if the suspect’s own shot was used to take his own life.
Regardless of the outcome, there is no doubt that the presence of Deputy Gaskill brought this shooting to a quick end.
I am not writing this article to glorify the death of a 17-year-old who was apparently troubled, because any loss of life is sad. I’m not even writing this article to glorify the school resource officer, although we can all agree that his actions were extremely brave and focused. I am writing this article to prove a point that seems to be lost by many.
In the recent Florida school shooting which claimed 17 lives, the outcome would have been much different if their school resource officer had gone into the building and engaged the suspect. As we now know, he stood outside for the duration of the shooting.
Had that suspect been faced with an armed resistance, his attention would have –at least– been drawn away from his intended targets. Things change when bullets start flying in your direction when you’re the gunman.
A school resource officer’s job is to do exactly what Deputy Gaskill did: stop an active threat in the school. He did just that, and it ended in seconds.
For those opposed to firearms in schools that are attached to the hips of trained individuals, remember this story and others like it. In a day or two, this story will fade into the background and be mostly forgotten, but we will still hear about the deadly school shooting in Florida for weeks or months from the media.
The reason why is simple; the larger the death toll, the more it hits home in the hearts of millions. But instead of burying a story such as this, of a good guy with a gun stopping an active school shooter, why not embrace this story as an example to follow for schools across the Country?
Don’t let the school resource officer in Florida sway your opinion, because that man simply did not do his job. He did not step up to the plate when the threat was real. But, still, don’t you think that having this armed resistance is better than not having it?