Over the weekend student David Hogg said he doesn’t blame Broward County Sheriff Deputy Scot Peterson for failing to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to confront the 19-year-man killing his friends.
His argument? The assailant was armed with an AR-15 rifle and the deputy with a pistol.
“Who wants to go down the barrel of an AR-15, even with a glock? And I know that’s what these police officers are supposed to do, but they’re people too,” Hogg said on MSNBC.
This prompted a number of media pundits and reporters to unfortunately follow Hogg’s lead. This argument has prevailed on Twitter and cable news shows for days. Hogg gave Peterson an excuse and an out, rather than holding him accountable for failing to do his duty while kids inside the building were being slaughtered.
But the talking point that those wielding handguns are worthless or incapable against an assailant with a semi-automatic rifle is devoid of fact. We can look at recent history to show why.
In 2015 Garland Police Officer Gregory Stevens, armed with a Glock, took out two ISIS terrorists in Texas when they attempted to murder attendees of a “draw Muhammed” cartoon contest. The terrorists were armed with AK-47 rifles. Like the AR-15, an AK-47 is a semi-automatic rifle.
The gunmen Stevens faced, considered terrorists by the FBI, were armed with assault rifles and body armor. Stevens stopped them with a handgun.
Despite the close-range firefight, Stevens left unscathed.
Gov. Greg Abbott touted Stevens’ quick response in a written statement Monday commending his “extraordinary courage.”
“Officer Stevens’ decisive action prevented two terrorists from carrying out horrific attacks on Texas soil, and our state and nation will forever be indebted to him for his service and bravery,” Abbott said.
Last summer, Capitol Hill Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey engaged a man armed with an SKS 7.62-millimeter caliber semi-automatic rifle. Both of the officers were injured, but continued to pursue the man until he was neutralized. They were armed with handguns.
“The first place I want to go to thank true angels along the way starts with the United States Capitol Police. When I was elected Majority Whip — as you know the elected leadership has a security detail. And if anybody ever wondered why we’re assigned security detail, I surely found out that day. And let me tell you, I want to specifically mention Crystal Griner and David Bailey. Crystal and David were assigned to my security detail that morning. And day in and day out they’re part of our family. Jennifer and I truly do treat them as part of our family because they are with us everywhere we go,” Republican Whip Steve Scalise said during his return to the House after being shot and critically injured.
“And on that day it was no different. On June 14th, they came, 6:30 in the morning, we arrived at the baseball field just to play and practice for a game of charity baseball. And nobody would have suspected what ensued. And yet as soon as those shots were fired — I’ll tell you, when I was laying on the ground, one of the things I prayed for is that David and Crystal would be successful in carrying out their duties,” he continued. “And both David and Crystal are incredibly well trained, incredibly professional. But when I was laying there, not long after the first couple of shots were fired, I could hear a different caliber weapon; and that told me that they had immediately engaged the shooter. And let me tell you, if they didn’t act so quickly — and even after being shot both themselves, continued to engage the shooter and ultimately got him down, which not only saved my life, but saved the life of a lot of other people that are here in this chamber today.”
President Trump also recognized their selfless service.
“Crystal is one of the two Capitol Police officers who saved so many lives through her heroism, along with Special Agent David Bailey. They ran right into the fire. They ran right into those guns and the bullets, and they saved a lot of lives. America salutes both of their courage. They have great, great courage,” President Trump said.
It is never ideal to be on the other end of a firefight. Each scenario and situation is different. However, heroes have proven a threat can be neutralized through the use of a pistol — combined with training, courage, duty and honor — even if the assailant is armed with a rifle.