What if


“when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he’d been confronted by qualified armed security?” asked Wayne LaPierre earlier today?

We don’t know, to be honest.  But we do know that on April 20, 1999, a “uniformed community resource officer”, in this case a trained Sheriff’s deputy, was armed and on duty at Columbine High School.

An honest to goodness, qualified, “good guy with a gun”.

h/t Billy Bragg


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  • But video games . . . Hollywood . . . Video Games!!!!

    • commie atheist

      Plus: register loonies, not guns.

  • Community resources officers are not equipped to win a firefight with someone carrying a semiautomatic rifle. Nor do they patrol the perimeter looking for such a threat, which is the level of awareness you’d need for them to function as such a security force.

    For them to provide even a moderate level of security against such a threat, they’d have to be equipped, stationed, and deployed in such a way that they wouldn’t be school resource officers – basically, people doing community policing in the schools – anymore. They’d be more like Marine embassy guards.

    • ajay

      They’d be more like Marine embassy guards.

      Is there even any such thing these days? I thought it had all been outsourced.

      • There are Marines as guards, but there are also Nepalese Sherpas at the US Embassy in Singapore, with their hats all mashed down sideways, and with a noticeable refusal to smile at anyone. So random.

  • DrDick

    As I pointed out in another thread, there is also the Ft. Hood shooting, which ought to put this bullshit to rest once and for all.

    • Greg

      The Ft. Hood shooter was surrounded by highly-trained, highly-armed soldiers who were also mental health professionals.

      • Well, there’s the problem! Mental health professionals? SOUNDS FRUITY.

        What was clearly needed were qualified, obsessed, and moderately doughy mall ninjas.

        • DrDick

          Don’t forget the Keyboard Kommandos! You know how butthurt they get when anybody questions their masculinity.

  • c u n d gulag

    And what’s the solution to the shootings in PA, including some State Troopers, while Erik’s Wayne “Popsickle” LaPierre was speaking?

    Do we want the “School Shield” solution there, too?

    Do we want armed volunteers carrying shotguns, riding shotgun with the Troopers?

    • Njorl

      If everyone were arrayed so that everyone was pointing a gun at someone and had a gun pointed at them by someone else there’d be no more shootings.

      It stands to reason.

    • efgoldman

      How about a machine gun nest on the roof, or a pillbox in the parking lot.
      Jeebus. Where’s Godwin when we need him.

      • I keep thinking of the scene in Idiocracy, where Not Sure escapes from the prison, and the roof mounted automatic guns swivel back and forth, eventually shooting each other.

    • And what’s the solution to the shootings in PA, including some State Troopers, while Erik’s Wayne “Popsickle” LaPierre was speaking?

      Everyone, kids included, walks around in head-to-toe reinforced kevlar.

      There are other possible solutions, but I think that everyone pulling on kevlar before they go out so they don’t get shot is the best solution. We wouldn’t want to interfere with people’s freedom.

  • Joe

    No no. You have to arm each individual school teacher. They thought too small. Maybe even some of the students. I know teachers in inner cities schools. I’m sure they will feel much safer that way. Not really.

    • Still thinking too small.

      What if the (hypothetical) uniformed community resource officer had a B-17? Hmmm?

      • Joe

        We need 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 style mass surveillance with satellites on the ready to shoot laser beams at the people ready to kill.

    • Jon H

      Claymores, throughout the school.

      It’s the only way to be sure.

      • Leeds man

        Didn’t work very well at Culloden.

        • rea

          Wrong kind of claymore . . .

          • Leeds man


          • Leeds man

            Sorry for the snark, rea. My humour spark plugs have been misfiring lately.

        • Pestilence

          worked brilliantly .. for the English :)

      • Bill Murray

        She’s like a claymore,
        that’s what she’s there for
        She’s waiting ’round here
        to get blown apart

  • Anonymous

    Is it the NRA position that there will be more massacres, that society is sick, and armed security is the only solution?

    • commie atheist

      Yes. And don’t forget, Walmart is having a 2 for 1 special on ammo this week only.

  • Brandon C.

    Thats crazy, I never realized their was an armed officer at the scene of Columbine.

    I don’t understand why anyone finds the armed security guard argument convincing in the first place. If the person we have armed on school grounds actually has training for this kind of situation, they are the last person that is going to be running along the halls playing hero.

    • rea

      I never realized their was an armed officer at the scene of Columbine

      Well, he was out to lunch whwen it started. He fired four shots and missed–wasn’t wearing his glasses.

    • 1more

      so now the spree killers have to shoot the security guards in the head at the start of their massacres

      maybe it causes an outsider to pause before going on a rampage at a school but I doubt it deters any students who want to murder their classmates

  • Derelict

    Look, you’re trying to hold the NRA to the impossible standard of recognizing reality. The fact that LaPierre’s fantasy of the bad guy being gunned down before committing mayhem has never happened never enters it the NRA’s reckoning. The fact that actual experience indicates that the armed guard will likely die in the initial hail of bullets before the poor sap ever gets to draw his weapon never enters the NRA’s reckoning.

    What DOES enter their reckoning is the tens of millions of dollars gun makers funnel to the NRA’s coffers. And apparently that amount of money is enough to buy the souls of many, many dead innocents off of one’s conscience.

  • Warren Terra

    I stand by my plan: hand grenades.

    I am willing to compromise, and to teach roomfuls of small children to rush shooters equipped with hand grenades.

    • DrDick

      Tactical nukes. It is the only reasonable solution.

      • Malaclypse

        Tactical? Why settle for half measures? America’s schoolchildren deserve strategic weaponry. That will be a game-changer.

        • Warren Terra

          Rush them with schoolchildren from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

          • Malaclypse

            They’re just grunts – they can’t make a decision like that.

            • wjts

              What do you expect them to use, man? Harsh language?

        • prufrock

          We couldn’t use tactical nukes anyway. They only explode in Germany.

  • Martino

    This is only half on topic, but I haven’t yet seen any reference to this Onion classic. We laugh to keep from crying.

  • SatanicPanic

    There’s a word for using one example to make hasty generalizations about an idea, regardless of the merit of said idea.

    • I know a good word, too: Counterexample. You are at liberty to provide one. At the moment the score seems to be 0-1, advantage Example.

      • SatanicPanic

        Are you proposing a game of Competing Anecdotes?

        • (the other) Davis

          When Person A argues for General Rule X, and Person B points out Counterexample Y, the onus is now on Person A to explain why General Rule X has not been rebutted. Especially when zero evidence has been provided in support of General Rule X.

          • SatanicPanic

            If General Rule X is “Armed guards will repel all attacks, always” then sure, consider it rebutted. But this strikes me as a little too close to the guns nuts’ argument that “We never prevent ALL crimes, therefore gun regulation is a waste of time.”

            • (the other) Davis

              But this strikes me as a little too close to the guns nuts’ argument that “We never prevent ALL crimes, therefore gun regulation is a waste of time.”

              Except that here, the *only* piece of direct evidence we have on the matter runs counter to the original argument. Since statistical validation is unlikely with such rare events, that single example is the best we’ve got to go on (along with reference to analogous situations).

          • somethingblue

            When Person A argues for General Rule X, and Person B points out Counterexample Y, the onus is now on Person A to explain why General Rule X has not been rebutted.

            No true Scotsman would have time for this sort of alphabetic trifling.

  • blowback

    Is Wayne LaPierre really suggesting that all American schools should end up looking like this. One armed guard is never going to stand a chance unless the periphery of the school is thus secured. Perhaps he might if the gunman is dumb enough to walk through the front gate.
    I should point out that this is a Royal Marine Commando base, that the artillery piece is for display purposes only, and that there is enough fire power within to give Wayne LaPierre a permanent stiffie and/or fight a small war. In fact, the occupants of this establishment have fought a few small wars.

    • Is Wayne LaPierre really suggesting that all American schools should end up looking like this.

      I don’t think he is. I think he’s proposing to have a security guards or police officer with a sidearm walking around in the school. Maybe two.

      I think he’s living in a fantasy world – or at least pretending to live in a fantasy world – in which this will serve to either deter a suicidal spree shooter from bringing a high-capacity semi-automatic weapon to a school and opening fire, or prevent him to killing people there if he does conduct such an attack.

      I think he’s an overpaid version of the guy who says he would have “taken out” the VT shooter, if only he’d been there with his 9 mm in his hip holster.

      • Sherm

        Joe, he’s not proposing shit. He is engaging in obfuscation.

        • Uncle Kvetch

          Exactly. He’s not “proposing” anything at all, apart from “I ‘propose’ that we talk about anything…and I do mean anything…other than our current gun laws.”

          This is trolling in its purest form.

          • You’re right. He’s standing by the road biting the heads off live chickens, in the hopes that we’ll talk about the idiot biting the heads off chickens.

  • Bernard

    well, of course, we want guns/armed guards everywhere. that way the NRA could have a win-win on their hands.

    what a stupid question! why do we have to have armed guards everywhere? this presumes it is all right to bring guns everywhere, including schools. like there are places where guns “should” automatically be.

    saying yes means we would turn every public place into play as a “armed” unless otherwise noted. which is such a backways and gun centric way of thinking.

    God the audacity of these gun nuts thinking we “should” think their way.

    what a ignorant and gun filled way to “make’ society, as if it isn’t filled with enough/too many guns. some places need to be “gun” free. or maybe we should just teach gun “theory” in schools. which i’m sure the NRA/gun nuts would love. more guns and more gun nuts, a perfect NRA heaven.

    sounds like Somalia or Yemen or some other Rightwing paradise. Make them move if that’s the kind of “paradise” society they want.

    • Sherm

      Well said.

  • commie atheist

    In other news: Paging Erik Loomis, paging Erik Loomis…

    Well, at least no one is calling for my “head on a stick” — but that’s probably because Prof. Erik Loomis of the University of Rhode Island is about the only person or entity that hasn’t denounced me for pointing out in NRO’s Sandy Hook symposium that the school could have used a few male teachers on the premises who might have tackled down the runtish Adam Lanza before he did the worst of his damage.

    Bonus points: she calls out “the Holy Trinity of online liberal journalism: David Weigel (Slate), Alex Pareene (Salon), and Jessica Valenti (The Nation).”

    • Hogan

      I have to say the comments there are way better than I expected.

      • Even Jonah Goldberg called her out. And sometimes the NRO seems to be lighter on the moderation than others. The original Allen column was a bloodbath for her.

        Got that? A BLOODBATH.

        • Vance Maverick

          Recently (before the Newtown shooting), one of my colleagues in software development used the term “bloodbath” to describe a particularly inconsistent group of variable names. The countertop brigade naturally hounded him out of the company. Not.

          • Phoenix Rising

            That’s strange, because everyone in the field knows that inconsistent variable names are referred to in the plural form as “clusterfuck”. Can I check out your countertops?

      • commie atheist

        I think that’s because of all the links from Charlie Pierce and other godless lefties (not to mention the “holy trinity”) – when even Jonah Goldberg thinks you’re an idiot, you’re not going to get too much support from the rank-and-file of conservadom.

    • Murc

      … Dave Weigel is a liberal now?

      Christ. I know we have a big tent, but really.

      (This isn’t to say Weigel doesn’t do generally good work, but dude is pretty conservative.)

      • commie atheist

        Pretty much a straight-up libertarian – he used to write for Reason – but one of the less idiotic ones.

      • Yeah, he’s a libertarian, but kind of a “what the fuck is wrong with these libertarians?”-libertarian. Too lefty for Reason, as I understood it at the time.

  • Joe Regular

    Too bad the principal at Sandy hook didn’t have something more than her bare hands that day. Too bad the teacher in the closet couldn’t do anything besides take bullets.

    • Malaclypse

      Too bad we have painfully stupid trolls, who either don’t bother to read the post, or are unable to understand it.

    • Colin Day

      Or a nice stack of pancakes. Feel the maple syrup slorp up the bullets.

    • “Take Bullets” Oh you mean try and save peoples lives, why are you insulting the honour of the heroes of Sandy Hook?

  • Joe Regular

    Yes. Whoever disagrees with you is a dirty troll. All opinions besides your own are filthy and shouldn’t even be considered, just rejected summarily. You have the answers and those fuckers on the right aren’t going to tell you anything.

    • Malaclypse

      those fuckers on the right aren’t going to tell you anything.

      Nonsense. Those fuckers tell me lots of things. They tell me the earth is between 6,000-10,000 years old, that climate change is a myth, that Erik Loomis is a bloodthirsty monster, that single mothers cause crime, that gays are icky, that gun control doesn’t work, that other nations have bad health care, that Mittens is going to win in a landslide. And then they complain because I won’t grant credence to their every pronouncement.

      • All of the above must be true since we know the one about me is true….

  • Joe Regular

    Climate change is a myth. Eric Loom is rants like an idiot. Children abandoned by their fathers are gravely at risk. Sick politicians from around the world come to the US for treatment. Yes, forecasters on both sides were stunned that the biggest failure in 50 years won a second term.

    Gays and the age of the universe I will give you. Far right people hold absurd views on gays and evolution.

    • Anticorium

      The biggest failure in fifty years? Man, Jimmy Carter can’t even catch a helicopter in Tehran these days.

      • MAJeff

        Well, Ronald Reagan forgot his entire term while Nancy changed his diapers….

    • Children abandoned by their fathers are gravely at risk.


      • commie atheist

        Nonsense. I abandoned my child at birth, and being raised by wolves turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.

        • Anonymous

          But whatever happened to his twin brother?

    • DrDick

      You obviously went to a Christian academy and only watch Fox News.

    • Far right people hold absurd views on gays and evolution.

      Right, but their view on everything else–the definition of sensible! It certainly doesn’t make sense that believing crazy things about the origins of the universe would involve a level of crazy that would spill over into the REST of their views. Perish the thought!

    • commie atheist

      Sick politicians from around the world come to the US for treatment.

      No wonder Hugo Chavez keeps having to go to Cuba for treatment.

    • spencer

      Yes, forecasters on both sides were stunned that the biggest failure in 50 years won a second term.

      No, just your guys. We knew what was coming.

      • L.M.

        I had really hoped that 2004 would go the other way, actually.

        • Warren Terra

          It really is funny. It’s not hard to make a case that Dubya was the worst President in 150 years, making Obama at worst the second-biggest failure in fifty years – but the wingers have, through sheer act of will, wished the entire George W Bush administration out of historical existence.

    • spencer

      Sick politicians from around the world come to the US for treatment.

      Because if you’re rich, it’s the best health care system in the world. This is not really all that controversial.

      But if you’re not, well …

      • John Protevi

        Actually, that is central to Joe Regular’s point. Rich people = winners and poor people = losers, so fuck ’em, amirite?

  • So, um, where’s the tax money going to come from to pay for all these full-time security guards?

    Does Grover Norquist know about this?

  • Steve S.

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that armed guards (and metal detectors, and surveillance cameras in every room and hall, and random inspections of lockers, etc.) in every school would reduce violence of this type. What are the consequences of raising generations of children in this atmosphere? Anybody know? Or care?

    • commie atheist

      The kids are too busy playing playing first person shooters, so they don’t care.

  • MAJeff

    In Charlotte Allen’s world, HPV vaccines are more dangerous than guns.

  • Joe Regular

    Personally, I care about children who are abandoned by their fathers especially when it happens to a whole community. I don’t think it’s a joke. What do you think? Do you consider it a problem or do you not give a shit?

    I don’t agree with the armed guard idea. An armed guard would be expensive, bored to death with nothing to do all day long, and, yes, s/he would be the first one dispatched.

    What I believe is that I wish that principal and that teacher in the closet had access to a gun that day? Don’t you wish they had access to s gun that day?

    I think the right is way off when it comes to the HPV vaccine. I would give it to any child, male or female. I’m personally conservative but socially libertarian.

    As for Fox TV, I would say that it would not hurt to watch it once in a while, if you can stop spitting on the TV long enough to hear it. There’s something called keeping an open mind which in my experience is totally devoid on the left. My experience of the left is a bunch of raving holier-than-thou know it all’s who just shout down everything that doesn’t lock into their officially sanctioned ideology. The left is always shouting in the streets, always shouting down other people, screaming loud enough to drown out opposing words. Now Erik Loomis knows what it is like to be pubicalky dragged through the mud like you guys have done to dozens of “ignorant stupid mouth breathing knuckle dragging Neanderthals” on the right. You don’t let them speak. You just fire up Colbert and Stewart and Letterman and the whole MSM and laugh them to scorn until they are public ally destroyed. You refer to this tactic as “Alinskying” someone. As soon as they gain a voice you destroy them. Finally one of your guys got alinskied.

    • Anticorium

      You refer to this tactic as “Alinskying” someone.

      [citation needed, of someone who calls themselves a liberal, because trust me, we’re already full up on cites from Robert Stacy McCain]

    • commie atheist

      How precious! I love it when trolls call out “the left” for not being open-minded. The word “projection” comes to mind, but that doesn’t seem strong enough somehow.

    • Anonymous

      The right’s Alinsky crazyness is the sort of thing you just can’t make up.

    • i.boskone

      “…pubicalky dragged through the mud…”

      I want to hear more about that. Doesn’t it usually cost extra?

    • spencer

      Don’t you wish they had access to s gun that day?

      Not really, because I have no idea if they would have had any idea how to use it.

      Maybe they would have. I don’t know. But putting guns in the hands of the unprepared and untrained and inapt – especially around kids – is a really shitty idea.

    • Warren Terra

      The gun fetishists, as in this case, insist on the unchangeable assumption that you are going to have some crazy murdering nutball carrying a small arsenal of the most efficient killing machines in world history rampaging through a school hallway, and then ask if it wouldn’t really be better to have the teachers armed, or a SWAT team in every Teachers’ Lounge, or suicide vests on the toddlers or something. Because, once you’ve assumed there is nothing to be done about the existence of murderous nutballs with small arsenals, the answer must be to tool up their prospective victims.

      Those of us who refuse to accept their sociopathic premises propose to change our society such that would-be murderous nutballs don’t have almost casual access to such arsenals.

    • herr doktor bimler

      I’m personally conservative but socially libertarian.

      That’s good to know because I really really gave a fuck.

  • Joe Regular

    I’m an economic and political conservative. I believe that the economic and political tactics of the conservatives solve problems, and those of the Left create problems create social misery. I am a moral and social libertarian because I am a Christian and so therefore I believe in the personal freedom of every individual. On abortion I’m still in the dark.

    • commie atheist

      I believe when I fall in love someday it will be forever.

    • spencer

      I believe that the economic …l tactics of the conservatives solve problems

      They don’t, at least not in the real world. In the hermetically sealed Economics Lab at the University of Chicago, though, they’re golden.

      And I know this because unlike you, I’ve actually studied economics (from conservative professors, naturally) in enough depth to understand it.

      • ajay

        I believe that the economic …l tactics of the conservatives solve problems

        Problems like large class sizes in schools.

  • Pingback: There was an armed deputy at Columbine High; his story « Millard Fillmore's Bathtub()

  • Joe Regular

    I happen to know for a fact that I am open minded because I know for a fact that I look very carefully at the arguments I disagree with and I often take something from them and evolve my opinions. Every person knows whether or not s/he is behaving in an open minded manner. I am not afraid to think the thoughts of the other side and see what becomes of it. I know that I am looking for solutions to human suffering and if and when I find them on the Left I adopt them. When was the last time you sincerely listened to anyone on the right and evolved your opinion? Or do you just write off every single conservative as one of “them,” as a “hater” or an absolute moron? I know I’m open minded because I know I have changed my mind by listening to the other side. We all know if we are being open minded or not.

    • This is some hilarious stuff. I mean, we know wingers are lacking in all self-awareness, but to see one of them spelling it out like that—magical. Keep it up.

    • Colin Day

      Hmm. . . Pancakes. Light, fluffy, golden pancakes. And maple syrup, ans butter, and . . .

  • Joe Regular

    Yes, I do remember hearing something about an armed guard at Columbine.

    But then it kind of faded out of the Main Stream Media. Nobody talked about it much anymore.

    Now I understand why.

    It does not fit with the MSM Left Wing narrative.

    You will remember that Harris and Klebold killed a little over a dozen. But they planned to kill hundreds. They gave up and committed suicide long before the police confronted them.

    It turns out that the armed security guard traded shots with Klebold and Harris. He forced them down one wing of the school. He denied them the run of the place.

    But you will never hear about this from the BSMedia, because the BSMedia is so far to the Left their head is screwed on backwards.

    Not only that, but the BSMedia routinely alters history to fit the Left Wing narrative.

    There is nothing and no one more vile than the Main Stream Media. They are liars for the Left. They shout down conservatives and hide stories that embarrass liberals. They are lower than dirt.

    • Anonymous

      If your previously asserted open mindedness actually exists, I’m going to strongly suggest you study the period of 2001 to 2004 again before you start going off about the mainstream media carrying water for the left.

      And my memory of Columbine by Dave Cullen, a ridiculously detailed account of the tragedy, did not agree with the “forced them down one wing of the school” theory. It’s been awhile, so I’ll admit I’m not sure. A quick look at wiki suggests they did most of their killing in the school’s cafeteria after their short shootout with the deputy sheriff.

    • Hogan

      It does not fit with the MSM Left Wing narrative.

      “Armed guards in schools would keep these things from happening” is not, in fact, a left-wing narrative.

  • Joe Regular

    Gee whizz Geo, that’s not a very substantive observation. Maybe you should try again.

    • That’s it. Keep ’em coming.

  • Joe Regular

    Spenser, don’t you think teachers are at least as smart as security guards, and that they could be trained?

    Two or three teachers in every school could have training and access to a weapon nearby. It could be locked up and they could have a key on their wristband. The school has fire extinguishers and probably a defibrillator on hand in case of emergency. Why not a weapon close by?

    Of course, now that I’ve suggested arming teachers, Erik Dumbass will want to beat me to death, if he doesn’t already.

  • pepper

    I really wish that I lived in a country that did everything possible to keep guns from Mr lanza

  • Amanda

    Okay, Dave, I take back every hopeful thought I had from dinner Wednesday night. Today was a nightmare of NRA proportions.

  • Joe Regular

    How do you think we can do that, pepper?

  • Mike D.

    Concerntrolling liberal here:

    Basically, I don’t think we should be ridiculing non-insane ideas right now. Condemn the NRA for offering this idea now as a diversionary tactic, but that isn’t dispositive of the idea’s worth. Neither is the failure or success of armed guards in particular scenarios in the past dispositive of the value of all possible variations of options related to this proposal (would greater numbers improve effectiveness; better training; ensuring all the personnel are fully trained, sworn, and unionized police officers, etc.?). Further, I far prefer a proposal to deploy trained security professionals (and Wayne LPierre can go masturbate to Gun & Ammo: they can have guns or they can not have guns, or they can not exist – this should all be on the table) to what preceded it from, essentially, Wayne LaPierre’s constituency – proposals to force arms and responsibility ofr the defense of schools in to the hands of teachers in exchange for no compensation, as well as the notion of training unarmed children to aggressively defend themselves against armed madmen.

    Perhaps this is the wrong path. But it’s not particularly clear to me at this time that it is, and I’m a squish with no particular ken to put armed officers into elementary schools if we don’t need to. But maybe it’s the right call. It certainly doesn’t seem so ridiculous as to be worthy of being laughed or shouted out of the room without any examination. Hell, even Megan McArdle acknowledged the naturalness of the pro-gun control response to events like this, refrained from ridiculing it, and accept the need to give (bad) reasons to oppose the measures that a reasonable natural response indicated. I think the notion of looking into whether and how to harden targets as valuable as elementary schools – and they do seem quite soft to me in ways that less socially valuable if commercially powerful spaces tend not to be allowed to be – is a similarly natural, not-daft response to an event like this. The fact that it came out Wayne LaPierre’s mouth a day after I had similar thoughts and expressed them here isn’t enough to get me to just foreclose the idea and dispense with it. Those who are or claim to be expert enough to know it’s folly, go on with your bad selves – I want to hear more views on this. I continue to be open to both evidence and argument on the question. But I’ll only take those rejections seriously that take the idea itself seriously, because it is serious – a reasonable, natural, and not-insane even if ultimately misguided response to an event like this, not a ridiculous fantasy like teaching unarmed kids to defeat armed invaders of their schools, or an intemperate flail like a proposal to burden educational professionals with the responsibility of handling firearms in class and be potentially responsible foe school security with inadequate training and incommensurate compensation.

  • Pingback: The farcical self-pity of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA | Under the Mountain Bunker()

  • Kiwanda

    Another example of the limitations of the “let’s all pack heat” idea: at the Tucson shooting that included Gabby Giffords as a victim, a guy with a gun, Joe Zamudio came on the scene shortly after the shooter was disarmed. Zamudio came close to shooting the wrong person.

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