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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Those drills matter (and courage does, too)

Teacher describes how he stopped shooting
During emergency drills at Deer Creek Middle School, teacher David Benke used to tell his students that if anything ever happened, he wanted to be able to 'do something about it.'

When he saw a man shooting at students as they were leaving the Littleton, Colorado, school on Tuesday, 'What was going through my mind,' Benke said, 'was that I promised.'

Benke tackled the gunman, who had shot and wounded two students, and with the help of another teacher and some bus drivers, was able to hold him until police arrived.

'I noticed that he was working a bolt-action rifle,' he said. 'I noticed that and realized that I had time to get him before he could chamber another round.'
The gunman did manage to hit two students, but neither died and they are expected to recover from their injuries. It was a scary situation that could have been far worse. The last bell had rung and students were streaming out of their classes to the buses.

But thankfully the gunman, who may be schizophrenic or otherwise mentally ill, as his father says he hears voices, did not have an automatic weapon. The teacher tackled him and then others helped hold him down and got the gun away from him. The school is a couple of miles from Colombine High, also in Littleton, and this had been something their system had prepared for ever since that tragedy. Here's to drills, and training, and brave teachers and staff. When the assistant principal, Becky Brown, who'd helped by getting the gun away, was interviewed about why she went towards the gunshots rather than away, said: 'Those kids are my kids, and it's important, and my teachers, we're like family.' That pretty much sums it up. These are caretakers of our children, and they have the right stuff.

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