“MAKE SURE THE TEACHERS ARE DEAD. Then rinse repeat.”
Those were some of the haunting words allegedly scrawled in the notebook of a 15-year-old high school student in Baker County, Florida. But after a judge’s decision to drop the case… it appears as though he’s off the hook.
A community is on edge after a local judge dropped all charges pending against the sophomore student who allegedly planned a mass shooting at the rural county’s only high school.
According to ABC News, the teen shared his “School Shooting Plan” with a fellow classmate back in September. The other student panicked and immediately alerted the administration about the potential threat.
Baker County's sheriff is showing his displeasure after a judge dropped charges against a 15-year-old accused of threatening a mass shooting at Baker County High School. https://t.co/grNkBV1LWA
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) October 16, 2019
As is tradition in recent response to school massacres, the student was quickly apprehended while local law enforcement officials tried to figure out whether it was a credible threat.
Parents and students felt safe knowing that the teen was facing felony charges. But after a judge dismissed the charges and released the boy back into the small town community, parents are outraged.
“We have a sense of safety built into this community. We trust each other, and when I drop my kids off at school, I have a feeling they’re going to be safe,” said resident Tracy Lamb, a parent of a local high school student.
The high school plays home to roughly 1,400 students during each school day.
“Our judicial system is dropping the ball. It’s failed us, and the system has failed him. I want this child to receive help,” Lamb said. “Everybody’s left wondering now about what’s going to happen to this particular kid.”
Following the deadly Parkland massacre that left 17 people dead, Florida authorities have worked to beef up security inside school zones and have implemented laws that are designed to prevent future acts of violence.
According to local laws, anyone who “makes, posts, or transmits” a threat of a mass act of violence “in any manner that would allow another person to view the threat” has committed a punishable offense.
But according to Judge Gloria R. Walker, the 15-year-old student wasn’t guilty of enough to keep him behind bars or warrant further punishment.
But others say that’s not the case… and that the student explicitly detailed his plans of mass murder.
According to ABC’s report, the student planned to deploy an arsenal of knives and guns at a pep rally or some other high-traffic venue, apparently in an effort to get help from other students who said they were “100% down that they might die that day.”
His plan even detailed estimated response time from emergency crews and police in an effort to maximize the carnage.
“We count on the laws to keep us safe. Are there laws to do that? We thought so, and then recently we had a judge who said that the law wasn’t good enough to keep us safe, or to get this child some help,” said Angela Callahan, a middle school teacher and mother to a Baker County student.
The community has expressed compassion for the boy, but are upset with the way the judge handled the case.
“I don’t think none of the community ever expected him to get life in prison,” said Rev. Tommy Richardson, a local police chaplain. “We’re a community that will help him, pray for him.”
While the boy has not yet returned to the school, parents are still concerned.
“We work so hard to protect our children, and we have someone who is not there helping us,” one mother said.
This comes just days after a student opened fire at a California school, killing two classmates.
The school shooting in Santa Clarita took the lives of two students and injured several others on Thursday, November 14th. But it could have been much worse.
Three off-duty police officers that were on the scene dropping off their own children, didn’t think twice before running into the chaos.
Response time was within 16 seconds. These officers are credited with saving lives for immediately rendering first aid to students that had been shot. They are heroes.
— SCV Sheriff (@SCVSHERIFF) November 14, 2019
But despite the quick response and neutralization of the threat… it seems that none of the “common sense” gun laws that are being pushed for by gun control advocates would have prevented the shooting from happening.
NineLine News dug into the incident and compared it against current measures that are being pushed in government.
First off, the perpetrator was 16-years-old. It was straight up illegal for him to own or possess a firearm and not a single universal background check would have stopped it.
Secondly, he didn’t use an AR-15 or any type of the so-called “assault weapons” that activists want to flat-out ban in the United States. He used a .45 caliber handgun.
While debating gun control legislation on the Senate floor, Sen. Richard Blumenthal learns of the reported shooting in California.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 14, 2019
He reportedly didn’t use a high-capacity magazine. Police say that the teen unloaded five rounds during the shooting, and confirmed that the gun was empty when it was recovered.
And finally, no prior mental health concerns had been made about the suspect. So even if he was marked as a ‘red flag’, the gun that he shouldn’t have been in possession in in the first place wouldn’t have been taken away.
It seems as though the argument for commonsense gun laws still won’t be able to protect evil acts from being committed.
That didn’t stop politicians from joining in on the social media debate.
Yesterday, a 16-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy didn’t get to return home to their families.
These horrific tragedies are preventable. No child should ever have to fear that they or their classmates could be next.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 15, 2019
What’s even more ridiculous is that if this had happened in Connecticut, those off-duty officers would be considered criminals for their role in responding to the shooting. In accordance with Connecticut general statute Sec. 53a-217b, Possession of a weapon on school ground is considered a Class D felony.
And yes, this law applies to Connecticut’s Law Enforcement officers.
If the off-duty officers had a firearm on their person, and entered school grounds to assist in this type of incident, they could potentially be charged with a class D felony.
The statute in part reads; (a) A person is guilty of possession of a weapon on school grounds when, knowing that such person is not licensed or privileged to do so, such person possesses a firearm or deadly weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, (1) in or on the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, or (2) at a school-sponsored activity as defined in subsection (h) of section 10-233a.
Now many will say, who would actually prosecute officers for helping victims of a mass casualty event? Maybe they never would be. But that’s not the point. The real point is, why aren’t law enforcement officers allowed to carry a firearm that they are trained to use?
Especially in a state that has already witnessed a horrific school shooting, why are we not allowing off-duty officers to carry on school property?
In situations like this, it has the potential to save lives.
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If an individual does not follow the law stated above, and carries a weapon on to school property to inflict harm on others, wouldn’t we want our trained officers to have the ability to stop that individual without the fear of recourse?
Cops have children. Cops have to drop those children off at school and pick those children up at times. Cops have to bring forgotten lunches, sports uniforms left at home, or permission slips to the office.
Cops are just like regular parents, whether people would want to believe that or not.
“Detective Daniel Finn of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station was driving away when he heard gunshots and saw terrified children run out. He turned his car around and rushed into the school.”
But doing all of those above, while carrying a firearm, would be considered a Class D felony in Connecticut.
Officers are only allowed to carry on school property unless in an official capacity, of they have obtained permission by school administrators to attend a school event in such a capacity.
If you’re thinking that no one would charge an officer with violating this statute, I wouldn’t be so sure on that. And, if you are still thinking that, you’re missing the point of this article.
So why are they, in an off-duty capacity, not allowed to do something they are expected to do while on duty?
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters:
“It’s a tragedy every way you look at it, but there’s a silver lining behind this: the fact that off-duty first responders were there and did not hesitate, turned around, and went right into the source of the gunfire to attempt to neutralize it, and they rendered first aid immediately. “
“As soon as they saw the six victims, they saw the handgun was there, they realized there was not a pending threat immediately and they tended to the care of all of the victims and got the first aid rolling.” Villanueva said to KTLA. “Their actions definitely saved lives, and my hat’s off to them.”