Different news accounts are finally starting to cobble together something that might resemble the actual turn of events at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nevada.
Outside the school, shortly before the bell rang to begin first period classes, a 14-year-old male shooter pulled a handgun stolen from his parents and shot two 12-year-olds that he apparently felt were bullying him. Michael Landsberry, a math teacher, is said to have sprinted across a basketball court and told the shooter to put the gun down. The 14 year-old responded by killing Landsberry, as other students scattered. Several more shots were heard, and then the shooter killed himself.
The two boys who were initially shot are expected to survive.
There is a strong desire in us to look for simple fixes and easy answers to events such as these.
“If we had stopped _____ from bullying _____, then none of this would have happened.”
“If his parents had locked up their guns/didn’t have guns, then none of this would have happened.”
“If the teacher had been armed, then this would not have happened.”
The teacher, a one-time Marine and current National Guardsman, had served several tours in Afghanistan. Perhaps if Michael Landsberry had been a teacher chosen as part of a “school shield” program to carry a concealed weapon, he might have drawn it after the initial gunfire hit the first two students, and convinced the shooter to put down his weapon, and saved both their lives.
Perhaps he would have shot the shooter, and saved his own life.
Perhaps nothing would have changed, other than that the teacher would have had more tools and options to solve the problem.
Don’t we owe teachers those options?